Month: November 2018

SAGACITY XIV Wrap-Up (11/17/18)

Pittsburgh area quizbowl continued one of its long running traditional tournaments just before Thanksgiving with the University of Pittsburgh’s SAGACITY, entering its 14th season as an invitational. This was the largest ever edition, with 32 total teams. Due to the mid-event cancellation of Mellon Bowl as the result of and in respect for the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, this was the first full tournament many Western PA teams got to play this season.

Stats can be found here.


Tournament Champions State College B

The tournament’s final matched the top ranked teams in the state. One team from State College High School took first place in an exciting 375-325 win over Allderdice A. State College seems to have no set lineups or teams as such, so it’s not really worth talking about them as an “A” and a “B” team at this point, with so much change. The stronger team will be the one that has their phenom sophomore, Albert, at the helm. His extremely impressive 73 points per game was good for second overall, and his 26 powers is stellar for a student his age. He is certainly a front runner for our all-state teams this year. Despite the upset win, Allderdice showed why they were ranked #1 in the preseason by statistically standing out as the class of this field.  Their 78 power buzzes were almost twice that of State College, and they held opponents to a somewhat incredible 32 points per game against them in the morning, including a 690-0 grail against John Marshall B from West Virginia (for more on what a grail is, please see our Henderson wrap-up from earlier this month). They are truly outstanding, with all members of the team contributing serious points.

State College’s other team finished 3rd, winning a game against Northmont from Ohio to take that spot. 5th place was a tie between Allderdice B and Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Alana led Allderdice B’s scoring, and her 85 points per game ended up being the highest among players at this tournament. Central Catholic has been a good team for a while, but had never really broken through to become a contender at events. That changed at SAGACITY, where they shot up to an 8-2 record with 30 powers. Simon Sweeney’s 72 points per game was the 3rd highest score of the tournament. Also making the playoffs were Central Catholic B and Penn Hills. The later is a fairly new team around the circuit, but had a number of impressive buzzes and seemed to be having a blast as they player their rounds. They have plenty of potential to keep rising further.


Penn Hills A, during the preliminary phase of the tournament.

Among other schools in attendance were perential Western PA powerhouse Winchester Thurston, who finished 9th after some of their players had to miss a few rounds due to another commitment. The 2017 State Champions still look to be strong, and could do well at nationals yet again. A litany of local schools such as Pine-Richland, Bishop Canevin, Hampton, Chartiers Valley, and Southside represented the Pittsburgh metro well. Northwest PA was represented by Kane, DuBois, and Saegertown, the later school having returned to the circuit after a year’s absence. We also wanted to make sure to shout out to some of our newest teams. Sharpesville played one event in Ohio last year, but this was their first in-state quizbowl experience. They improved on a winless showing at their first event by quite a bit, qualifying for small school nationals. Butler County’s North Catholic, who was at the unfinished Mellon Bowl, got to play their first full event. Apollo-Ridge was a true first time team, and we welcome them to quizbowl Saturdays.

Overall, this tournament ran extremely efficiently, and teams packed a lot of quizbowl into their day. This will be remembered well among the long list of SAGACITies past and future.


Swarthmore Novice II Wrap-Up (11/10/18)

16 teams from 9 schools came to Swarthmore College on November 10 for Swarthmore’s second annual novice tournament. Full stats for the day can be found here.

Manheim Township A with their first-place trophy. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rosenthal.

Two teams from Manheim Township finished atop the standings, with the A team going 9-0 and the B team finishing at 8-1. These performances demonstrated that Manheim Township’s strong program is continuing to produce talented young players all capable of contributing multiple solid buzzes in any game. Ellie Taliani and Baybars Charkas led the way for the A team with 59.44 and 51.11 PPG respectively, while Scotty Reynolds notched 73.89 points on the B team.

Manheim Township B with their second-place trophy. Photo courtesy Rebecca Rosenthal.

Carver A and Sanford School A rounded out the top bracket. It was nice to see Carver’s hard work over the years pay off with a trophy position. Sanford, out of Delaware, made their pyramidal debut in fine style, with the A team breaking 20 PPB. With new coach Abbi Smith (formerly of Friends Select and 2018 GPQB Coach of the Year), these students may be able to climb even higher with more experience under their belts.

Carver A with their third place trophy. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rosenthal.

Great Valley A and Archbishop Wood A finished 5th and 6th, followed by Carver B and Sanford B. Like Manheim Township, Great Valley continues to get good production from its young players, with all four team members over 15 PPG. Archbishop Wood did well for their first tournament of the year also, once again with all players contributing solid points.

Young players from Friends Select and Science Leadership Academy gained good experience and notched some wins on the day as well. It was nice to see Palisades and Church Farm School return to the circuit as well, and hopefully we’ll see them some more this year! B and C teams from GV and Carver filled out the remaining brackets.

Our congratulations to all the teams who came out and played, and to Swarthmore for hosting! We hope to see these players continue to grow and improve in the PA quizbowl community!


Henderson Invitational V Wrap-Up (11/17/18)

Last Saturday, 36 teams from around the Northeast of the US gathered to compete and one of the big traditional bouts of the PA quiz calendar. This was the largest field for Henderson Invitational yet.

Stats can be found here.


Penn Manor with their 2nd place trophy. They finished highest of PA schools.

Wilmington Charter A, up from Delaware seeking wins and trophies as they often do, came away with 1st place. They were undefeated, and had the highest points per bonus, points per game, and powers of teams in attendance. Charter might not be from Pennsylvania, but since Delaware doesn’t have much of a circuit of its own right now, we’re always happy to see them and they have shown they’re a real top 25 nationals contender this season. To win, Charter defeated Penn Manor A in the final. A number of teams were close statistically, but Penn Manor managed to come out on top with some very clutch wins, including a 5 point win over third place team and their Lancaster County rival Hempfield. Connor Mayers’ tournament leading performance, with an average of just a hair over 100 points per game, shows that he’s entered the clear upper echelon of players in the region. Penn Manor has proven they can do some major damage with this performance.

Hempfield’s third place was nothing to sneeze at, as Penn Manor was their only loss and Will Y.’s 70 points per game indicates he’s also one of the state’s strongest players this season. Fourth place went to Friends Select A. As a new look squad of sorts that has has to replace almost all their production this off season, FSS has rebuilt swimmingly. A 43/80/13 line from such a young group of players suggests continued success for this school. Manheim Township A took fifth, behind an impressive performance by Will S.(68 ppg) and solid performances in the 20s from Noah, Cyril, and Ryan. They had the second best statistical numbers on the day, and along with Charter were the only team to clear 20 ppb. In fact, Manheim Township pulled a grail, meaning they answered all 20 tossups correctly, against New York State’s Smithtown East A (winning 670-(-5) in the process!). Grails are very rare*, and with one also occurring at SAGACITY in Pittsburgh Saturday, Pennsylvania teams managed the extraordinary feat of two in one day. Their lineups for the remainder of the season still seem to be in flux, however, so it will be interesting to see what those changes do to keep improving the team. Great Valley took sixth behind another balanced performance.

The rest of the playoffs featured Mannheim Township’s program depth in full force, as their B,C, and D teams all made it, as well as solid performances by Great Valley B, Camp Hill, and Downingtown STEM. The later two, led by Sydney and Anish, respectively, are schools with a veteran senior that was a key role player on very successful teams of the past (Sydney on Camp Hill’s Very Small School SSNCT champion in 2017, Anish on last year’s state champion STEM) now getting the chance to lead a squad of younger, less experienced players. Though neither seems ready to compete with some of the teams listed above, both teams put up fine performances and both will seek to get ranked by season’s end.

In the lower brackets, a litany of other circuit regulars, such as Cedar Crest, PALCS, Downingtown East, Lancaster Mennonite, and Greater Nanticoke got in on the action, and it looks like a number of them did quite well. A strong, 57 point performance from Mennonite’s Jacob stands out for these teams. It’s great to see these circuit mainstays doing well, though it’s a shame Henderson did not attract any new teams to the event.

Overall, this seems to have been a successful tournament. Thanks go out particularly to Nick Luca and Ashish Kumbhardare for some logistical fixes that allowed this tournament to run smoothly. The overall state rankings picture looks very complex, as so many teams are of comparable skill, and this tournament could have finished many different ways (which makes Charter and Penn Manor’s top showings all the more impressive!) I look forward to the continued success of these quizbowl standouts.


* According to the quizbowl wiki, a grail happens in high school quizbowl about 6 to 7 times a year, on average, in America. The Manheim Township grail was the 2nd in PA quizbowl history, after Souderton’s grail of Renaissance Academy at GVQBT II in 2015. The Allderdice grail at SAGACITY was the 3rd.

BrainBusters Fall (Ithaca) Wrap-Up (11/10/19)

On November 10, four Pennsylvania schools competed on NAQT’s IS-179 set at the seventh annual BrainBusters Fall Tournament in Ithaca, New York, taking two of the top four spots.

Stats are here.

Troy (NY) finished in first place, while Delaware Valley A took second place in the 24-team field. Emma led the team with 44.55 points per game and Chris, Darius, and Lucas each contributed over 16 PPG. DV A’s only losses were to NY’s Emma Willard and Troy teams, but their own B team gave them a scare in a 265-235 round 11 game, indicating a deep bench for this rebuilding program. Compared to their performance at Princeton’s tournament in September, which also used an IS set, their points per bonus statistic has improved from 15.26 to a promising 17.44, but their neg count has also increased to 31 negs over 11 rounds, which may be something to watch out for in the future. Wallenpaupack A finished in fourth place, taking the last of the HSNCT-qualifying spots. Gavin and Angela led them in scoring with 37.73 and 33.18 PPG respectively, and the team lost games to only DV A and Troy.

Lakeland A ended up in the second bracket after two prelim losses but proceeded to win all six of their afternoon games. Their closest match of the afternoon was a 140-130 win over Wallenpaupack B, which was led by AJ’s 42.27 PPG. Berwick‘s A team was led by Griffin’s 48.64 points per game and had close games all day, showing improvement from their performance at last month’s Tri-State Tussle, and it was good to see their B team getting more tournament experience as well.

A fifth Pennsylvania school and frequent competitor in the eastern half of the state, Moravian Academy, was also scheduled to play this tournament, but unfortunately an accident on the way there prevented them from doing so. We’re glad to hear that everyone is ok and we hope to see them at future events.

Clearly, the talent in the northeastern part of the state is rapidly improving, and we’re excited to see our teams continue to perform well at in-state and out-of-state tournaments. Best of luck to all our teams competing at the Henderson Invitational V and the University of Pittsburgh’s SAGACITY XIV this Saturday, November 17!