This past Saturday, a mix of teams from Pennsylvania and the entire eastern seaboard met for the University of Pennsylvania’s Quaker Fall Open. The upper division played a tough college level tournament as training for a run at nationals, while the lower division played the regular difficulty WHAQ set.
EFT was a tough question set since it is, after all, a college tournament and not even a novice college tournament either. While most teams were able to eke out 10 points on most bonuses and most tossups got answered, there was quite a bit of variation in when the buzzes were occurring and powers were particularly scarce (and all the more impressive when they happened).
The division was overall won by “Monticello” from Virginia which came in ranked as the #1 team in the country. They generally backed up their crown, but did have a major hiccup against Dorman (ranked #33 in the country) from South Carolina as well as a small scare against “Rope Meadows” and a bigger scare against Wilmington Charter from Delaware. Ithaca from New York finished as the runner-ups after edging Charter 290-285 in an extremely close match but not finding any answers against Monticello. Charter had a very solid tournament though and even if they end up playing as a duo will be a tough out in any national tournament.
Manheim Township paced the PA teams with a steady, quietly solid performance that saw them win 3 games with a margin of 20 points or less. A particularly gritty comeback against Dorman also saw Township, led by Will’s 39 PPG, come up big when needed. There did seem to be some fatigue setting in later in the day for them, but overall they played well against some of the toughest opponents they’ll face until nationals.
Great Valley, missing a key player or two from their normal A-team lineup, showed good buzzer skills to make up for some holes in their coverage on bonuses (the current PPB may be slightly too low; corrections are coming). This is a young team with a talented lead scorer in Rishi (35 PPG) that has a lot of room to grow. Tenafly from NJ made their PA quizbowl debut with a solid performance. Penn Manor suffered three close losses of 15 points or less though Connor (67 PPG) had in general a strong performance. “Rope Meadows” had a bit more of a frustrating day with an impressive 10 powers offset by 36 negs, though 8 of those did take place in their first match against Monticello. BCA A also came down from NJ for the competition and Downingtown East A, after losing almost their entire A-team from last year, rounded out the bracket.
The WHAQ question set seemed once again slightly more unforgiving than most high school sets on the bonuses, but may have overall been a touch easier than last year’s challenging edition. The top three slots were all taken up by Manheim Township B-D using a strategy of fielding more balanced teams overall that led to some unusual outcomes like MT C having a much higher PPB than MT B and MT D beating MT B. Great Valley B, much of last year’s middle school team, sported the highest PPB of all the Open teams but got beaten to the buzzes a bit more often despite Anish’s 93.75 PPG and finished alone in 4th.
Germantown Friends, a welcome new addition to the circuit this year, started what might be a long-running friendly rivalry with Carver HSES A on a great note with a GFS overtime victory in the prelims and Carver getting revenge in the playoffs by 10 points. Science Leadership Academy also finished with the rest of the Philly crowd at 2-3 behind a 93.75 PPG performance from Jack. Wissahickon A, the only Montgomery County academic team in attendance, rounded out the upper playoffs.
The rest of the field saw longtime circuit regulars Bodine and Franklin Towne Charter as well as B and C teams from Downingtown, Wissahickon, and Carver plus several other B teams. Overall, it was a spirited performance on a pretty tough set (no team finished with more than 19 PPB) that gave teams lots of competitive matches.