48 teams were on hand to celebrate the holiday season with some high octane quizbowl at Manheim Township this Saturday. This is always one of the biggest tournaments of the season, and also one of the most fun to play and staff. As always, MT did an exemplary job on logistics, with the event being wrapped up, including finals, before 3:30.
Great Valley A won the varsity division by going undefeated on the day, punctuated with a 420-310 final win over second-place Henderson A. GV put in a balanced performance on the day, with multiple buzzes per game from all four players, and they managed to keep their neg totals to a minimum in their high-pressure games. Henderson’s only loss came in the final, and they were impressive in the prelim games I read for them. Vijay Anne continued to lead the scoring for this team, but Sid Chenrayan had a major breakout day as well. The question remaining for Henderson is how well they will scale up to higher difficulties, but this was a strong day for them.
Penn Manor A took third place in a thrilling 355-350 match over Kellenberg A (New York). Connor Mayers took home the top scoring accolades in prelims by a wide margin, with 127.14 points per game, as well as a 1:1 powers to gets ratio. Penn Manor’s only loss of the tournament was a 340-330 defeat to Great Valley A, showing that the top teams in eastern Pennsylvania remain neck and neck.
Rounding out the top bracket were Friends Select A, Great Valley B, Hempfield A, and Unionville. Friends Select has done a nice job of retooling after last year’s graduations, with Matt DAnnunzio really emerging as one of the breakout players of the season. Their PPB hovered near 24, a solid mark for this level. Like their A team, Great Valley B got good contributions from all four players, and they beat FSS A by a healthy 420-230 margin in the playoffs. GV certainly remains one of Pennsylvania’s deepest programs. Hempfield A led the field in PPB in the prelims, notching an impressive 25.23 mark. Will Yaeger remains in the conversation as one of the best players in the state, and Ryan Zhang and Carsten Brodbeck turned in good performances as well. Their back-and-forth with local rivals Penn Manor played out once again, with PM emerging victorious by a 405-255 scoreline. Lastly, Unionville returned to the circuit and went 6-1 in prelims to make it into the playoff rounds. This is a team that could be capable of some strong finishes if they choose to play more pyramidal tournaments!
The first two consolation brackets included Great Valley C, Henderson B, and A teams from Greater Nanticoke, Moravian Academy, Huntingdon, State College, and Bermudian Springs. I read two games for Greater Nanticoke, and their three players worked quite well together as a unit. None of the other squads crossed my path, but they all picked up some good wins on the day, such as a thrilling 255-250 victory for Huntingdon over Tome School (MD), and it was great to see them all playing and playing well!
Other schools in attendance included Lakeland, Lancaster Mennonite, Cedar Crest, Lampeter-Strasburg, PALCS, Carver E&S, Emmaus, Berwick, Lancaster Catholic, and Downingtown East. Though Lancaster Mennonite came out on the losing end of the two contests I read for them, I was impressed with their steady play, led by Jacob Cairns (3rd individual scorer in prelims). David Campbell also did well for Lakeland as they retool for the future. Every one of these schools earned multiple victories on the day, as well as valuable experience in a highly competitive setting. As we can attest, every tournament is a great learning event to continue building for future matches, and these teams all have something good to build upon!
In the JV division, Henderson C pulled the rare feat of a tournament sweep without need for a final, finishing 9-0 and winning by two. Vivek lead the way in scoring with almost 75 points per game, and was also the lead scorer on power buzzes. This is a team of all freshmen, so Henderson will have lots in the tank for the future. Hempfield’s B team took second place, with a a tournament leading 19 powers as a group. In this way, they somewhat reflected their A team’s tendency for lots of powers. Cedar Crest B took 3rd, displaying excellent discipline with only five negs. 4th went to Waynesboro, a team which debuted at this event last year and returned in strong form. They had lots of impressive buzzes for this level, particularly on literature.
The rest of the JV division was rounded out by B and C teams from Carver HSES, Emmaus, Bermudian Springs, Penn Manor, Berwick, Moravian, and Friends Select. Manheim Township Middle School also joined the action, as did Linden Hall, a circuit debutante.
Both divisions featured some excellent play, and this event was as fun to read as it was to play. We wish all these teams the best of luck in the spring as they gear up for the second half of the season!
– Ben and Ryan