The calendar year 2019 got off to a thrilling start in Downingtown, as 32 teams competed for a Experienced and Novice title. This was the third iteration of Downingtown East’s January tournament, and was played on an NAQT IS set.
Unfortunately, our Pennsylvanian heroes were not able to overcome an impressive onslaught from Washington D.C.’s Georgetown Day School, who went undefeated on the day and quite impressed a number of the staff. This was, from what we understand, the first time they were at full strength this season, and they will be potent competition come nationals. The highest PA finisher was Hempfield, who notched the silver and their first appearance in a tournament final this year. Coming off a #7 ranking in the mid-season poll, they notched wins over the #3, #4, #6, #11, and #15 ranked teams, in what must be one of the highest number of ranked wins in one tournament any team has achieved since we started polling. Will Yaeger’s 56 ppg led the way as usual, but he was less than half the team’s total scoring as Nishant Balepur, Ryan Zhang, and Carsten Broadbeck all put in significant work and at least 7 powers each. Hempfield and their consistently high bonus conversion began the second half in full force.
Third went to Great Valley A, who defeated Penn Manor in the third place game 355-260. GV continued to show good balance across categories, and only lost to the teams that finished above them. This team is improving fast, and they have checked the neg numbers that hampered Great Valley teams in the past. Penn Manor was carried by Connor Mayers, who was again the top scorer among Pennsylvanians with a fantastic 82 points per game. Henderson took a tie for 5th. This was their first regular difficulty event of the year, and they played as a crammed six man squad. Vijay led the way with 17 powers and 51 points per game. Manheim Township‘s A and C team both made the playoffs as well, showing their continued depth and buzzer success. Also impressive was Unionville, who went 5-5 and tied for 9th as an all freshmen squad. Though a bit raw and prone to neg right now, their players seemed super enthusiastic and I would watch this team as an emerging threat. The last PA playoff entrant was Downingtown STEM, who, despite no playoff wins, flashed a lot of strong science and history knowledge.
Teams from Camp Hill, Lakeland, PALCS, Downingtown West, Wissahickon, and Wallenpaupack also participated in this bracket. Downingtown West was playing thier first event of the season, and came within 45 points of an upset of Hempfield. Led in scoring by Miriam Roeder’s 72 ppg, they looked right at home here. Camp Hill’s Sydney Preston was just behind at 69 ppg.
The novice division featured lower ranked teams from the above, and was won by Hempfield B. Manheim Township E’s Ellie Taliani was the lead scorer, with 54 ppb. We were also exited to welcome Oxford High to the pyramidal quizbowl family. Their team, at their first event, led the novice team in bonus conversion and seemed to adjust themselves well to the new format. We hope to see them and all the other schools here back soon for more pyramidal action, as each tournament offers intense new challenges.