36 teams were on hand at Penn Manor High School in Millersville last weekend to try their hand at the CAST set and get in 9 or 10 rounds of action. Many of them were first time entrants to PA pyramidal quizbowl, and we commend Penn Manor for an exemplary effort in outreach for the event.
In a repeat of last month’s Downingtown East tournament, Hempfield finished highest of the Pennsylvania schools, felled in the finals by an extraordinarily strong school from out of state, in this case Wilmington Charter. Both teams were undefeated heading into the final. The Delawareans put up an astounding 27 points per bonus and 96 powers across the event. They are clearly a top 20 team nationally, if not top 10. As for Hempfield, they continue to improve and have made a strong statement to shoot up to the top of PA schools come the next rankings cycle. Will Yaeger led the PA players in both points per game (72.5) and in powers (35), with Ryan Zhang and Nishant Balepur adding double digit powers of their own. Hempfield is clearly the most exciting team in the state right now and looks mighty.
Manheim Township A took 3rd place. Their only loss was to Charter as well (albeit in a 555-55 blowout), but they otherwise were consistently solid and won most of their games by over 300 points. State College A took 4th. A mix of normal A and B teamers for this event, they notched a number of good wins against tough competition. Great Valley A took 5th over Henderson A, and both teams were missing their best player for this tournament. GV scored an impressive 69 powers, quite a feat shorthanded, while Henderson executed fantastic neg control, with just 14 for the tournament. Friends Select finished in 7th, Great Valley B took 8th, Manheim Township B and C took 9th and 10th, and the playoffs were rounded out by 11th place finishers Lancaster Mennonite, and 12th place finishers State College B. This was Mennonite’s first playoff finish for the season, keeping their tradition of strong quizbowl going.
Just as big a story was the strong performances by the litany of first time schools, or schools that had not played in a while. Cumberland Valley had the best record of this bunch, finishing 6-3. A team we haven’t seen in a few years, they put up a 13/53/11 line, indicating plenty of potential in store. Warwick also made the middle consolation bracket, and they were a true first time school. Liam Blevins’ impressive 46 points per game led their way. Pine Grove also made a mid bracket finish at their first event of the season, representing the Schuylkill IU proud. GPQB also welcomes Solanco and Palmyra to the circuit, as well as Northeastern back after a years long absence. Many of these schools are local to the south-central PA area and we hope to see them at more Lancaster and area tournaments soon- or perhaps they can host their own!
Other teams that appeared at the tournament include PALCS, Cedar Crest, Waynesboro, Downingtown East, Eastern Lebanon County, Lancaster Catholic, Montgomery Area, and Oxford. Particular plaudits go to Oxford, who started last month at D-East and rapidly improved to a middle finish in a vast field. Delaware’s Concord also returned to Pennsylvania to play for the first time in a while, and they’re always nice to have around.
A quick logistic note- this tournament unusually used only 16 tossups in its non-finals playoff rounds. This was due to the fact the event was running slower than expected in the morning, and there was a time limit on the building’s use. While an unusual solution to try to end the tournament on time, and unfortunate in it costing teams about a packets’ worth of questions, the teams still had a lot of fun and Penn Manor did a good job overall for a first time host. With the lessons learned here, I’m sure future events there will be even stronger.