Month: March 2019

Battle of the Burgh XXII Wrap-Up (03/23/2019)

17 teams from 12 schools came to the University of Pittsburgh to compete at the 22nd installation of the Battle of the Burgh on NAQT IS-177. Full stats for the event can be found here.

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Camp Hill and Huntingdon A in the finals

Camp Hill cleared the field with a 10-0 record to claim first place. Sydney Preston demonstrated her generalist abilities once again to lead the team in scoring, with 74.72 PPG. All five Camp Hill players made significant contributions on the day, with Charlie Caddell, Gus Eberlein, Sam Haas, and Bobby Latham all scoring between 12 and 29 PPG in their time in the lineup. Camp Hill was only seriously threatened once, in a narrow 265-260 victory over Huntingdon A, who took second place. Andrew Buonaccorsi put up a solid 72.96 PPG on the day, and the team defeated all non-Camp Hill opponents on the day. Both of these teams appear well-poised to make another nice run at SSNCT this year!

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Mercyhurst with their 3rd place trophy

Mercyhurst Prep finished in third with a 7-2 record. Kevin Hogan’s 84.80 PPG led all scorers on the day, and Tyler Warzynak added 20.47 PPG in support. Morgantown, out of West Virginia, took fourth. Fifth place went to Pine-Richland, paced by the dual scoring of Daniel Krill (42.38 PPG) and Sam Stella (31.13 PPG). They notably increased their PPB and power numbers from their last IS-set outing at SAGACITY, demonstrating some nice improvement as the year has developed. Bishop Canevin and South Side also qualified for nationals bids by virtue of their finishes in 6th and T-7th, respectively, with Hampton‘s A and B teams also in that tie.

It was also nice to see Sharpsville play another PA tournament in advance of their SSNCT trip, while teams from Westmont Hilltop, North Catholic, and John Marshall (WV) rounded out the field. As the season winds down, we wish these teams the best of luck in preparing for nationals and/or finishing off their academic years!

-Ryan

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Penn State Spring Academic Bowl III Wrap-Up (3/16/19)

17 teams, including several first time quizbowl schools, were on hand in State College for this year’s Penn State Spring Academic Bowl. It was very spirited, and fun was had by all.

Stats can be found here.

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Tournament champions State College A, with one player making the photo “in spirit.”

Due to an error with the bracketing, the playoffs were decided by single elimination for this tournament. State College A took home the top prize, after an undefeated run. A stellar 32/39/11 line from their captain Pabitra resulted in 81 points per game, second at the event. It’s worth noting several of State College’s better players did not play this tournament, so their depth really shone through. State College B took 3rd, C took 5th, and D took 6th. I’m sure almost every school in the country envies their stash of talent.

Better still, the new teams absolutely thrived at the event, as none of them finished in the lowest bracket and all of them held their own in an unfamiliar setting. Dallas from Northeast PA thrilled in an 8-2 2nd place finish, handily beating State College B twice. Raymond led the tournament with 112 points per game and 36 powers. Dallas qualified for HSNCT with this performance, and looks to have registered; it’s always exiting to see a new team surprise like this. Notre Dame from Elmira, NY finished 4th. Meanwhile, Blair County’s Hollidaysburg made a long awaited return to the circuit after ten(!) years away, having last played at HSNCT 2009. They finished 7th. Lastly, we welcome Greenwood from Perry County, who finished tied for 9th. All these teams did a wonderful job showing what they know, and we hope to see them again soon.

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Dallas, with their 2nd place trophy.

In addition to the above, Hughesville returned to the circuit with an all-new lineup after winning at Berwick last season. They put up another respectable showing, finishing T9. Teams from Kane, Montgomery, Westmont Hilltop, and Wellsboro rounded out the field. It’s always exciting to see the diverse field from all over the state that turns up at PSU events, and I look forward to seeing results from their pre-nats prep Keystone State Invitational in a couple weeks.

Ben

Philadelphia City Championship Wrap-Up (3/16/19)

This past Saturday, eighteen teams from ten schools competed in the fourth annual Philadelphia City Championship. The tournament was hosted by the Carver High School of Engineering and Science and used NAQT’s IS-184A question set.

Stats are available here.

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Friends Select A (@fssquizbowl)

Friends Select‘s A team claimed its fourth city championship title, going undefeated. The lineup of juniors Matt, Silas, Jonah, and Aidan averaged 524.50 points per game and 23.72 points per bonus, well above every other team in the field, and the relatively easier questions of the A set allowed for many quick first-line buzzes. With another talented player in Rudyard, who wasn’t at this tournament, it looks like FSS A is gearing up for competitive runs at the upcoming SSNCT and HSNCT.

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Germantown Friends (@Carver_Quizbowl)

Second place went to Germantown Friends, competing in their first Philly City Champs since discovering quizbowl last October and winning the novice division of the Philly Fall Tournament. Led by 66 PPG from Lucas, GFS handily defeated most of the teams finishing below them and gave FSS A a few scares, even tying with them at the half of their first game. Their finish qualifies them for both the HSNCT and the open division of the SSNCT, which we’d love to see them attend.

Friends Select B finished in third place following a 250-335 loss to GFS and a 260-440 loss to their A team. This team of Akhilesh, Peter, Jeremy, and Minas had balanced scoring and great neg control, with only 7 negs to 40 powers. Science Leadership Academy A took fourth, powered by Jack’s 69.44 PPG. They put up an impressive 5/5/1 statline to get a 320-260 win over Carver A, which was led by Sebastian’s 52.22 PPG and featured scoring support from Ellen, Mohamed, and Kim. Carver did a great job of conferring on bonuses and ended up with 17.85 PPB for the day. Bodine ended in sixth place and was carried by Alex, a junior who topped the individual stats with 88.35 PPG in the prelims.

In the second bracket, Benjamin Rush B outperformed its A team and won all four of its afternoon games with 28+ PPG from Michael, Dylan, and Elijah. The C team from Friends Select showed off the program’s depth, while Carver B, led by Aidan, nearly defeated Bodine in their first round. A new team from MaST played well (albeit a bit cautiously) with zero negs from lead scorers Vaughn and Matthew, and SLA B and Franklin Towne A each got a couple of solid wins.

Carver C finished at the top of the third bracket with a 46.88 PPG performance from Kamal. Carver D, a last-minute house team made of students who had never played quizbowl before, showed promise as the team got four wins behind Preston’s 43.53 PPG. Rush A, Furness, Franklin Towne B, and West Catholic rounded out the bracket and played a variety of close games.

Overall, although the Friends Select dynasty continued its impressive winning streak even with an entirely different A team lineup than last year, several other teams emerged as solid contenders. Many of the teams were led by strong underclassmen, suggesting an exciting future for the Philly circuit. Carver continued its reputation for excellent tournament hosting, and it was great to see the support from the School District of Philadelphia. We hope to see all the schools back again next year!

-Jackie

Quizbowl Road Trips

Eric Huff was the long-time quizbowl coach of Dorman High School in South Carolina, during which time he planned and led more than two hundred quizbowl road trips, including one that may (or may not) have inadvertently crossed an international border.  He is now the director of Qwiz Quizbowl Camps (www.qwizbowl.com)

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Is there anything better than a quizbowl roadtrip? Forgetting about school for a couple of days and hitting the road in search of fun, adventure, and that elusive “sick buzz”? Sure there’s a tournament you’re headed to, but let’s be honest, the real fun is in the journey.  Years later, students probably won’t remember the score of that final match, but they will definitely remember the fun they had laughing with at those stupid inside jokes that can only come from a weekend packed in a car for hours with your friends.

So what makes a quizbowl road trip great?  It takes a conscious effort to prioritize creating unique experiences and opportunities for team bonding.  If done right, the quizbowl road trip will make your team better by strengthening the relationships among teammates which in turn will provide social motivation for students to become more invested in the program.  But maybe that’s overthinking it. Ultimately, if you make a point to have fun, it’ll all work out, and you’ll have a great quizbowl road trip.

So let’s get to it.  As the late great Tom Petty said, “there’s something good waiting down this road”.  He probably wasn’t talking about tossups, but who knows?

TAKE DETOURS

Sure, time is limited and there are tossups to be powered, but do yourself a favor and make it a point to get off the Interstate every now and again.  Whether that’s taking the scenic route or taking a team photo at a cheesy roadside attraction, you’ll be glad that you did. Not only will the view be a little nicer, but you’ll have a chance to interact with locals in a way that you wouldn’t have otherwise.  It’s a well-established fact that people are more interesting the farther you get from the Interstate. And these are the interactions that you’ll be talking about long after you’re back home.

EAT LOCAL

A simple rule: if you can get it in your town, avoid it on the road.  You can eat Subway anytime; why stop there on a road trip? Traveling is about adventure and new experiences, and there’s no better way to way to do that then with your food choices.  So next time try the local sandwich shop. Every town has one, and it’s almost certainly better than Subway.

Can’t find a local sandwich shop?  Make your quizbowl road trip your opportunity to try regional chains that you might not have at home.  Eat at Zaxby’s or Waffle House in the south, or Culver’s in the midwest, or Whataburger in Texas, or Shake Shack in the northeast.

Or if you really want have an experience, eat something truly local.  Have a horseshoe if you find yourself in central Illinois.  Eat pimento cheese when you’re in the south.  Enjoy a juicy lucy in Minnesota.  Bite into a beef on weck or a plate of chicken riggies in western New York.

What’s great about quizbowlers is that they are bright, open-minded, and intellectually curious.  So when you’re on a quizbowl road trip, don’t be afraid to encourage your team to step outside their culinary comfort zone and try something different.    

PLAY MUSIC

Music is a key element of a successful road trip.  Now, I’m not going to tell you what to put in your road trip playlist.  Rather, I want to encourage you to use music as an opportunity to build team camaraderie.  

Too often, teams get in the car (or van, or bus), and everyone puts on headphones and disappears into their own world.  Instead, why not use music as an opportunity to bond as a team?

Here’s a suggestion: over the course of the trip, everyone gets to choose two songs to play.  The idea is to pick one song that others might not know but you’re really into and one song that EVERYBODY knows and can’t help but sing along to.  This gives everyone a chance to hear a song they really like, learn a little bit about their teammates, and spark a team karaoke session. Not bad! Who knows, maybe you can teach your team a thing or two about how music was back in the good ole days.

Quizbowl is a team game, and consistently good programs are adept at building team camaraderie.  By taking a solitary activity (listening to music) and transforming it into a communal activity, you are building a team bond that will contribute to the team’s success.

HAVE FUN

It’s easy to do nothing more on a quizbowl road trip than travel, compete, and go home.  Drives are long, tournaments are long, and weekends are short. The best quizbowl road trips, however, include some other activity that is in no way quizbowl related.  Whether its a trip to the zoo, a museum, mini golf, bowling, a scavenger hunt, game night, or a quick game of touch football at a highway rest stop, do SOMETHING. These experiences are vital in building that team chemistry that’s necessary for a winning culture.

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I was a high school quizbowl coach for a number of years, and in that time we were blessed with a fair amount of success.  We worked really hard and won a lot of games. Some I remember vividly, but over time, the specifics of a lot of those games have faded.  Years later, it’s hard to remember which games we won and which games we lost – which questions we answered and which questions we didn’t.  

What sticks with me, though, are the experiences we had on those trips.  Whether you’re a coach or a player, it’ll probably be the same for you. So make the most of your quizbowl road trips.  Create memories for your team that will last a lifetime.

We thank Eric for taking his time to write this guest post!

-The Staff