2019 Keystone State Invitational Wrap-Up

A geographically diverse field of Pennsylvania (and upstate NY) teams gathered at Penn State on March 30-31, allowing top teams from both the eastern and western PA circuits to face off in a weekend of close competition. The first half of the tournament was a 15-team NAQT DII SCT mirror, while the second PACE-style half consisted of a 10-team round robin with 20-point powers and no negs on the Florida Spring Tournament question set.

Stats are here.

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Hempfield, 2nd place (L to R: Carsten, Will, Ryan, Nishant)

The dominance of Ithaca (NY) provided a good measuring stick for the various in-state schools. They secured first place in both of the weekend’s events with PPBs almost 3 points above the next highest team and deep specialist buzzes from Isaiah, Julian, Kaelan, and Vaynu, and it was refreshing to see their great team chemistry during games (lots of fist-bumps!), especially in a match where they came back quickly from a 70-point deficit going into tossup 16 in a round against Hempfield by rallying to get the next five tossups in a row. Hempfield, finishing second in both events, did not lose to a single non-Ithaca team the entire weekend (even while playing shorthanded during the PACE tournament) and they’ve clearly shot up from their ranking of 7th in our mid-season poll. Will Y.’s high scoring led the team as always, but the consistent support from Ryan, Carsten, and Nishant has taken them to the next level. A shorthanded Allderdice A, missing Truman and later also playing without Leo in the PACE event, competed against eastern PA schools for the first time this year and put up similar stats to Hempfield to finish third, though with more powers and half the negs. This team is extremely strong in history, and the one-two punch of Jakobi and Austin supplemented by Leo’s current events and pop culture knowledge during the NAQT portion of the tournament got them close to defeating Hempfield a few times.

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Great Valley after the 3rd place game against Allderdice A (L to R: Rishi, Dan, John, Anshu)

Great Valley secured wins in close games against teams like State College B and Henderson to take fourth in the NAQT SCT mirror, with balanced scoring from John, Rishi, Anshu, and Dan. State College B tied for fifth in the NAQT part, led by Albert and Allen, and the addition of Jupiter on Sunday got them to a fourth place finish in the PACE event. Also tied for fifth in the NAQT tournament, Henderson was the only team able to defeat eventual champion Ithaca, which they did in an exciting 345-325 victory by converting exactly two more bonus parts than their opponents (both teams had identical 2/9/3 statlines). Sid and Vikram each contributed over 20 PPG to back up star player Vijay’s performance. Manheim Township A and Allderdice B rounded out the T-5 bracket of the NAQT tournament, led respectively by Will S. and Alana.

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Allderdice A and B (clockwise from L to R: Jakobi, Leo, Austin, Omri, Alana, Michal, Antonia)

Trinity, from the Harrisburg area, had an impressive performance at their first weekend pyramidal tournament, powering six times in their round one game against Hempfield and following that feat with wins over teams like Great Valley, Penn Manor, and Allderdice B. Juniors Luke and Connor led the team in scoring, and we’re excited to see them at HSNCT this May and at more local events next year. State College A had a solid PPB of 17.55 on Saturday, high than some of the teams finishing higher than them, and this senior-heavy team led by Taran came close to defeating Allderdice A in a 210-275 match.

Penn Manor consisted of Connor playing solo on both days, showcasing his strong generalist abilities with wins during the NAQT event over Allderdice B and over Delaware Valley from the northeast corner of the state, which was led by Emma’s 46 PPG. The B team from Manheim Township got a solid 315-80 win over Trinity, while Malaika from Downingtown East played solo and Geneva (NY) got a few wins to round out the NAQT field. A C team from State College joined the competition for the PACE tournament and managed a 260-110 win over Penn Manor, a great flash of potential for the 6-person team of sophomores and juniors.

This pre-nationals prep event served as a state championship of sorts, and except for the absence of southeast PA contender Friends Select, the field included most of the other top teams in the state. Hempfield finished the highest of the PA teams present, which they’ve done consistently since the tournaments at Penn Manor and Great Valley in February. Yet, the teams finishing below them showed the ability to threaten their dominance. The current parity amongst many top PA teams will make for an exciting nationals season as teams add back missing players and continue studying for the next month or two. Good luck and enjoy the rest of the season!

-Jackie

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