The holidays are upon us, so therefore the mid-season poll is as well. As ever, this year has had some top flight competition. Our voters had a bigger challenge than ever selecting which teams were tops in the state, as stats and tournament performance has incredible parity. As always, these rankings are primarily for fun. We are exited to see how this season finishes and what developments occur next. Without further ado, the mid-season poll results are as follows:
Manheim Township, 149 points (+5, 14 first place)
Henderson, 128 points (-1, 1 first place)
Great Valley A, 126 points (+2)
Great Valley B, 101 points (+4)
Penn Manor, 88 points (-2)
State College A, 74 points (-2)
Friends Select, 57 points (-5)
Hempfield, 34 points (+3)
Trinity, 33 points (=)
Allderdice, 15 points (=)
Also receiving votes were: Winchester Thurston (7), State College B (5), Great Valley C (3), and Moravian Academy (1).
We wish everyone happy holidays, a happy new year, and happy buzzing. See you in 2020.
The voters in this poll were: Ryan Bilger, Chris Chiego, Ben Herman, Antonio Jimenez, Ashish Kumbhardare, Nick Luca, Andrew Nadig, Malaika Paralkar, Colton Sanden, Alex Sankaran, Steven Silverman, Jack Sugrue, Adam Swift, Jackie Wu, and Will Yaeger
The winners of the tournament were out-of-staters Ithaca (NY) A, who took advantage of a rare tournament relatively close to their rural NY location to play a regular-difficulty NAQT IS set. Out of the in-state teams, Wallenpaupack A and Delaware Valley A represented Pennsylvania well, finishing behind Ithaca A but atop the rest of the field. Both schools also had solid PPBs and appear to be on-schedule in preparing for their return to HSNCT Nationals in Atlanta in the spring. Delaware Valley’s B team also tussled with Ithaca’s B and C teams for the remainder of the spots in the top playoff bracket and scored notable wins over both of those NY teams.
The tournament also marked the welcome return of Lehigh Valley Academy Charter as well as Mountain View High School, both of whom had attended quizbowl tournaments in the past but whose current status was unclear. Both programs performed well and were in the mix with a variety of B and C teams, including several Lakeland house teams and two teams from Berwick.
The tournament was also notable as the pyramidal weekend quizbowl tournament debut for Montrose and Carbondale. While the regular IS set was definitely challenging for these new-to-quizbowl teams, both schools got several wins during the day along with hopefully useful experience for both the WVIA Scholastic Scrimmage TV show and future quizbowl tournaments.
The success (as seen by repeated trips to quizbowl nationals) of rural teams in Northeast Pennsylvania like Lakeland, Delaware Valley, and Wallenpauck is a testament to what excellent coaching can do for any school in Pennsylvania. With Lakeland hopefully joining these schools in hosting again, NEPA also has a solid stable of tournament hosts set up for the future.
Note from the Editors: This is a guest post from circuit alumnus Nick Luca, Henderson ’16. Nick has vast experience working stats, and we thank him for his time writing up this overview for stats newcomers.
Despite being behind the scenes most of the time, the statistician is an extremely important role in order to run a successful quizbowl event. Without statisticians, the logistics of the tournament day can be seriously delayed, especially when you are re-seeding teams into playoff and consolation brackets. You may also have unhappy teams if stats are not posted in a timely fashion after the tournament concludes. Doing stats for a quizbowl tournament can be daunting at first, with a 24 team 10 round tournament requiring at least 120 unique games entered. However, stats can be easy if you follow a set-out procedure.
Some quick background on myself: I have been playing quizbowl for 5 years for both West Chester Henderson and most recently Virginia Tech. I have been a statistician at multiple national tournaments as well as various large tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic region. I decided to create this write-up in order to share my experience and knowledge with others so I can help newer statisticians in their endeavors. Themost common mistake of first-time quizbowl statistician is not doing any research about quizbowl stats prior to the tournament. This write up is designed to help you get a better understanding of stats and how to optimize your performance as a statistician. So, let’s get started!
The Various Stat Keeping Programs
In order to start stat keeping you need to select a stat keeping program in order to fit your event’s needs. Here are some common quizbowl stat keeping programs:
This is the most commonly used and my personal choice of quizbowl stat keeping programs. SQBS is the standard in terms of stat uploading and produces the only file that NAQT will accept for a statistics discount after a tournament ends. Typically, tournaments using SQBS will use paper scoresheets and the statistician will manually enter each individual game. This write-up will mainly be highlighting this program as it is seen as the standard in quizbowl.
This is a cloud-based quizbowl stat program that eliminates the use of paper scoresheets by allowing all scorekeepers to digitally submit their scoresheets. This program makes error detection much harder and requires more setup that SQBS if you are running a large event. In addition, the output of Neg 5 files is a bit unorthodox and would often require re-entering the stats into SQBS in order to upload the files to the forums and send to NAQT. In addition, the servers can potentially crash; halting all stat keeping. For these reasons I can’t recommend Neg 5 for large events. I would only recommend this program if you do not have enough staff to have at least one person in the stats room.
Pioneered by quizbowl stats whiz Ophir Lifshitz. This stats program also tracks buzz points, meaning you can see where everyone who played a set buzzed on a given question. Typically, advanced stats are used in college tournaments and are used to help writers and editors improve their packets in future iterations of a set. However, not all stats are calculated in this program and therefore it is recommended to have one person in control to input the stats into SQBS alongside Advanced Stats to avoid logistical errors. This program will be provided to you when you use a set that uses advanced stats.
A newer stats program created by Manheim Township alum Andrew Nadig. This SQBS alternative allows you to easily organize stats by phase, create a more detailed scoreboard report, supports roster import, and allows for easy conversion to SQBS and html files. I have not personally used the program myself, but I have heard nothing but good things about it and it appears to be gaining more acceptance in quizbowl circles very rapidly. For further questions see this post on the HSQB forums or contact Andrew on Twitter (@qzbwl) and he’ll be happy to help.
Before your tournament even begins you want to make sure your SQBS file is ready to go so that when you start getting completed scoresheets, you’ll be ready to enter them quickly. To create a new tournament, after downloading SQBS, open the program and simply click file and then select New Tournament (or Ctrl + N). You will be then presented the following screen:
For the standard NAQT format you do not have to make any changes to default settings; however, different types of question sets may require different values. For example, for ACF tournaments, you would simply unselect the 15-point value since their sets are not power- marked. Moving downwards, we now have the stat tracking section. The first to boxes must be checked for all most all scenarios so please make sure you make sure they are checked. If you are using lighting rounds and/or splitting the field into separate brackets or divisions check the corresponding boxes. Finally, we have Bonus Conversion Tracking. Make 100% percent automatic is selected unless you are using bounce backs; if it is not you will have to do all bonus conversion statistics by hand. Once you make all the necessary selections, hit ok and you will have a brand new SQBS file.
Once the file is created make sure to do 2 things immediately. First, save the file by selecting File and then selecting Save Tournament As (or Ctrl + A). Make sure you save the file to an easily accessible place on your computer, preferably either your documents or desktop. Secondly, you should set up auto-saves. This will make sure that you will have your progress saved even if you forget to save manually. This feature has saved me on multiple occasions.
Inputting Rosters, Teams and Divisions
Many tournaments will use division due to field size and packet constraints making round robins impossible. If you are running a round robin tournament skip to roster input section of this write up. To enter divisions simply pull up the Division Entry window and enter each unique division as seen in the example below. Once you are done click enter.
Once you are done with divisions, if applicable, you are now ready to input rosters. First, pull up the Roster Entry window. Your screen should look like this:
Once you have the window pulled up start by entering the team name. If a school has multiple teams but the school name and letter designation in the team name box. Next, if applicable, select the division you assigned the team to from a drop-down menu. If you are running a round-robin tournament you can skip this step. If you want a team in the field to play games but not contribute to final scoring, click the exhibition team box. 99% of the time this box should be unchecked, so make sure each individual team does not have this box checked. We are now ready to enter the team’s roster. Put one player per line in the box. Once you are done the final completed team roster should look like this:
Once you are sure the entry is correct, click the next button and enter the next team. Repeat this process for every team in the field. If there comes a case where there is a duplicate team roster, simply click the delete button to delete the team roster. If an additional player is added to a team that was not listed on the initial roster, simply add the person on the next line below the last player in the roster. There is no need to create a new roster. Once you are done entering the rosters (and note that you can and probably should enter rosters before the tournament even starts; this is why it’s standard practice now to ask teams to submit rosters before tournaments so that you can get a head start), you are now ready to enter games.
The first thing to do before entering games is to double-check the completed scoresheets as they arrive. Some tournaments will have additional staff in HQ to do this for you. If you don’t additional help you must do this yourself. Add up all the toss-up points and count the bonus parts; the bonus points will by that count by 10. Add the two numbers and check it against your final score. If it matches, repeat the process for the other team. If not look through each individual toss-up and bonus set and make sure the running total is added correctly.
Here is a list of common mistakes:
Bonus total ends in a 5
Bonus total cannot end in a 5 since each bonus is worth 10 points each. If the bonus total ends in a 5, the scoresheet is wrong and must be fixed
Math error in running total
Incorrect stat lines for players
Be sure to recount powers (if applicable), toss-ups, and negs (if applicable) on the scoresheet if the score does not match. Once counted, re-calculate the toss-up points per player
This process is a double-check and cannot be substituted for scorekeepers checking the score. Stress that your scorekeepers should follow the same process so you can get stats in at a timely pace. If there are multiple instances of mistakes by the same scorekeepers, be sure to let the tournament director know so they can deal with the situation. Once you are done double-checking the scoresheet, its time to enter the score into SQBS. To start open the game entry tab; your screen should look like this:
First pick the two teams playing the match from the drop-down menus at the top on both the left and right. Once you select the teams the rosters should automatically appear in the middle of the window. Once the teams are selected, click on the box below the drop-down menus and input the final score for both teams. In addition, enter the round number in the “Rnd” box in the bottom left and the number of tossups in the game in the “Toss-Ups Heard” right below the rosters in the center. We are now ready to enter the individual stats for each player.
First, we need to check the GP row. The sum of the numbers in this row must be less than or equal to 4. For example, if there are 4 people playing the entire game, they all should have a GP of 1. If there was a substitution in the middle of the match the GP of the player will not be one. For the affected players, instead of the default 1, type in the number of toss-up played divided by the number of toss-ups in the match. For example, if the player played 10 questions in a 20 toss-up match you would simple enter “10/20” in the GP row for that player. If there is a player who didn’t play in each match, simply type in a 0 into the GP row. If a player played the entire match simply type in a 1 if not already inputted automatically.
After the GP row is done, we can now input the individual stat lines. Next to the GP columns you will see rows coordinating to the different point amounts you can earn for a toss-up. Use the scoresheet to enter their stat lines into the appropriate row. Do not attempt to type in the “Pts” row since SQBS does the math for you and will update as you put in toss-up values. If a player didn’t get a certain toss-up value for a round just leave the box blank; by default, the value in each box is 0. Repeat this for every player on the team.
After you are done the row you can now check the bonus calculations. SQBS automatically calculates bonus heard and bonus points. If the bonus points match the value of the corrected scoresheet. Repeat the state inputting process for the other team. Below is a picture of a completed scoresheet of a typical game.
Once you make sure everything is correct simply click next to get to a new blank game entry. You can then enter the next scoresheet. This process will work for most scoresheets you come across, but there are 2 notable scenarios where the game inputting process is slightly different.
The first situation is a forfeit. If a team leaves early or doesn’t show up to the tournament at all the games the team is not present to will result in a forfeit. In order to enter a forfeit, you simply, first, select the two teams who were supposed to be playing. For the score of the team who forfeited you simply put the letter “L” in their score box; the other team will receive an “W” in their score box. Lastly, check the forfeit box near box near the next button.
The second situation of note is a game that goes to overtime. For a game like this you begin by entering the game as normal. Note the toss-ups in the overtime period do not count towards Toss-Ups Heard. So, if there was a 20 question rounds with 3 overtime question you would enter the number 20 in the “Toss-Ups Heard” box. After you are done entering the scoresheet as normal, we can now focus on overtime. First, check the “Overtime” check box in the bottom right corner. Lastly, for the 2 boxes next to the overtime check box enter the number of toss-ups correctly answered by the team during the overtime period. For example if the team on the left got 2 toss-ups and the right team got 1 toss-up in a 3 question overtime period you would enter the number 2 in the box closest to the “Overtime” check box and the number 1 in the box closest to the delete button. Below is an example of a game entry of an overtime game.
To access previous game entries, you simply press the previous button until you get to the game in question. However, a more efficient way to do this requires using ID numbers. Every game entry in SQBS has its own unique ID number when inputted. The first game you input will be ID # 0, the second 1, the third 2, and so on. I would recommend writing this ID number on the scoresheet in order to easily access a game entry To access you input the ID number into the box to the left of the “Previous” button and click the “Go To” button to get to the game entry.
Once you have entered all the scoresheets in the morning session it is time to export the reports. However, before you export you should give the stats one final check. You can do this by doing a command called Quick-Print Teams. You do this by clicking Reports in the top left-corner and then clicking Quick-Print Teams (or Ctrl + T). You will then have a pop-up appear with your team standings. Make sure that amount of games and the records for each team are correct. If everything checks out, you are ready to upload the stats to the forums.
You will first have to create the files you need to upload to the forums. To do this click Reports and then click Full-Web Reports. You will then be prompted to give the files names. Insert a name and save it to a place that is easily accessible, i.e. the desktop.
Next you need to sign into the forums with the account that owns the tournament listing for the tournament. Once you are logged in click the link to access the Quizbowl Resource Database. The web address is https://hsquizbowl.org/db/. Click on your username in the top right and you should be directed to a page with a list of tournaments under My Tournaments. Click the applicable event. Once you get to the tournament listing click “Edit Tournament Listing.” Then on the next page click “Manage Stat Reports.” Finally click “Add Stat Report” on the next page. You should get to a page like below.
Click choose file for each report upload the appropriate report. For example, for scoreboard upload the file whose file name ends with “_games.html.” Once you are done uploading all the files click “Add Stat Report” and the stats are uploaded to the forums. Complete this process again at the end of the day when all the stats are entered SQBS.
Finally, in order to get the stat discount for NAQT you simply send the .SQBS file to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will process the request.
Being a statistician can be a bit daunting at first, but if you follow the guidelines set forward by this write-up you can make the experience an enjoyable one. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me. I am a member of the GPQB discord or you can also contact me via email at email@example.com. I hope that this guide helps and happy buzzing!
42 teams were on hand to contest a Varsity and Junior Varsity title at Manheim Township in Lancaster last Saturday. It was a fun, breezy day, enjoyed by students and staff alike. As is always the case with MTHS tournaments, it ran just about flawlessly and students got to go home with a quality tournament in record time.
Penn Manor with their 1st place trophy. Photo courtesy the Penn Manor Quizbowl team.
Southeast PA has seen a chaotic season at the top, with many teams getting tournament victories. This time, it was Penn Manor‘s turn to take home the first place trophy. While never down as far as in their legendary comeback to take 3rd at last year’s iteration of the tournament, Penn Manor trailed by 105 points at half time in the final. They stormed back, however, to clinch on tossup 19. Connor once again led a tournament in scoring with 148 points per game, which was more than forty above the nearest player. They were undefeated on the day. Great Valley A took second place behind yet another strong all around tournament. All four players scored between 27 and 44 points per game. They seem adroit all around the distribution, particularly history. Penn Manor seemed to be a better tossup team than bonus team, while GV was more equal across the two.
Great Valley almost has enough players for two A teams, as the B team finished just behind them and took 3rd. I continue to be impressed by how focused GV B plays, and for an ostensibly younger team, they are remarkably free from forced errors or mistakes. Henderson nabbed 4th place. They powered a bit less than normal this time, but overall are still a rock solid team, particularly on categories like current events and geography. Henderson’s Vijay had 83 points per game, good for 5th overall individually. Friends Select took 5th place, and led the tournament in bonus conversion. Indeed, in points per game, the top five were all basically on top of one another. It will be fascinating to see how these teams shake out and separate themselves come nationals.
Great Valley B with their 3rd place trophy.
6th place went to Hempfield. Their 45 powers was in line with the top teams, so they’re clearly in no rebuild to speak of after last year’s title team. The one-two punch of Carsten and Sebastian provided a lot of early buzzes. Otherwise in the playoff brackets of Varsity, Henderson B and Great Valley C tied for 7th, Mechanicsburg and Wilton from Connecticut took 9th, and Lancaster Mennonite and Emmaus A tied for 11th. I’m happy to see Mechanicsburg doing well, as this was their season debut. They showed a lot of promise last year when they did play, and it looks like those players have become quite formidable in the time since we’ve seen them. The other schools all looked strong, with points per bonuses in the 18+ range and several strong individual performances.
In Varsity consolation, we saw a variety of nice performances as well. Huntingdon had two teams play, and Andrew from Huntingdon B finished 4th overall in scoring for the tournament. Carver E & S A wowed with 20.5 points per bonus, which was nearly as high tournament champ Penn Manor. This suggests a bit of buzzer shyness; overcome that and they might threaten for the Philly City title this year. Central Dauphin braved the Varsity bracket at their very first pyramidal invitational, and did admirably, going 3-4 and making a nice 17/9 power to neg ratio. They have plenty of potential. Cedar Crest A, Bermudian Springs A, a house team, and several B-D teams rounded out the bracket.
Oxford A, en route to their JV title at Manheim Township.
In the JV bracket, Oxford A stormed through the competition undefeated, to win their first tournament in school history. Oxford was dominant on history and science especially, and they are absolutely now ready to graduate to Varsity play, just under a year from their first tournament. Chris’ 107.5 points per game on a 9/30/1 line was good for second overall in the JV division. Henderson C took second place. Cedar Crest B came in 3rd, and Delaware’s Tower Hill school finished in 4th. All of these schools acquitted themselves well, and had stats exceeding a few Varsity teams! Max from Tower Hill edged out Chris from Oxford by one point to lead the JV players in scoring, and Cedar Crest B’s Danny was the third scorer with 75 ppg.
West York, enjoying their first taste of Saturday quizbowl.
Elsewhere, West York made their tournament debut and did swimmingly. I had the chance to read several games from them, and while there were a few new-team type mistakes, they also had a lot of good buzzes. They have potential to become a contender in South-Central PA. Speaking of, Waynesboro returned to action and also did well, going 6-1 overall on the day with several big wins over 200 points as well as a clutch five point win. Montgomery and Midd-West made the trek down from Northeastern PA and also had a number of good buzzes. With studying, the wins are sure to follow. The rest of the JV day was filled out with freshmen and sophomore players from stalwart schools who gained valuable buzzer experience.
This was a fun day, and once again, the hosts should be commended for a well run tournament. We wish all our readers happy holidays and a happy New Year, and we will resume play at Great Valley high school just after the start of 2020.
29 teams gathered in Philadelphia on Saturday, December 7th to compete in the Fifth-Annual Quaker Fall Open. When this tournament began 5 years ago, no UPenn high school tournament had ever had a team from Philadelphia in the field. This year, 10 out of the 29 teams in attendance hailed from the City of Brotherly Love.
Most stats from the two divisions, Nationals and Open, are up here.
In the Nationals division, the teams competed on a college-level set, the Early Fall Tournament (you can see last year’s EFT question set here to get an idea of how difficult it is). Ithaca A (NY) ran the table with a strong four-player effort to take first place and cemented their status as a national contender this year. After a spirited final that saw Ithaca A narrowly triumph 265-235, Manheim Township A continued their impressive but frustratingrun of runner-up finishes to take 2nd. Though MT A easily won against the other PA schools at the event, they’re still chasing some of the top teams in the Northeast region as a whole.
Below the top came a 3-way tie for third place, with a Connor-led (91.88 PPG) Penn Manor tying with a depleted Great Valley A (several of their normal A-team members were absent so several B-teamers played on A here) and Friends Select, who scored an overtime victory (195-185) over Penn Manor via a higher bonus conversion rate. The Great Valley team put up an impressive 15.84 PPB but also an aggressive 7 to 29 power-to-neg ratio. In contrast, Friends Select played much more conservatively, with only a single power for the entire day.
Finishing just below that tie was Hotchkiss, who came down from Connecticut and put together a solid 13 PPB performance anchored by Cooper’s 52.5 PPG. Moravian A and B both braved the EFT questions as well and, along with Wissahickon A, rounded out the field in the Nationals division.
Given some of the unusual team compositions necessitated by regular members being absent from some of the larger programs’ teams, the Open division was wide-open this year. The LOGIC question set used in this division had generally accessible answerlines and bonuses (though science and literature, per quizbowl tradition, tended to be particularly unforgiving) while the tossups often had fairly challenging and lengthy lead-ins. The teams at QFO seemed game for the questions overall though and, though no open team broke 20 PPB, only 5 were below 10 PPB.
Great Valley “B” won the division with an impressive performance from Rahul, whose 90.5 PPG topped the division. Rahul displayed a strong mastery of the quizbowl canon, nabbing tossups across a whole array of categories, and rarely getting stumped on any bonus. GV continues to display considerable depth and the regular GV C team will be a tough out for other teams at future events.
In the runner-up position, Germantown Friends School put on an outstanding display of buzzer aggression, with 39 powers to go with 33 negs in the prelims and a total of 50 powers and 49 negs for the day. In contrast to GV B, they still have some holes in the regular quizbowl canon (particularly in literature), but also deep pockets of knowledge that led to impressive NBA Jam-style “on fire” streaks. While they still have a ways to go, they may yet challenge Friends Select this year for the Philadelphia City Championship.
Manheim Township B also put on a strong performance in the prelims with Deeya (44.4 PPG) and Ellie (11 powers) leading the way, though they faltered a bit at the end of a long day in their cross-bracket matches against GV B and GFS. Downingtown East A‘s top-bracket performance was led by Maggie (62.2 PPG) yet maintained a balanced attack. Just below, Ithaca B played high-risk high-reward quizbowl that led to some impressive victories and agonizingly close losses (their 3 losses were by a total of 65 points). Manheim Township C continued to display the standard MT brand of solid, disciplined quizbowl and balanced performance that covers most of the canon well, though rarely spectacularly so. And Archbishop Ryan continued to ride the Ryan (76.6 PPG) train, with their performance varying directly with their star player’s PPG, while Wissahickon B rode a wild coaster of 5 straight losses followed by 4 straight wins and then 2 more losses to round out the day.
D-East also demonstrated strong depth with their B team’s solid day as well (led by Nora’s 38.8 PPG) while Carver A (with Sebastian’s 45 PPG) suffered 3 one-tossup losses, but finished with a solid 16.05 PPB and 20 powers. Below those teams, the crossover bracket seeding got a little more random with Carver B and Great Valley C having solid mornings but tougher afternoons, Bodine displaying impressive breadth (see Alex’s 71.6 PPG) but not making much headway against stronger teams, and Wissahickon’s C and D teams curiously clustering together. The field was rounded out with two more Carver teams (C and D), Franklin Towne Charter A (featuring Mansi’s 39.3 PPG) and B, and Moravian C.
A Word of Advice: Have an Organized System for Answering Bonuses
One of the big differences that I noticed at all levels (from the lowest-bracket to playoff bracket teams) when reading was between teams that had a clear system in place for working together on bonuses versus those teams that had little or no organization on bonuses. The teams with a system usually ran things through a designated captain: the captain would listen to their teammates while sometimes asking for confirmation or probing for new information before offering a response to the moderator. The other team members repeated what was being asked for and made guesses as needed. This kind of structured system reduced unforced errors and often generated solid guesses.
In contrast, other teams engaged in a kind of chaotic, anyone-can-say-anything experience with no set structure in place on bonuses. This would then lead to frequent miscommunications between team members and poor guesses. Though it may not change a team’s performance that much, on average I suspect better-organized teams would get 3-4 more bonus parts each tournament than a similar less-organized team, which in close matches could be the difference between winning and losing.
Furthermore, as a reader, it’s much easier to focus simply on whether or not an answer is correct when a team has a clear system of responding in place instead of multiple players shouting out responses with varying degrees of directedness. If you want your team to maximize its bonus performance and reduce the stress levels of everyone in the room, spend a bit of time getting a system in place for responding on bonuses.