Month: February 2020

GPQB Podcast Episode 43- Making Tournaments Fun

In response to some recent comments by high school players in Pennsylvania, Ben free-form associates about why our players think PA tournaments are more fun than out-of-state events, and ideas for making tournaments a more enjoyable playing experience for most high school students.

Click here to listen!

Penn State Spring Academic Bowl 2020 Wrap-Up (2/15/20)

Eleven teams were on hand to contest the title at Penn State’s latest tournament, held last Saturday. It was a low-key day filled with solid play. IS-191A was used.

Stats can be found here.

State College “A” and “B”

State College high fielded five teams on the day, and they secured three of the top four places. Continuing an unfortunate tradition of not labeling their teams in order from strongest to weakest, their “B” team won the event behind Albert’s 170 points per game. He is a monster on the buzzer and has clearly mastered the A-set difficulty. Meanwhile, State College “A” took second, losing only to the “B” team. They were very balanced, with all players notching at least 17 ppg and Allen coming in at 75. Elmira New York’s Notre Dame took 3rd. They had some nice powers this event, and it’s always nice to see some out of state teams add variety to Pennsylvania events. State College “D” took 4th.

Greenwood A took 5th in their first tournament of the season. It was nice to see them again, and this senior heavy team performed quite impressively, notching 28 powers and employing fantastic buzzer discipline with just four negs. Though senior heavy, building quizbowl culture is key and Greenwood is on the right track to continue rising in the ranks as a program. Circuit regular Huntingdon also came, and performed very well despite being without their best player. The one-two punch of Elizabeth and Jack both finished in the top 10 overall scorers for the tournament. They will be formidable at small school nationals in April. Lastly, St. Joseph’s, a local area team, played their first tournament off of novice questions. While there was some adjustment, they still performed well and each one of their seven players got at least one good buzz in. Teams like these three are always nice to see, as each player brings something interesting to the table and the different combinations are fun to see play out.

Greenwood A before the afternoon games.

I had a good time moderating at this event, and it looked like the students were having fun. Next stop: the Philadelphia city championships in early March.


Carnegie Quiz III Wrap-Up (2/15/20)

The third annual Carnegie Quiz tournament took place at the CMU campus in Pittsburgh yesterday, featuring 21 teams from 13 schools. The event used the NAQT IS-190 question set.

Stats are here.

Members of Allderdice A and B after the tournament

First place went to George Washington (WV), whose undefeated record was most seriously threatened by Allderdice A in the 370-310 final game. With a balanced core of Truman, Simon, and Sam supported by Teadora in the prelim matches, Allderdice A broke 300 points per game (PPG) every round and finished with 20.41 points per bonus (PPB).

Third place went to Pittsburgh Central Catholic in their highest finish this year. Jude and Joe (10th and 13th in individual prelims PPG) combined with teammates Nathan, Xander, and John to come within 70 of beating George Washington in round 3. Allderdice B was led by Michal and Omri with contributions from Antonia and Jonah, taking fourth place with the most powers of any PA team (49). They put up an incredible 10 powers in a 395-195 win over fifth place Kiski, which consisted of Eddie playing solo. Eddie scored 27 powers to only 6 negs over 9 games and was the only triple-digit individual scorer in the field. Winchester Thurston finished in sixth, playing with their full A-team lineup for the first time this year. Though their winning streak from the prelim rounds did not continue in the afternoon, Johnny, CB, Andy, and Ben kept all their games relatively close and managed a 20.37 PPB, the third highest in the tournament. With more practice competing together, they seem poised to perform well at their fourth SSNCT in April.

Central Catholic

Mt. Lebanon A finished at the top of the first consolation bracket, unfortunately kept out of the championship bracket by two morning losses by margins of under 50 points. Mt. Lebanon B was led by star player Antonio, whose 31/36/16 stat line included a 6/7/0 showing against Morgantown A (WV). Andrew, Ishika, and Cameron of Shady Side performed well on their first regular-difficulty set of the year, while Hampton A, led by Tad and Hayden, rounded out the bracket.

The remaining two brackets featured teams from aforementioned schools as well as Archbishop Ryan (on a trip over from Philadelphia), 2020 SSNCT competitor Sharpsville, and other Pittsburgh circuit regulars Penn Hills and Kane. While the IS set had a variety of difficult answerlines and challenging bonus parts that led to relatively low scoring totals, all the teams put themselves to the test and competed admirably.

I had a great time directing this tournament and enjoyed getting to watch talented players perform well on a challenging set! I look forward to seeing many of these teams at Pitt’s Battle of the Burgh next month.


Big Lake Brawl IV (2/1/2020) Wrap-Up

Wallenpaupack High School in Hawley, PA hosted their fourth annual Big Lake Brawl tournament this past Saturday, attracting teams from eleven schools across four states. The day’s full stats can be found here.

As has unfortunately often happened at many Pennsylvania tournaments this season, out-of-state teams topped the proverbial podium, as Ridgewood A, Ithaca A, and Ridgewood B finished in the trophy spots. Moravian A represented Pennsylvania’s top squad by finishing in fourth place. Most of their 8 wins came by comfortable margins and they played Ridgewood A close, falling by a 330-390 final score. Alex continues to have a strong season as the team’s leader, and Angela and Neil each contributed over 30 PPG as well. Based on the teams that made the playoff bracket, Emmaus A was the second-highest finisher among PA teams. Another balanced squad here, as Shreya, Jack, Aidan, and Ishaan each scored at least 19 PPG. They also notched a nice 285-175 victory over Wilton to cap off their day.

The two improving teams from Delaware Valley were next up. The B team technically finished higher by virtue of making the playoff bracket, where they also defeated Wilton for their lone upper bracket victory. Lucas led the way for this team with his 43 PPG. The DV A team ran the second bracket to finish with 7 wins, as Darius, Adam, and J.D. each topped 30 PPG.

Lakeland A finished with a winning record at 5-4 behind a strong outing from David. A mostly-two-man Wallenpaupack A house team also did nicely, led by an impressive 98.89 PPG from Gavin, including 31 powers. Emmaus B rounded out the second bracket, with lead scorer Tom averaging 37.14 PPG.

Moravian B topped the final bracket with a 5-0 record behind Samit’s 82 PPG in the rebracketed games. Wallenpaupack B, Lakeland C and B, and teams from Berwick‘s middle and high schools rounded out the field.

Congratulations to all who participated, and we hope to see this teams continue improving!


Allderdice Invitational VI (2/1/20)

Last Saturday, eighteen teams from four states gathered at Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh to compete on the 2019 Wayzata Academic Invitational Tournament (WAIT) housewrite.

Stats are here.

2nd place Manheim Township and 3rd place Penn Manor (L to R: Sanya, Will, AZ, Connor, Cyril)

The highest finishing Pennsylvania school was runner-up Manheim Township, ranked #1 in our midseason poll. With AZ and Will’s literature, fine arts, and history knowledge backed by very solid coverage from Sanya and Cyril, this four-person squad gave eventual champion Detroit Catholic Central A (MI) their only loss of the day in the first game of the finals series. They maintained the highest points-per-bonus in the field with 24.23 over the day and cleared 500 points-per-game (PPG) in every non-DCC match.

Penn Manor consisted of Connor soloing, racking up 163 PPG in the prelims. He came back from a sizable deficit in the third place game against DCC C by powering through the last quarter to win 335-305. His strong generalism combined with potential teammate contributions at future tournaments bodes well for nats.

Fifth place went to DCC B, while sixth-place Kiski featured Eddie playing solo. He’s been improving rapidly as a generalist while maintaining solid specialism in history and literature since playing his first pyramidal tournament last fall. Despite going winless in the tough championship bracket, he did manage around 200 PPG against most of his playoff opponents, indicating his impressive ability to challenge top teams.

The house team from Allderdice finished at the top of the consolation bracket with 18.43 PPB and was led by Simon and Truman, while DCC D finished behind them with a 6-4 record. Though we still have yet to see a full-strength Winchester Thurston, the WT team here was led by Andy (67 prelims PPG) for most of the day. Boardman (OH) and Morgantown A (WV) went 2-3 in the afternoon, while the five players from Pittsburgh Central Catholic put up a balanced effort.

Two Morgantown teams finished first and second in the third bracket, while teams from Bishop Canevin, North Catholic, and Yough played close games against each other to round out the field.

Overall, the tournament ran smoothly and most teams were done ten rounds by 3:30 PM. We got to see how southeast PA circuit regulars like Manheim Township and Penn Manor stack up against an established national powerhouse like DCC, while all the teams in the field got at least one win.

We look forward to seeing the Pittsburgh-area teams at Carnegie Quiz in two weeks!