Author: gpqb

Henderson Invitational IV Wrap-Up (11/18/2017)

30 teams were on hand for the 4th annual tournament at Henderson High in West Chester, always one of the year’s biggest events. With many alumni and other quizbowl personalities in tow, the event ran its best ever and produced many amazing matches.

Stats are here.

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Manheim Township A poses with their 2nd place trophy. From L to R: Dan, Michael, Bryce, and Nate.

Downingtown STEM claimed their second major tournament victory of November with an undefeated run and 477 points per game. Vishwa continues to round out as one of the best players in Pennsylvania quizbowl history, knocking in 64 power buzzes in 11 rounds and finishing with a tournament leading 115 points a game. Anish and Rohan proved capable wingmen, and STEM won every match but one by triple digits (the lone exception being a 15 point nail biter against Princeton (NJ), who would finish 4th). Their finals opponent was the never-count-em-out Manheim Township A. The Blue Streaks were thought to be in a rebuild this year, but reports of their demise were grossly overstated. Bryce, Dan, Nate, and Michael offered up a balanced attack where everyone scored between 23 and 40 ppg and everyone had at least 10 powers en route to their 9-2 runner up finish. Well done to this ever deep school.

3rd and 4th place went to out of state squads, with Wilmington Charter (DE) finishing third and Princeton taking fourth. Both looked impressive, and we are happy to see some non-Pennsylvania schools take the trip and feel our events are worth attending. A 9-2 Friends Select A team finished in 5th. They rolled through the day until Rudyard had to leave after round 7, and then took two very close losses. Despite this unfortunate turn, FSS showed they are continuing to improve and their bonus conversion in particular is skyrocketing. A 75 ppg performance from Connor Mayers led Penn Manor to finish in 6th place.

Elsewhere in the playoffs, the Jackie Wu led Downingtown East A took 7th place, beating a team from Unionville High School in Chester County. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Unionville at an invitational, and they seem to be a strong squad as always. A 40/63/40 line indicates a lot of spirited buzzing. Hempfield, from outside Lancaster, ventured to their first ever event on IS questions and first ever event outside Lancaster County, and finished a respectable 9th. Will Yaeger put up 16 powers, and he continues to be one of the more underrated players in the state. Great Valley A took 10th. Missing Sam for the day and Mark for part of it, Dan Chen had a very solid day, but Great Valley is not quite a title contender when playing shorthanded. The playoffs were rounded out by Manheim Township B and Emmaus A. Though not yet back to Ryan Bilger levels of play, it was fantastic to see scrappy Emmaus get into the playoffs of an event again, and they flashed nice potential, particularly with their excellent neg control.

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Unionville’s team during the day’s events.

Consolation brackets featured a crew of other teams. Camp Hill A finished on top of the bunch. Sydney continues to be a strong player, but Alex and Ben, both contributing but unnotable players last year, really stepped up to fill the shoes of graduating Colton, and all three contributed a ton of good answers. Longtime circuit stalwarts Cedar Crest and PALCS made their season debut at HHS, and Huntingdon traveled from the western mountains to get in more action. Ranney, another New Jersey team, also played.  It is fantastic to see such a diverse field turn out for these events.

Congratulations to all these teams for their fine showings at Henderson. The season continues to be one of parity and exciting games. Next stop for Philadelphia-area quizbowl: QFO at the University of Pennsylvania on 12/2.

-Ben

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Philly Fall Tournament Wrap-Up (11/11/17)

36 teams from across the Greater Philadelphia area converged on Center City, Philadelphia Saturday for the Philly Fall Invitational, jointly hosted by Friends Select School and Carver HSES at Friends Select’s campus.

Full stats are available here.

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The winning duo from D-STEM A. Image via Twitter.

Open Division

Downingtown STEM A swept the field and finished with an unblemished 10-0 record, triumphing in an unusual 2 vs. 2 final against Wilmington Charter A. Propelled by Vishwa’s impressive 118 PPG (note that he actually averaged more points in the playoffs than in the prelims!) and Anish’s solid backing, STEM took on a tough (and somewhat uneven) Harvard Fall question set and was the only team in the field to finish above 20 PPB. Charter, playing somewhat shorthandedly as well, saw the continued emergence of Waley as a star player and excellent complement to A-team anchor Sohum. Great Valley A finished in 3rd, with a sterling performance from last year’s GPQB player-of-the-year Sam (26 powers to only 6 negs) counterbalanced by a consistent neg trend. GV averaged nearly 4 negs a match and barely broke even on the Power to Neg ratio. Downingtown East A finished in 4th, led as usual by Jackie’s strong generalist knowledge, and also picked up some solid assistance from Zach (28.9 PPB). Though they came close to knocking off Charter A, they had a harder time with their in-district rivals at STEM. Friends Select’s house team played with only half of their usual A-team (since FSS quite smartly chose to focus on prioritizing making sure the tournament ran efficiently by having their best readers read instead of play), allowing a rotating cast of A-team hopefuls to get some good experience. Henderson A made the top bracket as well, but isn’t quite ready yet to take back their place atop the Chester County hierarchy at this time.

Great Valley showcased tremendous depth throughout this tournament with their B, C, D, and E teams all finishing in the middle consolation bracket. With good coaching and a stable program in place for several years now, reinforcements from a burgeoning middle school program are helping to replenish and expand the ranks of GV teams this year and likely in future years. A young Penn Manor team continued its long-term expedition forth from the Lancaster-Lebanon League, highlighted with a 345-155 win over a balanced Downingtown STEM B team that came close to making the top bracket.

Wissahickon A, making their season debut, won the 2nd consolation bracket by a fairly large margin. Moorestown Friends, after a year’s hiatus from the circuit, returned and was led by a solid 40 PPG performance from Kayla. Science Leadership Academy A, playing up in the open division for the first time, had several close losses to GV B and Henderson A before finishing alongside Moorestown Friends (whom they beat in a close 200-195 match). Henderson’s enterprising B team, Carver’s house team, and Lancaster Mennonite (unusual but interesting to see several LL teams but not Manheim Township–who was down in Baltimore dogfighting with the DC circuit this weekend–at a tournament).

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Clockwise from the top: Haverford, D-East, and Middlesex County A. Image via Instagram.

Novice Division

Though they lacked their signature red-and-gold bowties, Haverford High school made a big impression in only their 2nd-ever pyramidal tournament of the past few years by winning the novice division and displaying some outstandingly deep knowledge in doing so. Though they have some knowledge gaps due to their relative quizbowl inexperience, they can go on impressive runs of powers and 30s that show just what  some of the other Delaware County Hi-Q schools might be capable of if they chose to play quizbowl. Downingtown East B, paced by a balanced attack with all of its players averaging 29 PPG or higher, showed that the future of D-East should be bright. D-East B’s only losses were to Haverford and they had an impressive 200-point win over Wilmington Charter B in the prelims. Middlesex County A (NJ), another young team recovering from several major graduations last year, was able to knock off Haverford in the first round but then got upset by their B team in the playoffs and finished just out of the finals. Downingtown STEM C and Middlesex B were also both freshman-dominated teams who seemed happy to make the top playoff bracket but then had a harder time. Prathik (MCA B) and Abhsenk (MCA A) both topped 50 PPG, so with their powers combined MCA should be set for the future and we welcome more NJ teams to come over to our tournaments in PA.

The middle consolation bracket was won by Bodine, where star sophomore Alex (60 PPG) is now complemented by an impressive newcomer in Raquel (42 PPG). Though they could stand to work on adding some more depth (only 6 powers), Bodine was only a tossup cycle away in 2 games from breaking into the championship bracket. Church Farm School made their quizbowl debut in solid fashion, getting a tough introduction from the B teams of Charter and D-East before settling down to finish high in their consolation bracket. Wissahickon B capped off their day with a nice 255-250 victory over a balanced Charter C team. FSS B, also rotating through a cast of newer players, romped through the lower consolation bracket thanks to the 65+ PPG of Hannah, while the rest of the bracket was filled out by new players from the many of the other Philadelphia schools including Franklin Towne, Rush Fine Arts, and even more of Science Leadership Academy, many of whose players were making their quizbowl debuts.

Fortunately for the novice players, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak set (written by veteran quizbowl coach and writer Bill Tressler) was very accessible, particularly on the tossups. The tossups were designed around being covertable but still had challenging lead-ins, and there were a number of clues that tried to tie in current events and recent pop culture. There were some list-like clues and a few pronoun/plural issues, but most of those have been marked to get corrected and didn’t detract from the overall accessibility of the set at all. I would highly encourage other schools interested in a set that I felt was slightly harder than SCOP Novice on the bonuses but easier than NAQT IS-A sets on the tossups to use it (and its future sequels!) in your area.

-Chris

Lehigh Valley Academy Tournament Wrapup (10/28/17)

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to read at the Lehigh Valley Academy tournament, allowing me to get a first look at some of the key competitors in the east. Though the tournament had its challenges, I must say, it’s shaping up to be a banner year.

Stats for both divisions can be found at this link.

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Friends Select A with their first place trophy (photo courtesy Peter Schmidt)

Based on an unorthodox head-to-head tiebreaker, Friends Select A were declared champions of the experienced division. The strong duo of Richard Chen and Jake Shapiro led the way for the Philadelphians on the day, and they figure to be even better with the return of the absent Rudyard Lynch. Henderson A came in second place based on an early 355-325 loss to Friends Select, but they were perhaps the team I was personally most impressed with on the day. Aravind Sivaram and Vijay Anne make for a powerful top two, and Aidan Adkins supported them well as a third. Both of these teams look poised to make major noise in Pennsylvania tournaments for the rest of the year.

The top four was rounded off by Great Valley A and Delaware Valley A. Last year’s GPQB Player of the Year Sam Scarfone turned in another excellent performance for Great Valley at 98.18 PPG, and Daniel Chen and Mark Neri made solid contributions as well. Delaware Valley played extremely well on the day, even without their leading scorer Colin Kawan-Hemler. Frani King is really coming into her own as a player, and their great program culture continues to produce great supporting players, as Abhay Byadgi and Andy Greene each contributed over 30 PPG. Like Friends Select, Delaware Valley is a team that has great potential for when we see their full A team together in the future.

Two more Pennsylvania teams made it into the second pool of four: Downingtown East and Western Lehigh A. Jackie Wu, playing solo on the day for D-East, led the field in scoring with 120 PPG and further demonstrating her strong ability as a generalist. For Western Lehigh, Sahil Inaganti (whose interview with Jackie you can read here) notched a strong 86.82 PPG on the day, and the team notched a quality 330-265 win over perennial New Jersey power East Brunswick. If he and his teammates can continue to develop through the year, Western Lehigh will be a team nobody will want to see in their bracket this year.

The remaining brackets saw a mixture of Pennsylvania teams old and new. Allentown Central Catholic made it into the third bracket in their first appearance of the year, with Alex Strohl and Andrew Buck forming a solid lead pairing for them. Michael Goerlitz put in a strong outing for Lakeland at 91.36 PPG, while my alma mater Emmaus made their debut for the year and Moravian Academy showed some of their deep knowledge with some nice powers. We also welcomed Jim Thorpe to the circuit too for their first tournament. It was nice to see all these teams get off the mark for the new year, and I hope to see them around some more in the future!

Though I personally did not read for the novice division, there were some impressive performances turned in by some of these new players. Henderson B and Henderson C both went 8-1 on the day, with Siddharth Chenrayan of Henderson B notching 63.89 PPG, good for third place among novice players. Emmaus B went 9-0, the only team to do so, showing a good deal of future potential. Southern Lehigh and Carver also played well on the day, the former in their first Saturday tournament of the year. As with Jim Thorpe, it was also great to see WellsboroPalisades, and Saucon Valley join in on the fun. Cecilia Zimmerli of Saucon Valley put up 45.56 PPG on the day with no negs, an excellent first-tournament performance. In all, it’s great to see this young talent coming through the ranks for future years!

Overall, though the tournament had some delays that caused it to run later than normal, it was a fun way to kick off the pyramidal quizbowl year in the Lehigh Valley and introduce some new teams to the game we love. I knew coming into this year that we would have some great matches, and what I saw at LVA has only excited me further for what lies ahead. Congratulations to all the teams and we look forward to seeing what you all have in store this year!

Ryan

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Henderson A with their second place trophy (photo courtesy Peter Schmidt)

Mellon Bowl XV Wrap-Up (10/28/2017)

This year’s incarnation of Mellon Bowl at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh featured some major storylines for the unfolding season. Though the event was, according to our sources, unfortunately marred by significant tournament delays which did affect the outcome of the event, this did not stop the students from kicking off the first of the year’s Pittsburgh events in style.

Stats are here.

Alagar Homeschool won the event. Though a tie between the Homeschoolers and State College A stood at the end of the day, the delays at the event led the latter team to decide not to opt for a final. The Alagars put on a fine showing to defend their place as King of the Hill in Western PA, defeating all the other Pennsylvania teams they faced quite handily. They did take a loss to Boardman High out of the Youngstown, Ohio area. Rajan and Jaya both put up the strong numbers we have come to expect from them, and both exceeded 20 powers on the day. As for runners-up State College, they showed that despite the rash of graduations on the team that finished in the top-5 last year, they are not going away anytime soon. All of their four players put up over 18 points a game, and they were slightly undermanned. State College has asserted themselves as a team which might work its way back into the rankings.

Allderdice A took third, only losing to Alagar and SC and slicing their way to 21+points per bonus and impressive stats. Like State College but even more so, this team is amazingly balanced. Led by Jakobi at 65 ppg, their other 4 players all exceeded 25 points per game. Allderdice reminds one very much of last year’s state champion Winchester Thurston team, and they look to have the parts for a very serious run this season. Speaking of Thurston, the underclassmen that replaced the seniors from last year also made it to the playoffs. Their stats were not as strong as last year’s but this is once again a durable program who continues to pump out enough strong players to be a year-in year-out regional power in Pittsburgh. George Washington from West Virginia and State College B also made the playoffs.

In the consolation zone, teams from circuit regular schools Shady Side, Westmont Hilltop, Indiana, South Side, and Yough got in action, and impressed in a few wins each. Will Davis of Shady Side was the event’s highest scoring Pennsylvanian, with 91 ppg. Chartiers Valley made a return to Mellon Bowl after an absence from the circuit, and Northwest PA Collegiate Academy from Erie, who first played pyramidal late last year, also showed up and finished a respectable 6-5 and got over half their bonus questions. These teams might have some potential in time.

Overall, though there were logistical issues, Mellon Bowl allowed many Western Pennsylvania students the chance to kick off their season with quality quizbowl. The conversation will continue for the Pittsburgh circuit at UPitt next month.

-Ben

Player Interview: Lily Zhang

This month’s interview is with Lily Zhang (LZ), a senior at State College Area High School. She has been the president of their quizbowl club for two years and is currently the captain of their A team.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

JW: What was State College quizbowl like when you first joined?

LZ: I think State College was in somewhat of an awkward place when I joined because we had a really great coach and a really great team a few years past, which was Julie Gittings and Graham Moyer and them. Then after they left, we still had a bunch of really great players that kept the club going, but practices eventually became reading questions for the most experienced players. I remember coming to my first practice and being overwhelmed because it was basically just reading questions, and we had some really outstanding players. My first year of quizbowl, I didn’t really answer any questions at all. Some other freshmen and I would just sit in the back and watch as the really accomplished people got questions.

JW: How do you make your club more inclusive to newcomers?

LZ: In tenth grade I started doing this thing where I would take the newcomers to a separate practice room. At first, we just read questions, but then eventually, I got to know them better, and I would think of different activities that we could do to help them, to help raise them to this standard where reading questions was a productive form of practice. Just recognizing the struggles of newcomers, recognizing that they’re there and paying attention to them, I think, is really important.

JW: What are some of those activities that you do in practice?

LZ: One thing that I started doing this year was, after each practice, the next practice we’ll do a Kahoot on the different topics covered in a packet we read last time. I think the most important thing with newcomers is making them feel like they’re making progress, so they can feel, like, a sense of accomplishment. That’s the most frustrating thing if you don’t feel like you’re making progress. When we play games like Kahoot, it’s really fun for them because they’re really competitive about it, but they can actually see results from paying attention during practice or studying things on their own time. Another thing I started doing this year is, each week we have a category competition thing. I let the newcomers make their own teams, so each team sends one person to compete in a category. For example, last week we had ballets—no, bodies of water. I think that’s also a really great way to get them to make noticeable steady progress, because we pick narrow topics that are really easy to study, so then they can feel good when they get questions. Before the Penn State Novice tournament, we had two of those [category competitions] on like Russian literature and organs, and whenever those things came up it would be a really proud moment for everyone because they’d be like “wow, I studied this!”

JW: How do you recruit new players?

LZ: A lot of it still has to do with knowing people, because generally, at least in State College, people in quizbowl will know younger kids. Certain clubs at the middle school level also serve as good places to recruit. For example, we usually get the Mathcounts kids in the beginning. And if we make the club fun, then the freshmen will recommend that the incoming freshmen join, which is nice. We also have an activities fair in the beginning of the year, so that usually gets a few signups. Recently, just last year, the middle schools here made teams, so that makes recruiting a lot easier for us because there’s already that middle school participation.

JW: What’s the most important part of being the leader of a team?

LZ: I think the most important part of leading quizbowl is just being in touch with everyone. At least, I think that being the leader doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the best person at quizbowl, but it means that you’re really invested in quizbowl outside of just how you perform and how your team performs. Something I feel has helped me is just letting loose and having fun with the younger members and not putting yourself above them. Also, just being able to laugh with them and relate with them really helps, because a lot more mutual respect comes that way.

JW: What do you see in the future for your club?

LZ: That’s something I’m pretty nervous about actually, because this is my last year at State High. Our club is very player-focused. Our coaches are more like advisors, and they support us, but it’s really up to the captains or presidents to determine the course of where the club goes. Hopefully our club only continues to grow, and I think that will happen. Over the past few years we have grown a lot—we’ve like doubled in size. And If I do end up going to college nearby, I’ll probably continue coaching at the club. I definitely see State College rising again in the PA scene, because I think we have a lot more potential and a strong membership.

Thank you to Lily for participating in this interview!

-Jackie

Tri-State Tussle III Wrap Up (10/14/17)

24 teams from around Pennsylvania and New York gathered last Saturday in Matamoras for Delaware Valley High School’s annual fall classic. It was a day filled with action, and storylines for the still developing PA quizbowl season.

Full stats are available here.

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Delaware Valley A (left) and Lehigh Valley Academy prepare for the second game of the finals, in the school auditorium.

Lehigh Valley Academy, recovering from a slow start, relatively speaking, at UMD Fall, rebounded for perhaps the most dominant Alex Schmidt romp yet. His 178 points per game, 79 powers, and a scant 10 negs (less than one a round) were unbeatable, as LVA won every game by over 170 points and never scored less than 455 in any match. These numbers indicate that perhaps there is an even further gear Alex has not reached, and that prospect is frightening. LVA triumphed over home team Delaware Valley A’s squad, who went 9-2 with losses only to Lehigh. Delaware Valley has shaped into a well rounded team over the summer, indicating some solid studying. Collin remains excellent as ever (46 ppg), though Frani has really emerged as a second high volume scoring threat (42 ppg), and Abhay and Andy have nicely developed into potent co-3rd chairs that add several powers a tournament. Delaware Valley reminds me a lot of last year’s state champion Winchester Thurston team, and they might have a special run in them.

Third place went to Ithaca A of New York, showing that last year’s T-8 team at nationals last year is still a threatening presence. Downingtown STEM split teams at the tournament to give younger players a chance to score more, and Vishwa, playing solo, hit a cool 126 points per game, which I believe is the best non-Schmidt number we’ve seen in Pennsylvania since at least three seasons ago. Vishwa remains a player of the year frontrunner. Troy (NY) took fifth, and the last playoff team was Penn Manor, who had a breakthrough performance and their first pyramidal invitational playoff berth. Connor broke through with a 61 ppg day. The finesse is yet to come (Penn Manor had few powers), but this is a program with strong potential do to some damage in the future.

In lower brackets, Downingtown STEM B finished 7th behind a strong performance from Anish. Lakeland returned to action, and in what’s supposed to be a rebuild year for them, performed very well, with Michael putting up a 20/65/14 line that powered Lakeland to a 7-3 record. Wallenpaupack, Moravian, and Berwick, Northeast PA regulars, also saw their first action of the season. While none looks to have title hopes, these teams still had many solid buzzes all around and continued to build strong quizbowl institutions. I want to make a special shout-out to Berwick B, a team of three freshmen and a sophomore, who put up a scrappy, awesome performance against LVA and managed five powers against a legendary player in a game I got the fortune to moderate. With good coaching and good studying, Berwick might have something really special in a few years.

Pound for pound, Tri-State Tussle gave a lot of teams the chance to play an excellent set and show what they knowed in style. Though one bad room of moderators delayed the morning rounds in one bracket almost an hour, kudos to TDs Paul Nelson and Kevin DeVizia, who fixed the issues so the afternoon went off without a hitch. The ride to the Water Gap is a long one, but one I’m sure these teams are glad they made.

Ben

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An enthusiastic Delaware Valley D.

Nittany Lion Novice III Wrap-Up (10/7/17)

Eleven teams were on hand this past saturday to kick of the Pennsylvania quizbowl season at Penn State University. The third annual Nittany Lion Novice, an event designed for underclassmen and new-to-quizbowl players, featured a crop of young quizbowlers from four schools ready for action.

Stats are here.

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State College A with their book prizes for winning first place at NLN.

The tournament used the DEFT set, which, although advertised as a regular minus set appropriate for a novice field, turned out to be yet another overly difficult housewrite that resulted in many low scores and pitchers duels which were no fault of the players themselves. The fact that so many overcame the difficult set to have big performances makes them all the more impressive.

State College A won the event, going 9-1 during the round robin and beating their own C team in an advantaged final. They looked strong all day, using enthusiasm as a weapon and willing their way to wins despite the occasional mistake. Chris K.’s literature knowledge proved especially useful on the day, as literature can be a hard skill to find in starter quizbowlers. Third place went to Manheim Township A, who lost a half packet tiebreaker of 8-2 teams for the right to join the final. Camp Hill and Huntingdon each sent a team, as well as Manheim Township’s middle school. State College, still flashing their signature depth, managed to field six teams (without any upperclassmen!). I was amazed by the parity of the field, as no team had an average margin of victory or loss greater than 175 points and many students really got to show their stuff. Andrew from Huntingdon was the tournament’s highest scorer for players that were there the whole day, with 63 points per game and a strong 13/50/13 line. Also worth mentioning was Manheim Township Middle’s AZ, who scored 49 points a game despite being one of the tournament’s youngest players.

I saw a lot of raw talent on the field Saturday, and I am excited to see many of these young quizbowlers continue to learn and score as their careers take off.

-Ben

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Manheim Township A during the morning phase of the round-robin.

Rutgers Scarlet Knight Fall (9/23/17), Maryland Fall, and Princeton PHSAT Wrap-Ups (9/30/2017)

On two Saturdays in September, 9/23 and 9/30, seven Pennsylvania schools ventured outside of the borders of our fair state to open their quizbowl seasons. With some impressive showings all around, this year stands poised to be an extremely exciting one in Pennsylvania!

At Rutgers’ Scarlet Knight Fall tournament on 9/23, three teams from Friends Select and two from Delaware Valley began their 2017-18 campaigns. DV A finished the highest of the lot, ending up in the superplayoffs for 3rd place and claiming 5th overall. Colin Kawan-Hemler continued to lead the way with 45.65 points per game, but his teammates all added solid contributions, particlarly Frani King’s 35.22 PPG. They also won a game by the slightest of margins, 335-330, over Friends Select A. FSS A also demonstrated a balanced attack on the day, with 51.36 PPG from Richard Chen, 34.55 from Jake Shapiro, and 29.09 from Rudyard Lynch. Both teams notched key wins against top teams from the New Jersey region, as DV defeated Kellenberg A and Saint Joseph’s A, while FSS downed Princeton A. Both squads justified their preseason rankings nicely, and they look set for strong seasons ahead.

Friends Select B and C and Delaware Valley B also had good days as well, each finishing 4-7. FSS B demonstrated some balance of their own, as each of their players averaged at least a tossup per game. Jonah Taranta put in some impressive work as top scorer with 35.91 PPG. On DV B, Emma Dove led the way with 46.82 PPG, with strong support from Chris Secular. It’s certainly exciting to see programs continue to develop strong players for the future! Full stats for the Scarlet Knight Fall tournament can be found at this link.

Downingtown STEM and Lehigh Valley Academy each went 7-4 and finished 4th and 5th, respectively, against a challenging field on a housewritten set at Maryland Fall at the University of Maryland. STEM’s Vishwa Shanmugam compiled an especially impressive statline, scoring 103.18 points per game on the day, with 59 powers to 33 10s. The team as a whole added a major feather to its cap with a 430-290 win over Maryland power Montgomery Blair A, and they also scored a 435-275 victory over preseason #1 Lehigh Valley Academy. Alex Schmidt played solo on the day and put up nothing less than the spectacular numbers we’ve come to expect from him, going 60/67/8 for 139.09 PPG. Aside from one ten point victory against Thomas Jefferson C, though, his matches had high variance, as he either won big (including getting all 20 tossups against TJ D) or lost by a decent margin. Nonetheless, both teams should be proud of their excellent work at a difficult tournament! Stats for the day can be found here. You can also see an extremely cool breakdown of points by category for teams and players here.

Three more Pennsylvania schools, Downingtown EastHenderson, and “Western Lehigh”, played at Princeton on NAQT IS-168. Downingtown East and Henderson A played in the “competitive” division, while Henderson B and Western Lehigh were in the “standard” division. D-East had a relatively tough go of it, going 2-4 in the morning rounds and 4-6 on the day, but well-deserved plaudits must be given to GPQB contributor Jackie Wu for leading the competitive division in the prelim rounds with 69.17 PPG. Henderson A had a strong day, going 4-2 in the preliminaries and earning a place in the second afternoon bracket. They were led by last year’s GPQB JV Player of the Year, Vijay Anne, with 58.33 PPG in their impressive morning performance, with good support from teammates Aravind and Aidan. Henderson is a team clearly on the up-and-up, making for further excitement in southeastern PA tournaments to come.

In the standard division, Western Lehigh rode a strong performance from Sahil Inaganti (you can find our recent interview with him here) all the way to a third place finish. In many ways, Sahil and his team remind me of myself and my former Emmaus squad. He is clearly a strong generalist already, with further room to grow especially on points per bonus, and if his teammates can hone in on a couple of key categories, they can be a team nobody will want to face. Finally, Henderson B also acquitted themselves well on the day, going 3-3 in the morning rounds and topping their afternoon bracket. Three of their players, Will, Dhanush, and Abheya, all averaged over 20 PPG on the day, showing off their strong potential. Stats for both divisions at Princeton can be found at this link.

A brief note about posting tournament stats: Full stats from Princeton were not released until this afternoon (10/7), thus explaining the timing of this post. Posting stats a full week after the tournament is, quite frankly, not acceptable. When hosting a tournament, you should have a person whose dedicated job is to get stats completed and posted by Sunday evening at the latest. Taking some time to familiarize yourself with SQBS (here is a link to a good guide) can pay great dividends in getting stats published and available for interested teams, parents, and readers!

– Ryan

Player Interview: Sahil Inaganti

This is the first in a new series of monthly interviews with different individuals in the Pennsylvania quizbowl community. Our goal is to represent a variety of quizbowl experiences around the state.

Sahil Inaganti (SI) is currently a junior at Parkland High School in Allentown. He began playing good quizbowl last year and led his team to win the Novice division of the 2017 Wissahickon Invitational.

This interview was conducted over the summer and has been edited for length and clarity.

JW: How did you first discover quizbowl?

SI: The Lehigh Valley has a TV show where high schools go head to head in academic competition, which I actually discovered in middle school. That was something that I knew I wanted to do, so when I got to high school, I joined our Scholastic Scrimmage club. Along with the TV show, our athletic conference also runs its own academic league. I was chosen as JV captain freshman year, and we did what you might refer to as “bad quizbowl.” We played a couple of those weird national competitions that Questions Unlimited puts out. My first experience with good quizbowl was this year, when we were invited to the Lehigh Valley Invitational. I was kind of blown away because I was used to playing all these bad questions where I could easily get them, which were just buzzer races most of the time. Then from there, I was forwarded an email to try out for NASAT—I was a bit confused on how they figured out that I would be eligible, so I looked up Lehigh Valley Invitational and found the NAQT stats, and then I started to understand more about how actual good quizbowl works. I signed up for a couple different tournaments, like Wissahickon. And in between, I started figuring out what Protobowl was, so in study hall I’d just play that.

JW: Are there any other major differences that you’ve noticed between Scholastic Scrimmage or your other local format and Saturday tournaments?

SI: I think the caliber of teams is definitely different. This year we made it all the way to our athletic conference finals and just blew all the other teams away, but going into the Lehigh Valley Invitational, I was not used to playing that new caliber of teams. I think we went like 2-3 [in the prelims], whereas, in our academic league in the Lehigh Valley, we’re used to blowing away teams with scores like 200 or 300, to like 60.

JW: Have you found that quizbowl has helped you in any way as a student?

SI: I’d say yes, because I guess I pay more attention in classes like AP US History. Even if it’s boring, when I know that I have the US History Bowl I’m going to, I think maybe I should start paying attention to this. It’s that motivation that the knowledge I’m getting in school can really transfer over to quizbowl, that really motivates me to pay more attention and work harder in school.

JW: Is there any advice you’d give to someone who’s new to playing pyramidal tournaments?

SI: Just don’t get overwhelmed. A lot of people, they get overwhelmed and think “I’ll never be as good as people I’m playing at the weekend tournaments,” but it’s not as hard as you think it is, to get good at quizbowl. Maybe a couple hours here and there, a couple minutes playing Protobowl on your free time, and you can jump 30, 40 points ahead.

JW: Lastly, do you have any goals for you and your team in the upcoming season?

SI: I definitely want to go to more weekend tournaments this year. It was just me and my brother going to Wissahickon and just getting one friend to go last year. We actually went to NAC this past year, instead of going to any of the real good competitions. But this year, some of my friends are also motivated to go with us, so definitely more weekend tournaments. We’re looking to host our own invitational sometime, so I’ve emailed NAQT about that. And, I guess, just get better and better, that’s it.

Thank you to Sahil for participating in this interview!

-Jackie