While a small consolation for the COVID-related loss of the 2020 nationals season, Pennsylvania’s quizbowlers were not ready to quit quite yet. They gathered for one final event online, PACT, which was a mirror of the BHSAT set. All proceeds were donated to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Kiski Area’s Eddie Fuhrer, a GPQB all-state honorable mention this year, stepped up to direct. For a first time TD, he did an incredible job.
This was a tossups-only event, in which 13 teams played a round robin. State College A cleared the field with a 12-0 record. This was a great team effort for Albert, Jupiter, Allen, and Ananya, as they all scored 25 points per game or higher and won every game by 40 points or more. Second place went to Great Valley Blue, and third to Trinity. Manheim Township‘s AZ Faiz, GPQB’s JV player of the year, led the event with 86 points per game. We also wanted to commend co-2nd place scorers Anish Kodali from GV Blue and Chris Goodrich from Oxford with 80.
As it looks like much of the 2020-21 season will be online as well, this was an interesting trial run. Hopefully, PA quizbowl can thrive and then return to face to face competition soon.
18 teams from 7 schools contested the annual Philadelphia City Championship, open only to teams from the city of Philadelphia itself. It was a fun-filled day that breezed by quickly. Major props go to hosts Carver HSES and Coach Hogan for running an exemplary tournament.
Friends Select A dominated the contest once again, cruising to a fifth consecutive city title and only being threatened once, in an 85 point win over Germantown Friends. After a relatively quiet fall from a perennial top-10 team in PA earlier this season, they seem to be getting better and better and will look to do damage during nationals season. Matt’s 67 points per game was third at the event among players that played the whole tournament, and Akilesh has become a deep threat himself, notching 51 PPG. Germantown Friends, Carver A, and Friends Select C finished in a three-way tie for second, thus all qualifying for HSNCT. Germantown Friends had players rotate on and off site over the day, but when at full strength were impressive. For a second-year team, their power rate is extraordinary, and they have multiple deep-threat buzzers. Friends Select C impressed with consistency and strong bonus conversion. I read for them several times, and I was impressed overall with their teamwork and poise during matches. While I didn’t see Carver A myself, other mods felt this was the best they’ve ever seen the school. They are still a young team and could challenge Friends Select’s streak as soon as next season. Carver’s Sebastian notched 72 points per game, which tied him with Bodine A’s Alex for tops at the tournament. Bodine A and FSS B rounded out the playoff teams.
Elsewhere, Carver B and C finished tops among the consolation teams. Franklin Towne Charter, MaST, and Rush high schools also competed, and every single team won at least one game. While the consolation games might have been lower-scoring, they were just as intense among this group, with each buzz counting for more. I saw a number of these teams having a ton of fun, learning, and joking about both good and bad buzzes, which is always the best part of quizbowl. I look forward to seeing these players continue to buzz-in in Philadelphia and wherever their academic careers lead them in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Six teams from five schools within the Allegheny Intermediate Unit competed this morning in the first-ever AIU Academic Competition, which used NAQT’s IS-187A set. Several of the teams were playing on pyramidal questions for the first time and did impressively well against other the other teams who had a bit more experience.
Pine-Richland finished in first place with a solid 19.38 points-per-bonus (PPB), averaging over 3 powers a round. Sam and Miles both exceeded 50 points-per-game (PPG) as individuals while Michael, Daniel, and Justin each added several buzzes en route to their undefeated 5-0 record.
The team from South Fayette finished in second with 19.61 PPB, the highest in the field. After taking their only loss to Pine-Richland in the first round, they settled into a 4-game winning streak led by the 60 PPG of lead scorer Jack.
Third place went to Gateway. This six-person team was the third in the field to clear 19 PPB and did so with a relatively balanced scoring effort.
Chartiers Valley was powered by Shanti’s 62 PPG, making her the top scorer in the field. Two of their three losses had margins of under 100 points, indicating that they played some close and competitive games. Rounding out the field, Moon sent two three-person teams to their first pyramidal event in several years. Sam from Moon A put up 51 PPG to lead his team through the morning, while Moon B scored in the triple digits every game, coming within 35 points of a win against eventual runner-up South Fayette in round 5.
Overall, it was great to see some new faces competing in a small but fun event! We hope to see all of these teams at future tournaments like Pitt’s Battle of the Burgh and other competitions next year.
18 teams were on hand for Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School’s first-ever tournament, which occurred last Saturday. IS-190 was used as the set. Kudos go out to Coach Sommar and the folks at PALCS for running a smooth ship that was a bunch of fun to play as well as staff.
Great Valley high school dominated the day, with their A and B teams taking first and second place respectively. The A team ran the table undefeated, smashing 84 powers and only being seriously threatened by the B team. This team is rounding into form, and for the first time they looked like they had the “put-them-away” dominance a team needs to win states. They will go very far. The B team is right behind them, finishing with essentially the same points per bonus and 62 powers of their own. Their only loss was to their A team and they made a spirited comeback from down big to beat Friends Select by 15 to finish 2nd. Intriguingly, both teams had exactly 29 negs as well. This performance only further confirms GV is the deepest program in Pennsylvania right now.
Friends Select A seized 3rd place. This is also the best they’ve looked all year. Their A team core has improved, including Matt finishing 2nd in scoring for the tournament. Beyond that, a huge difference maker was Akilesh, who had several fantastic powers. While their season started slow, this lineup might be the one to take Friends Select back into the top five statewide, as they looked good all over the distribution. Trinity finished 4th, and continue to look sharp. They came closer to beating GV B than at Henderson in November, are notching more powers, and are doing better on bonuses. Oxford A took 5th. This is a team that seems stronger on housewrites than NAQT questions, but still has a lot of upside. They split with Trinity 1-1 on the day, and Chris led the tournament in scoring with 93.5 points per game. Maryland’s Quince Orchard high school finished sixth.
In the consolation brackets, Great Valley again dominated, with their C and D teams taking 7th and 8th. Downingtown STEM, which some feared would fade after the 2018-19 team graduated away, finished 9th behind a strong buzzer performance from Sashwat, who scored over 50 points per game. Carver HSES and Friends Select B made the middle bracket, and played a close game that went 260-210 in Carver’s favor. These two teams are likely going to be competing for the 3rd HSNCT qualifying spot at Philly City Champs in March, and that’s going to be an exciting game. Henderson “A” also made middle bracket, but this was more like their C team, so this was good experience as they continue to improve and get ready to take over after Vijay and Vikram graduate. The low bracket was filled out with additional B/C/D teams and two teams from C. Milton Wright high school in Maryland.
I read for several fantastic games this tournament, including close bouts between Carver A and FSS B, Trinity and GV B, and FSS A and GV B. The spirit and competitiveness of these students continues to impress. Next weekend holds two more tournaments: Allderdice Invitational in Pittsburgh and Big Lake Brawl at Wallenpaupack.
52 teams came to Great Valley High School in Malvern this past Saturday for the biggest tournament in the state this season. The Open division saw 24 teams compete on the challenging and variable Glasgow Scottie set, while 28 Novice division teams played the PSACA III novice set. Stats for both divisions can be found here.
Another PA tournament brings another new champion this year, with Manheim Township A taking home first place. The midseason poll #1 squad won almost all of their games comfortably, including a 460-225 victory over a strong duo from Clark HS (Nevada), who took second place on the day. I read their last game in which they needed to win to clinch the tournament and avoid a 1-game final, and I was impressed by the way in which they took the time to huddle up down by 15 at the half and just turned it on for the rest of the match. AZ’s emergence continues, as he outscored Will by over 10 PPG, while Cyril and Sanya contributed strongly as well as the main 3rd and 4th chairs. MT led the field in powers by far and, as we have said, really looked the part of a far and away #1 team in the state. Congratulations to Manheim Township on getting over the proverbial hump and claiming their first tournament win of the year!
Penn Manor added to their trophy cabinet with a 3rd place finish. This was my first time seeing Connor play this year, and I observed some good work from him even as the team fell narrowly to Clark on the final tossup. PM also had the highest PPB of any team in the playoff rounds, speaking to their depth as well. Their success this spring will depend on Connor’s ability to take over games, and this tournament showed his capability on that front.
While the stats link presents them in a different order, since tied records were broken based on head-to-head, fourth place went to Oxford A in one of the top stories of the day. Oxford recorded arguably the biggest upset of the GPQB era by demolishing Henderson A 405-205 in a game in which they took the lead early and never let up. They also defeated Hempfield by a 285-265 score on the final tossup. Chris Goodrich really broke out as a top-quality player here, with 72.14 PPG against the other playoff teams, and I observed all four players contributing on bonuses and getting buzzes of their own as well. Considering this tournament roughly marked a year since they began attending Saturday pyramidal competitions, their rapid improvement is nothing short of incredible, and Oxford represents a true model for how a new-to-quizbowl school can approach the game and work together to get better and better. Their performance here certainly puts them in the conversation for future state polls.
Based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, Hempfield finished 5th, followed by Henderson A in 6th. Though they narrowly lost their game for which I read, Hempfield seems like a squad with a strong “game sense,” knowing how to work well together as a team. Carsten and Sebastian led the way in scoring, but Colby and Michael also played nicely in the playoffs too. The unnamed “Henderson housewrite curse” struck again for them on this day, as they never really seemed to get up to full speed without the benefit of their NAQT category strengths. Vijay and Vikram were their top scoring players again, and they did notch a nice win over Penn Manor, but overall this was not their strongest outing. FSS A took 7th place behind balanced scoring from Matt, Jonah, and Silas, with victories over Oxford and 8th-place Henderson B, who struggled in the playoffs but showed me some good knowledge in the prelims too.
In the top consolation bracket, Moravian A went undefeated, with a 295-260 win over Manheim Township C their only close playoff match. Moravian remains a solid team hovering around the 11-15 range in the state at the moment, but a couple of strong spring tournament finishes could vault them up higher. Manheim Township B went 3-2 in the playoffs on incredibly balanced scoring, with their four players scoring 24, 24, 23, and 22 PPG in those rounds. Carver A had one of their strongest finishes by ending the day strong with two victories, paced by Sebastian Kennedy’s 51 PPG. West Chester Rustin finished at the bottom of this bracket, but I have been quite impressed by some of their real knowledge buzzes and bonus pulls whenever I have read for them.
The next bracket saw Western Lehigh, Cedar Crest A, and Wallenpaupack all finish at 4-1, with a circle of victories and losses against each other. Each of these teams had good contributions from all their players, and Western Lehigh had the strongest PPB by a decent margin of the three. Moravian B and Lancaster Mennonite rounded out the bracket, the latter led by Toby Palmer’s 50 playoff PPG.
The final bracket was swept by PALCS A, behind 49 playoff PPG from Max Lind. Archbishop Ryan came next, followed by FSS B, Renaissance, and a GV house team. These teams did a nice job on a challenging question set and gained some valuable experience for the future.
The novice division was won by State College A (typically the school’s C team at full strength), with an exciting 335-220 victory in the final over a Cedar Crest B team of emerging freshmen. SC demonstrated once again the great depth of their program, while Cedar Crest’s Danny Peelen led the division in scoring with 83 PPG. State College B (their typical D team) claimed 3rd place with a victory over Council Rock North, who turned in an extremely strong performance in their first Saturday pyramidal tournament ever, including a 360-230 victory over the tournament champions. Again, it’s great to see new teams doing well with an accessible question set that gives them good opportunities to do so!
An interesting mixture of teams filled out the remainder of the championship brackets. A Great Valley house team got major contributions from the GV middle school players, indicating that the pipeline remains strong there. Pine Grove A out of Schuylkill County finished 6-4 with balanced scoring and some impressive lit knowledge from lead scorer Jade Shollenberger, while Oxford B also finished 6-4 behind 60 PPG from CJ Evans-Ralston. Downingtown STEM did quite well to make the playoffs in their pyramidal return, and Carver C showed off the depth of their program by finishing 5-5. Both teams from ELCO also finished in the championship brackets as well, and Delaware’s Archmere Academy rounded out these teams.
The first consolation bracket was topped by Carver B, who finished 7-2. Just behind them were Wissahickon B, who finished with the best PPB of any team in the division at 19.89 in an impressive display of knowledge. Archbishop Wood did nicely in their return to the circuit for the season, while Penncrest out of Media, PA notched some wins in their first pyramidal tournament ever. Teams from PALCS, Renaissance, and Henderson rounded out the bracket.
Wissahickon A tied with Conrad Weiser B at the top of the final bracket. Nice job by both teams, especially Conrad Weiser in their first tournament in a couple of years. Also of note in this bracket was Upper Moreland out of Montgomery County snagging four wins in their pyramidal debut, with Jack Geld scoring a strong 59.5 PPG.
Overall, despite some (not unjustified) gripes about the set in the Open division, it was a fun day with some excellent competition and a great way to kick off 2020 in PA quizbowl!
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.