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Big Lake Brawl II Wrap-Up (2/3/18)

This past Saturday, 24 teams from 10 schools gathered at Wallenpaupack Area High School to face off on IS-173A. An exciting day saw GPQB’s #8 team in the midseason poll emerge victorious, while teams throughout the brackets put in solid performances.

Stats are here.

The tournament was won by Delaware Valley A, who came out on top through the strength of another well-rounded team performance. Three players, Colin Kawan-Hemler, Frani King, and Abhay Byadgi, all finished above 40 points per game for Pennsylvania’s top contenders from the northeast. They were never seriously threatened after a close morning loss, 310-300, to Wallenpaupack A, who showed evidence of their improvement through the course of the year by making the championship bracket and finishing 6-3 on the day. Great Valley A, made up of players more often seen on the school’s B team, showed off their program’s depth by going 8-1, with their only loss coming in the finals to DV A. Anshu Nunemunthala and John Li each finished with around 43 PPG, and their teammates Rishi Raman and Dan Milani also added strong contributions.

Also in the top bracket was Ithaca A, who took third place, and Lakeland, who finished fourth. Michael Goerlitz was quite impressive on the day for Lakeland, claiming top scorer honors far and away with 125.56 PPG. This is a team that seems poised for a nice run in the traditional public school division at SSNCT, coming up in April. B teams from Delaware Valley, Great Valley, and Ithaca rounded out the championship brackets, providing further examples of the depth important to sustaining top programs.

The consolation brackets included several more teams from the schools previously mentioned. Some strong efforts of note include Tom Lane’s 47.06 PPG for Wallenpaupack C, Tyler Yang tallying 46.11 PPG for Great Valley C, and Anthony Ioppolo scoring 45.00 PPG for Wallenpaupack C. Moravian A also had a nice outing, finishing 6-3 in the second tier of brackets behind 41.67 PPG from lead scorer Alex Adams, while Berwick (who are hosting a tournament on April 14) notched some wins as well. It was also nice to see new schools Riverside and Montgomery joining in on the fun, and we hope to see them again at future tournaments! Overall, kudos to Coach Neenan and Wallenpaupack for running an excellent event and continuing to aid in the development of quizbowl in northeastern Pennsylvania!

-Ryan

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Allderdice Invitational IV Wrap-Up

On January 27th, several teams from Western PA and West Virginia gathered for the only non-college hosted event in Western Pennsylvania on the schedule so far. The day produced some highly entertaining results.

Full Stats are here.

The tournament ended in an event Pennsylvania quizbowl has not seen: a four way tie. House team Allderdice A, State College A, Winchester Thurston A, and George Washington, a team from West Virginia, shared the honors. Normally this would have been played off with a semifinal/final structure, but the tournament had to be out of the building so the tie stood unbroken. All these schools performed very well on the day to show fantastic parity in Western PA, as seems to perennially be the case. Thurston negged just six times on the day, an impressively efficient rate. State College finished with 21.95 ppb, the highest of the bunch, while Allderdice, a bit undermanned as a few players moderated, did the home school proud. I was also highly impressed by GW, who put up 55 powers, most in the tournament.

Behind them, Shady Side A and Camp Hill tied for 5th. Shady Side’s Will Davis led the event in points per game with an impressive 104 prelim average, about 50% more than any other individual. Camp Hill looked their sharpest yet this year, and could look for some strong finishes down the stretch. State College and Allderdice’s B teams rounded out the playoffs. Indiana tied Winchester Thurston B at the top of the middle bracket. Allderdice Invitational also featured a first time pyramidal entrant in Burrell, plus the return of Eden Christian Academy and Penn Hills from last year. Keystone Oaks also rounded out the troop. All were welcome as the tournament produced a number of fierce games.

Allderdice should be commended for putting together an efficient event, which Pennsylvania always needs more of. The use of timed rounds caused many games to be very short on account of fairly inexperienced staff however, so fewer house teams may be a consideration for future events. Overall, this was a solid tournament and helped set up the key late game for the Western PA teams, which will kick off with Carnegie Quiz next month.

-Ben

GPQB Mid-Season Poll, 2017-18

Friends,

The first half of an eventful quizbowl season has brought upsets, intense runs, and several surprises. Our panel had as difficult a decision as ever, with more and more good teams every year. Without further ado, here is GPQB’s midseason poll. There were 14 voters for this poll, which is a record. GPQB polls are conducted AP style.

#1) Lehigh Valley Academy, 138 Points (=, 12 first place votes)
#2) Downingtown STEM, 125 Points (+1, 2 first place votes)
#3) Alagar Homeschool, 104 Points (+1)
#4) Friends Select, 93 Points (+1)
#5) Great Valley, 84 Points (-3)
#6) Manheim Township, 69 Points (+3)
#7) Allderdice, 47 Points (+3)
#8) Delaware Valley, 42 Points (-2)
#9) Henderson, 40 Points (-1)
#10) Downingtown East, 13 Points (-3)

Also receiving votes were: State College (6), Winchester Thurston (5), Penn Manor (3), and Hempfield (1)

The poll panelists were: Mitch Alday, Ryan Bilger, Paul Birch, Chris Chiego, Emily Dickson, Alex Dzurick, Ben Herman, Ashish Kumbhardare, Sebastien La Duca, Andrew Nadig, Rebecca Rosenthal, Colton Sanden, Alex Sankaran, Steven Silverman.

SAGACITY XIII Wrap-Up (11/18/17)

Editor’s Note: We thank UPitt’s Emily Dickson for doing a guest wrap-up for this tournament.

The thirteenth iteration of Sagacity was hosted this past Saturday by the University of Pittsburgh.

Full stats here

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Allderdice and Alagar Homeschool

Alagar Homeschool continued their strong start to the season, sweeping the field with an 11-0 record. Dominated by Jaya and Rajan, who went first and third individually, Alagar remains at the top of the Pittsburgh circuit. Winchester Thurston A took second place with Tim, Elliot, Kevin, and Johnny maintaining their relatively even statlines. WT-A is truly a four man effort, a rare occurrence in both the Pittsburgh area and high school quizbowl as a whole. Allderdice A came in third after taking two losses in the afternoon. Returning to pyramidal quizbowl after an apparent two year absence, Pine-Richland A made an impressive return with a high PPB and good performance by Ben, resulting in a fourth place finish. Fourth place was also shared by Winchester Thurston B and Hatboro-Horsham, the latter of whom made a trek out from Southeastern PA.

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Kane A and Northwest PA Collegiate B

Shady Side A led their bracket in the afternoon after a win against Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Westmont Hilltop’s Ethan led his team to a close morning win over Hampton A. Northwest PA Collegiate Academy brought two enthusiastic teams who finished tenth and twelfth, respectively. Chartiers Valley also returned after last month’s Mellon Bowl, hopefully signaling continued participation in area tournaments.  Allderdice B-D, Dubois, Pine-Richland B, South Side, and Shady Side B, all were competitive in their brackets and gave many players the opportunity to perform on A level questions. Pittsburgh circuit regulars Kane A and B came out from North Central PA and had some close wins throughout the day.  John Marshall (WV)’s Colerain finished eleventh in individual scoring, showing a great deal of potential within their team.

Overall, the tournament ran smoothly and players seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I am excited to see what the remainder of the season brings for our Pittsburgh area teams.

-Emily

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

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

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.

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