Philadelphia City Championship Wrap-Up (3/16/19)

This past Saturday, eighteen teams from ten schools competed in the fourth annual Philadelphia City Championship. The tournament was hosted by the Carver High School of Engineering and Science and used NAQT’s IS-184A question set.

Stats are available here.

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Friends Select A (@fssquizbowl)

Friends Select‘s A team claimed its fourth city championship title, going undefeated. The lineup of juniors Matt, Silas, Jonah, and Aidan averaged 524.50 points per game and 23.72 points per bonus, well above every other team in the field, and the relatively easier questions of the A set allowed for many quick first-line buzzes. With another talented player in Rudyard, who wasn’t at this tournament, it looks like FSS A is gearing up for competitive runs at the upcoming SSNCT and HSNCT.

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Germantown Friends (@Carver_Quizbowl)

Second place went to Germantown Friends, competing in their first Philly City Champs since discovering quizbowl last October and winning the novice division of the Philly Fall Tournament. Led by 66 PPG from Lucas, GFS handily defeated most of the teams finishing below them and gave FSS A a few scares, even tying with them at the half of their first game. Their finish qualifies them for both the HSNCT and the open division of the SSNCT, which we’d love to see them attend.

Friends Select B finished in third place following a 250-335 loss to GFS and a 260-440 loss to their A team. This team of Akhilesh, Peter, Jeremy, and Minas had balanced scoring and great neg control, with only 7 negs to 40 powers. Science Leadership Academy A took fourth, powered by Jack’s 69.44 PPG. They put up an impressive 5/5/1 statline to get a 320-260 win over Carver A, which was led by Sebastian’s 52.22 PPG and featured scoring support from Ellen, Mohamed, and Kim. Carver did a great job of conferring on bonuses and ended up with 17.85 PPB for the day. Bodine ended in sixth place and was carried by Alex, a junior who topped the individual stats with 88.35 PPG in the prelims.

In the second bracket, Benjamin Rush B outperformed its A team and won all four of its afternoon games with 28+ PPG from Michael, Dylan, and Elijah. The C team from Friends Select showed off the program’s depth, while Carver B, led by Aidan, nearly defeated Bodine in their first round. A new team from MaST played well (albeit a bit cautiously) with zero negs from lead scorers Vaughn and Matthew, and SLA B and Franklin Towne A each got a couple of solid wins.

Carver C finished at the top of the third bracket with a 46.88 PPG performance from Kamal. Carver D, a last-minute house team made of students who had never played quizbowl before, showed promise as the team got four wins behind Preston’s 43.53 PPG. Rush A, Furness, Franklin Towne B, and West Catholic rounded out the bracket and played a variety of close games.

Overall, although the Friends Select dynasty continued its impressive winning streak even with an entirely different A team lineup than last year, several other teams emerged as solid contenders. Many of the teams were led by strong underclassmen, suggesting an exciting future for the Philly circuit. Carver continued its reputation for excellent tournament hosting, and it was great to see the support from the School District of Philadelphia. We hope to see all the schools back again next year!

-Jackie

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Quizbowl Road Trips

Eric Huff was the long-time quizbowl coach of Dorman High School in South Carolina, during which time he planned and led more than two hundred quizbowl road trips, including one that may (or may not) have inadvertently crossed an international border.  He is now the director of Qwiz Quizbowl Camps (www.qwizbowl.com)

***

Is there anything better than a quizbowl roadtrip? Forgetting about school for a couple of days and hitting the road in search of fun, adventure, and that elusive “sick buzz”? Sure there’s a tournament you’re headed to, but let’s be honest, the real fun is in the journey.  Years later, students probably won’t remember the score of that final match, but they will definitely remember the fun they had laughing with at those stupid inside jokes that can only come from a weekend packed in a car for hours with your friends.

So what makes a quizbowl road trip great?  It takes a conscious effort to prioritize creating unique experiences and opportunities for team bonding.  If done right, the quizbowl road trip will make your team better by strengthening the relationships among teammates which in turn will provide social motivation for students to become more invested in the program.  But maybe that’s overthinking it. Ultimately, if you make a point to have fun, it’ll all work out, and you’ll have a great quizbowl road trip.

So let’s get to it.  As the late great Tom Petty said, “there’s something good waiting down this road”.  He probably wasn’t talking about tossups, but who knows?

TAKE DETOURS

Sure, time is limited and there are tossups to be powered, but do yourself a favor and make it a point to get off the Interstate every now and again.  Whether that’s taking the scenic route or taking a team photo at a cheesy roadside attraction, you’ll be glad that you did. Not only will the view be a little nicer, but you’ll have a chance to interact with locals in a way that you wouldn’t have otherwise.  It’s a well-established fact that people are more interesting the farther you get from the Interstate. And these are the interactions that you’ll be talking about long after you’re back home.

EAT LOCAL

A simple rule: if you can get it in your town, avoid it on the road.  You can eat Subway anytime; why stop there on a road trip? Traveling is about adventure and new experiences, and there’s no better way to way to do that then with your food choices.  So next time try the local sandwich shop. Every town has one, and it’s almost certainly better than Subway.

Can’t find a local sandwich shop?  Make your quizbowl road trip your opportunity to try regional chains that you might not have at home.  Eat at Zaxby’s or Waffle House in the south, or Culver’s in the midwest, or Whataburger in Texas, or Shake Shack in the northeast.

Or if you really want have an experience, eat something truly local.  Have a horseshoe if you find yourself in central Illinois.  Eat pimento cheese when you’re in the south.  Enjoy a juicy lucy in Minnesota.  Bite into a beef on weck or a plate of chicken riggies in western New York.

What’s great about quizbowlers is that they are bright, open-minded, and intellectually curious.  So when you’re on a quizbowl road trip, don’t be afraid to encourage your team to step outside their culinary comfort zone and try something different.    

PLAY MUSIC

Music is a key element of a successful road trip.  Now, I’m not going to tell you what to put in your road trip playlist.  Rather, I want to encourage you to use music as an opportunity to build team camaraderie.  

Too often, teams get in the car (or van, or bus), and everyone puts on headphones and disappears into their own world.  Instead, why not use music as an opportunity to bond as a team?

Here’s a suggestion: over the course of the trip, everyone gets to choose two songs to play.  The idea is to pick one song that others might not know but you’re really into and one song that EVERYBODY knows and can’t help but sing along to.  This gives everyone a chance to hear a song they really like, learn a little bit about their teammates, and spark a team karaoke session. Not bad! Who knows, maybe you can teach your team a thing or two about how music was back in the good ole days.

Quizbowl is a team game, and consistently good programs are adept at building team camaraderie.  By taking a solitary activity (listening to music) and transforming it into a communal activity, you are building a team bond that will contribute to the team’s success.

HAVE FUN

It’s easy to do nothing more on a quizbowl road trip than travel, compete, and go home.  Drives are long, tournaments are long, and weekends are short. The best quizbowl road trips, however, include some other activity that is in no way quizbowl related.  Whether its a trip to the zoo, a museum, mini golf, bowling, a scavenger hunt, game night, or a quick game of touch football at a highway rest stop, do SOMETHING. These experiences are vital in building that team chemistry that’s necessary for a winning culture.

***

I was a high school quizbowl coach for a number of years, and in that time we were blessed with a fair amount of success.  We worked really hard and won a lot of games. Some I remember vividly, but over time, the specifics of a lot of those games have faded.  Years later, it’s hard to remember which games we won and which games we lost – which questions we answered and which questions we didn’t.  

What sticks with me, though, are the experiences we had on those trips.  Whether you’re a coach or a player, it’ll probably be the same for you. So make the most of your quizbowl road trips.  Create memories for your team that will last a lifetime.

We thank Eric for taking his time to write this guest post!

-The Staff

Great Valley Quiz Bowl Tournament VI Wrap-Up (2/23/19)

This past weekend, the sixth iteration of the annual Great Valley Quiz Bowl Tournament took place in Malvern. The event used the 2018 Scottie set and featured a 20-team Open division and a 16-team Novice division. Both divisions were won by teams from the same school, a first in Pennsylvania quizbowl history.

Stats are here.

Open Division

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Hempfield A (top row) with their B team, the Novice champions (pic from @gvquiz)

Hempfield A claimed their first pyramidal tournament win after finishing second to out-of-state teams at their last two tournaments. While Will Y.’s 78.75 points per game landed him in second place in the individual prelim standings, this was by no means a one-man team, as Nishant, Ryan Z., and Carsten added plenty of scoring as well for a team total of 68 powers and 22.74 points per bonus over 11 rounds. Will concluded, “we’re very happy to have finally won a tournament after having come close several times. We’ve certainly improved a great deal over the past several months, especially through the notable addition of Nishant to the team. This season has been really enjoyable so far, and we hope to continue our momentum through the end of the year.”

Manheim Township A went undefeated until their 265-315 loss to Hempfield A in the final game, though from stats the two teams seem to have similar scoring structures and power/neg ratios. Will S.’s 77.50 PPG in the prelims was supported by Ryan K., Noah, and Cyril, who contributed around 20-30 PPG each and combined for an overall PPB of 21.67. Henderson A, playing without usual lead scorer Vijay, finished in third place. Their only losses came in the afternoon to the two teams above them, as Sid and Vikram emerged as high scorers with solid support from Adam and Dan. They played an impressively disciplined tournament with very few negs throughout the day. Fourth place Friends Select A pulled off a 415-305 win over Hempfield A and gave the eventual champions their only loss. The one-two punch of Matt (~60 PPG) and Rudyard (~41 PPG) led the team in scoring, while Silas and Jonah added several gets each round. Their PPB of 22.22 was also the second highest at this event, indicating substantial breadth and the possibility of another impressive run at this year’s nationals.

Fifth place went to Penn Manor A. Connor’s lofty scoring totals (128.75 PPG in the prelims) kept them competitive in games like their 305-295 victory against FSS A, but an aggressive playing style as a team resulted in many inopportune negs. With some more support on the buzzer from other team members, Penn Manor could have strong potential for the remainder of the season. Manheim Township’s B and C teams finished sixth and seventh, led by Zac and Nate respectively with relatively balanced scoring from the rest of the players as well. Both teams kept many of their playoff games competitive, with the B team playing a close 265-320 game against Penn Manor and the C team putting up a 4/5/1 statline against MT A to end only 10 points short of an upset. Delaware Valley A rounded out the top bracket, paced by Emma’s 47.50 PPG in the prelims.

Downingtown East A, led by Malaika and Nikhil, missed out on the championship bracket following a 230-285 prelim loss to DV A, but finished at the top of the second bracket after winning 4 of its 5 afternoon games by triple-digit margins. Their only playoff loss was to Wissahickon A, which featured strong performances from Peter and Jack. The rest of the bracket was composed of Manheim Township D, Henderson B, Moravian Academy A, and Science Leadership Academy A, all of whom played close games against each other.

In the third bracket, Friends Select B went 5-0 in the afternoon. Carver E&S A, led by Sebastian, had a solid 3/6/1 game in the prelims against DV A and kept many later games close as well, while Archbishop Ryan‘s Ryan led the team’s scoring in its first open division appearance. Sophomore David of Lakeland A put up over 50 points per game, and it was good to see all four players on PALCS getting points on the buzzer against challenging opponents.

Novice Division

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2nd place: Downingtown East B (pic from @gvquiz)

Hempfield B won the Novice title, paced by Michael’s 60 PPG, while second place went to Downingtown East B, whose lead scorer Vikaas put up 57.78 PPG. Oxford A took third in their highest finish since starting pyramidal quizbowl only last month, with Chris’ 51.11 PPG combining with solid buzzes from his teammates to go 7-2 on the day. Manheim Township E, Oxford B, and Carver B formed the rest of the 6-team top bracket.

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3rd place: Oxford A (pic from @gvquiz)

Archbishop Wood finished in the middle of the second bracket, though they played competitive games against the teams above them as 3 of the team’s 4 losses were by a margin of only 5 points. The rest of the lower brackets consisted of B and C teams from DV, GV, Wissahickon, Moravian, Carver, Lakeland, SLA, and FSS. Though the set was tough, the novice teams faced the challenge well and we hope to see these young teams back at future events.

Commentary

Many teams seemed to be having a good time playing the 2018 Scottie set, even though it was quite challenging for the novice division. However, feedback from players and staffers shows that the set had some difficulties. GVQBT staffer Alex Sankaran noted that “the set was plagued with repeats, sub-distributional quirks, and extremely difficult third bonus parts. There were also only two pronunciation guides for moderators in the first twelve rounds I read, and tossups sometimes went from one page to the next page.” These issues could have been fixed with a bit of additional editing, especially as the set has been mirrored several times since its first use last August.

Overall, Great Valley hosted yet another smooth event for the eastern PA circuit, and the tournament results indicate that the mix of competitive teams at the top has been improving rapidly. As national tournament fields begin to fill up, we hope all qualified teams register soon and take advantage of the rest of the season’s opportunities to prep!

-Jackie

Carnegie Quiz II Wrap-Up (2/16/19)

This past Saturday, 17 teams attended the second annual Carnegie Quiz tournament at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, played on NAQT’s IS-181 set. Though a few circuit regulars were playing shorthanded due to scheduling conflicts, the event provided a good opportunity for western Pennsylvania teams to face other local schools in addition to some strong out-of-state competitors.

Stats for the event can be found here.

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Teams and staffers gather after lunch for individual prizes and playoff schedules.

First place went to Michigan’s Detroit Catholic Central A, who went undefeated and cleared the field by two wins. The next three teams were DCC B, George Washington (WV), and Allderdice B, who finished the playoff rounds with the same record and ended in that order after a tiebreaker played on 9-minute halves. Allderdice B was led by senior Alana’s 52.50 points per game, though all four players demonstrated deep pockets of knowledge with impressive powers and a solid bonus conversion of 20.58 that helped them to an exciting 295-285 win over DCC B in round 10. Pittsburgh Central Catholic took fifth, led by Simon’s 57.50 PPG, while Morgantown (WV) rounded out the championship bracket. Central Catholic got a key 25-point prelim win over Allderdice A, which consisted of A-team regular Truman bravely soloing for most of the morning.

Austin and Jakobi of Allderdice A made it to the tournament in time to play the afternoon rounds, leading to several 300+ point wins over middle bracket teams, but a capable Winchester Thurston A bested them in a 330-300 game to top the middle bracket. WT A played in the morning with only CB and Andy, who both had some very early buzzes in math and history, and the addition of two more players in the afternoon got them to a solid 35 powers over 10 games, including an 8/8/2 match against Hampton A in round 9. Hampton A had balanced scoring from Tejas, Matt, Joe, and Kate, all of whom cleared 20 points per game, and their 260-225 win over Pittsburgh Central Catholic in round 5 suggests solid potential for this team. An energetic, all-freshmen Allderdice D, a two-person WT B, and a C team from Hampton made up the rest of the second bracket.

The third bracket consisted of Bishop Canevin, Allderdice C, Hampton B, and two teams from Kane. Bishop Canevin warmed up to the buzzer by the end of the tournament, with over 30 PPG from both Darius and Joel, while the Kane teams played several close games in the afternoon and seem to be steadily improving.

Overall, the use of timed 9-minute halves ended the tournament by 3:30 PM for most, and the various out-of-state teams provided a good challenge for PA schools. I had fun staffing this event, and I hope to see all our western PA teams back in action at next month’s Battle of the Burgh at Pitt!

-Jackie

Penn Manor Sean Moore Memorial Tournament Wrap-Up (2/9/19)

36 teams were on hand at Penn Manor High School in Millersville last weekend to try their hand at the CAST set and get in 9 or 10 rounds of action. Many of them were first time entrants to PA pyramidal quizbowl, and we commend Penn Manor for an exemplary effort in outreach for the event.

Stats can be found here.

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Wilmington Charter with their first place trophy.

In a repeat of last month’s Downingtown East tournament, Hempfield finished highest of the Pennsylvania schools, felled in the finals by an extraordinarily strong school from out of state, in this case Wilmington Charter. Both teams were undefeated heading into the final. The Delawareans put up an astounding 27 points per bonus and 96 powers across the event. They are clearly a top 20 team nationally, if not top 10. As for Hempfield, they continue to improve and have made a strong statement to shoot up to the top of PA schools come the next rankings cycle. Will Yaeger led the PA players in both points per game (72.5) and in powers (35), with Ryan Zhang and Nishant Balepur adding double digit powers of their own. Hempfield is clearly the most exciting team in the state right now and looks mighty.

Manheim Township A took 3rd place. Their only loss was to Charter as well (albeit in a 555-55 blowout), but they otherwise were consistently solid and won most of their games by over 300 points. State College A took 4th. A mix of normal A and B teamers for this event, they notched a number of good wins against tough competition. Great Valley A took 5th over Henderson A, and both teams were missing their best player for this tournament. GV scored an impressive 69 powers, quite a feat shorthanded, while Henderson executed fantastic neg control, with just 14 for the tournament. Friends Select finished in 7th, Great Valley B took 8th, Manheim Township B and C took 9th and 10th, and the playoffs were rounded out by 11th place finishers Lancaster Mennonite, and 12th place finishers State College B. This was Mennonite’s first playoff finish for the season, keeping their tradition of strong quizbowl going.

The finals in progress between Wilmington Charter (left) and Hempfield.

Just as big a story was the strong performances by the litany of first time schools, or schools that had not played in a while. Cumberland Valley had the best record of this bunch, finishing 6-3. A team we haven’t seen in a few years, they put up a 13/53/11 line, indicating plenty of potential in store. Warwick also made the middle consolation bracket, and they were a true first time school. Liam Blevins’ impressive 46 points per game led their way. Pine Grove also made a mid bracket finish at their first event of the season, representing the Schuylkill IU proud. GPQB also welcomes Solanco and Palmyra to the circuit, as well as Northeastern back after a years long absence. Many of these schools are local to the south-central PA area and we hope to see them at more Lancaster and area tournaments soon- or perhaps they can host their own!

Other teams that appeared at the tournament include PALCS, Cedar Crest, Waynesboro, Downingtown East, Eastern Lebanon County, Lancaster Catholic, Montgomery Area, and Oxford. Particular plaudits go to Oxford, who started last month at D-East and rapidly improved to a middle finish in a vast field. Delaware’s Concord also returned to Pennsylvania to play for the first time in a while, and they’re always nice to have around.

A quick logistic note- this tournament unusually used only 16 tossups in its non-finals playoff rounds. This was due to the fact the event was running slower than expected in the morning, and there was a time limit on the building’s use. While an unusual solution to try to end the tournament on time, and unfortunate in it costing teams about a packets’ worth of questions, the teams still had a lot of fun and Penn Manor did a good job overall for a first time host. With the lessons learned here, I’m sure future events there will be even stronger.

-Ben

Big Lake Brawl III Wrap-Up (2/2/19)

Wallenpaupack High School hosted its 3rd Big Lake Brawl on Saturday, attracting 19 teams from eastern Pennsylvania as well as out-of-state squads from as far as Ithaca, NY, Wilton, CT, and Sussex, NJ. The tournament was played on NAQT’s IS-182A.

Stats can be found here.

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Great Valley’s younger players took on the “A” designation and placed 2nd.

 

Ithaca A (11-0) cleared the top bracket, with a 385-255 win over Great Valley in the final round. Great Valley (9-2) came in second with a team consisting of usual C-team players, giving third place team Ithaca B two of its three losses in the first and 10th rounds, respectively. This performance will earn the team of Will Lewis, Prithvi Parthasarathy, Nolan Greenways, Rahul Narayanan and Chet Mittal a bid for nationals. Their program depth is incredible. Delaware Valley A finished in 4th, led by Emma with 52.5 PPG. Their only losses were to the two Ithaca teams and in a close match with Great Valley (300 – 220).

The other Pennsylvania playoff finishers were Moravian A (whose A team finished 5th) and Delaware Valley B (6th). Berwick, Emmaus, Lakeland, Riverside, Montgomery, and Wallenpaupack themselves all fielded teams that missed the top bracket. Although they did not end up making the championship bracket, Lakeland A fielded second overall top scorer David Campbell, with an impressive 103.5 PPG.

Overall, it seemed like a great event for the younger players Northeastern PA and surrounding schools to play on an easier set but still experience some tough competition.

Downingtown East Invitational III Wrap-Up (1/5/19)

The calendar year 2019 got off to a thrilling start in Downingtown, as 32 teams competed for an Experienced and Novice title. This was the third iteration of Downingtown East’s January tournament, and was played on an NAQT IS set.

Stats can be found here.

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Hempfield, with their 2nd place trophy.

Experienced Division

Unfortunately, our Pennsylvanian heroes were not able to overcome an impressive onslaught from Washington D.C.’s Georgetown Day School, who went undefeated on the day and quite impressed a number of the staff. This was, from what we understand, the first time they were at full strength this season, and they will be potent competition come nationals. The highest PA finisher was Hempfield, who notched the silver and their first appearance in a tournament final this year. Coming off a #7 ranking in the mid-season poll, they notched wins over the #3, #4, #6, #11, and #15 ranked teams, in what must be one of the highest number of ranked wins in one tournament any team has achieved since we started polling. Will Yaeger’s 56 ppg led the way as usual, but he was less than half the team’s total scoring as Nishant Balepur, Ryan Zhang, and Carsten Broadbeck all put in significant work and at least 7 powers each. Hempfield and their consistently high bonus conversion began the second half in full force.

Third went to Great Valley A, who defeated Penn Manor in the third place game 355-260. GV continued to show good balance across categories, and only lost to the teams that finished above them. This team is improving fast, and they have checked the neg numbers that hampered Great Valley teams in the past. Penn Manor was carried by Connor Mayers, who was again the top scorer among Pennsylvanians with a fantastic 82 points per game. Henderson took a tie for 5th. This was their first regular difficulty event of the year, and they played as a crammed six man squad. Vijay led the way with 17 powers and 51 points per game. Manheim Township‘s A and C team both made the playoffs as well, showing their continued depth and buzzer success. Also impressive was Unionville, who went 5-5 and tied for 9th as an all freshmen squad. Though a bit raw and prone to neg right now, their players seemed super enthusiastic and I would watch this team as an emerging threat. The last PA playoff entrant was Downingtown STEM, who, despite no playoff wins, flashed a lot of strong science and history knowledge.

Teams from Camp Hill, Lakeland, PALCS, Downingtown West, Wissahickon, and Wallenpaupack also participated in this bracket. Downingtown West was playing thier first event of the season, and came within 45 points of an upset of Hempfield. Led in scoring by Miriam Roeder’s 72 ppg, they looked right at home here. Camp Hill’s Sydney Preston was just behind at 69 ppg.

Novice Division

The novice division featured lower ranked teams from the above, and was won by Hempfield B. Manheim Township E’s Ellie Taliani was the lead scorer, with 54 ppb. We were also excited to welcome Oxford High to the pyramidal quizbowl family. Their team, at their first event, led the novice team in bonus conversion and seemed to adjust themselves well to the new format. We hope to see them and all the other schools here back soon for more pyramidal action, as each tournament offers intense new challenges.

-Ben

GPQB Mid-Season Poll, 2018

It’s that time of year again- as we flip calendars, we also flip from the first half of the qb season to the stretch run. Lineups have mostly been set, and top teams are gearing up for a run at the state title and, for a few lucky programs in America, the chance to maybe even claim a national title. As is always the case here, we have convened the voters panel and produced our own mid-season poll of teams in Pennsylvania. 17 moderators and alumni of the circuit cast a ballot this time. Here are the results:

1. Allderdice A, 169 points (=, 16 first place)
2. State College A, 150 points (=, 1 first place)
3. Great Valley A, 113 points (+5)
4. Henderson, 112 points (-1)
5. Penn Manor, 108 points (=)
6. Manheim Township A, 86 points (-2)
7. Hempfield, 75 points (+3)
8. Friends Select, 55 points (-2)
9. State College B, 34 points (=)
10. Downingtown STEM, 8 points (-3)

Also receiving votes were Great Valley B (7), Manheim Township B (5), Allderdice B (4), Delaware Valley (4), Manheim Township C (2), and Winchester Thurston (1).

We wish all these teams and the rest of the PA crew the best of luck with 2019 and the back half of their seasons!

-The Staff

The voters in this poll were: Sameer Apte, Ryan Bilger, Jack Edmondson, Ben Herman, Antonio Jimenez, Ashish Kumbhardare, Sebastien La Duca, Nick Luca, Andrew Nadig, Rebecca Rosenthal, Colton Sanden, Alex Sankaran, Vishwa Shanmugam, Steven Silverman, Adam Swift, Rohan Vora, and Jackie Wu

Manheim Township Academic Challenge Wrap-Up (12/15/18)

48 teams were on hand to celebrate the holiday season with some high octane quizbowl at Manheim Township this Saturday. This is always one of the biggest tournaments of the season, and also one of the most fun to play and staff. As always, MT did an exemplary job on logistics, with the event being wrapped up, including finals, before 3:30.

Stats can be found here.

Varsity

The tournament final, between Henderson (further from camera) and Great Valley.

Great Valley A won the varsity division by going undefeated on the day, punctuated with a 420-310 final win over second-place Henderson A. GV put in a balanced performance on the day, with multiple buzzes per game from all four players, and they managed to keep their neg totals to a minimum in their high-pressure games. Henderson’s only loss came in the final, and they were impressive in the prelim games I read for them. Vijay Anne continued to lead the scoring for this team, but Sid Chenrayan had a major breakout day as well. The question remaining for Henderson is how well they will scale up to higher difficulties, but this was a strong day for them.

Penn Manor A took third place in a thrilling 355-350 match over Kellenberg A (New York). Connor Mayers took home the top scoring accolades in prelims by a wide margin, with 127.14 points per game, as well as a 1:1 powers to gets ratio. Penn Manor’s only loss of the tournament was a 340-330 defeat to Great Valley A, showing that the top teams in eastern Pennsylvania remain neck and neck.

Rounding out the top bracket were Friends Select AGreat Valley BHempfield A, and Unionville. Friends Select has done a nice job of retooling after last year’s graduations, with Matt DAnnunzio really emerging as one of the breakout players of the season. Their PPB hovered near 24, a solid mark for this level. Like their A team, Great Valley B got good contributions from all four players, and they beat FSS A by a healthy 420-230 margin in the playoffs. GV certainly remains one of Pennsylvania’s deepest programs. Hempfield A led the field in PPB in the prelims, notching an impressive 25.23 mark. Will Yaeger remains in the conversation as one of the best players in the state, and Ryan Zhang and Carsten Brodbeck turned in good performances as well. Their back-and-forth with local rivals Penn Manor played out once again, with PM emerging victorious by a 405-255 scoreline. Lastly, Unionville returned to the circuit and went 6-1 in prelims to make it into the playoff rounds. This is a team that could be capable of some strong finishes if they choose to play more pyramidal tournaments!

The first two consolation brackets included Great Valley C, Henderson B, and A teams from Greater Nanticoke, Moravian Academy, Huntingdon, State College, and Bermudian Springs. I read two games for Greater Nanticoke, and their three players worked quite well together as a unit. None of the other squads crossed my path, but they all picked up some good wins on the day, such as a thrilling 255-250 victory for Huntingdon over Tome School (MD), and it was great to see them all playing and playing well!

Other schools in attendance included LakelandLancaster MennoniteCedar CrestLampeter-StrasburgPALCSCarver E&SEmmausBerwickLancaster Catholic, and Downingtown East. Though Lancaster Mennonite came out on the losing end of the two contests I read for them, I was impressed with their steady play, led by Jacob Cairns (3rd individual scorer in prelims). David Campbell also did well for Lakeland as they retool for the future. Every one of these schools earned multiple victories on the day, as well as valuable experience in a highly competitive setting. As we can attest, every tournament is a great learning event to continue building for future matches, and these teams all have something good to build upon!

Junior Varsity

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Waynesboro (Left) vs. Carver HSES C (Right)

In the JV division, Henderson C pulled the rare feat of a tournament sweep without need for a final, finishing 9-0 and winning by two. Vivek lead the way in scoring with almost 75 points per game, and was also the lead scorer on power buzzes. This is a team of all freshmen, so Henderson will have lots in the tank for the future. Hempfield’s B team took second place, with a a tournament leading 19 powers as a group. In this way, they somewhat reflected their A team’s tendency for lots of powers. Cedar Crest B took 3rd, displaying excellent discipline with only five negs. 4th went to Waynesboro, a team which debuted at this event last year and returned in strong form. They had lots of impressive buzzes for this level, particularly on literature.

The rest of the JV division was rounded out by B and C teams from Carver HSES, Emmaus, Bermudian Springs, Penn Manor, Berwick, Moravian, and Friends Select. Manheim Township Middle School also joined the action, as did Linden Hall, a circuit debutante.

Both divisions featured some excellent play, and this event was as fun to read as it was to play. We wish all these teams the best of luck in the spring as they gear up for the second half of the season!

– Ben and Ryan