In this podcast, Ben and Jackie are joined by Penn State’s Ashish Kumbhardare to discuss the midseason poll. Who impressed? Which of the 16 ranked teams has the best chance to keep improving?
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 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
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.
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 A, Great Valley B, Hempfield 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 Lakeland, Lancaster Mennonite, Cedar Crest, Lampeter-Strasburg, PALCS, Carver E&S, Emmaus, Berwick, Lancaster 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!
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
This past Saturday, a mix of teams from Pennsylvania and the entire eastern seaboard met for the University of Pennsylvania’s Quaker Fall Open. The upper division played a tough college level tournament as training for a run at nationals, while the lower division played the regular difficulty WHAQ set.
EFT was a tough question set since it is, after all, a college tournament and not even a novice college tournament either. While most teams were able to eke out 10 points on most bonuses and most tossups got answered, there was quite a bit of variation in when the buzzes were occurring and powers were particularly scarce (and all the more impressive when they happened).
The division was overall won by “Monticello” from Virginia which came in ranked as the #1 team in the country. They generally backed up their crown, but did have a major hiccup against Dorman (ranked #33 in the country) from South Carolina as well as a small scare against “Rope Meadows” and a bigger scare against Wilmington Charter from Delaware. Ithaca from New York finished as the runner-ups after edging Charter 290-285 in an extremely close match but not finding any answers against Monticello. Charter had a very solid tournament though and even if they end up playing as a duo will be a tough out in any national tournament.
Manheim Township paced the PA teams with a steady, quietly solid performance that saw them win 3 games with a margin of 20 points or less. A particularly gritty comeback against Dorman also saw Township, led by Will’s 39 PPG, come up big when needed. There did seem to be some fatigue setting in later in the day for them, but overall they played well against some of the toughest opponents they’ll face until nationals.
Great Valley, missing a key player or two from their normal A-team lineup, showed good buzzer skills to make up for some holes in their coverage on bonuses (the current PPB may be slightly too low; corrections are coming). This is a young team with a talented lead scorer in Rishi (35 PPG) that has a lot of room to grow. Tenafly from NJ made their PA quizbowl debut with a solid performance. Penn Manor suffered three close losses of 15 points or less though Connor (67 PPG) had in general a strong performance. “Rope Meadows” had a bit more of a frustrating day with an impressive 10 powers offset by 36 negs, though 8 of those did take place in their first match against Monticello. BCA A also came down from NJ for the competition and Downingtown East A, after losing almost their entire A-team from last year, rounded out the bracket.
The WHAQ question set seemed once again slightly more unforgiving than most high school sets on the bonuses, but may have overall been a touch easier than last year’s challenging edition. The top three slots were all taken up by Manheim Township B-D using a strategy of fielding more balanced teams overall that led to some unusual outcomes like MT C having a much higher PPB than MT B and MT D beating MT B. Great Valley B, much of last year’s middle school team, sported the highest PPB of all the Open teams but got beaten to the buzzes a bit more often despite Anish’s 93.75 PPG and finished alone in 4th.
Germantown Friends, a welcome new addition to the circuit this year, started what might be a long-running friendly rivalry with Carver HSES A on a great note with a GFS overtime victory in the prelims and Carver getting revenge in the playoffs by 10 points. Science Leadership Academy also finished with the rest of the Philly crowd at 2-3 behind a 93.75 PPG performance from Jack. Wissahickon A, the only Montgomery County academic team in attendance, rounded out the upper playoffs.
The rest of the field saw longtime circuit regulars Bodine and Franklin Towne Charter as well as B and C teams from Downingtown, Wissahickon, and Carver plus several other B teams. Overall, it was a spirited performance on a pretty tough set (no team finished with more than 19 PPB) that gave teams lots of competitive matches.
Pittsburgh area quizbowl continued one of its long running traditional tournaments just before Thanksgiving with the University of Pittsburgh’s SAGACITY, entering its 14th season as an invitational. This was the largest ever edition, with 32 total teams. Due to the mid-event cancellation of Mellon Bowl as the result of and in respect for the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, this was the first full tournament many Western PA teams got to play this season.
The tournament’s final matched the top ranked teams in the state. One team from State College High School took first place in an exciting 375-325 win over Allderdice A. State College seems to have no set lineups or teams as such, so it’s not really worth talking about them as an “A” and a “B” team at this point, with so much change. The stronger team will be the one that has their phenom sophomore, Albert, at the helm. His extremely impressive 73 points per game was good for second overall, and his 26 powers is stellar for a student his age. He is certainly a front runner for our all-state teams this year. Despite the upset win, Allderdice showed why they were ranked #1 in the preseason by statistically standing out as the class of this field. Their 78 power buzzes were almost twice that of State College, and they held opponents to a somewhat incredible 32 points per game against them in the morning, including a 690-0 grail against John Marshall B from West Virginia (for more on what a grail is, please see our Henderson wrap-up from earlier this month). They are truly outstanding, with all members of the team contributing serious points.
State College’s other team finished 3rd, winning a game against Northmont from Ohio to take that spot. 5th place was a tie between Allderdice B and Pittsburgh Central Catholic. Alana led Allderdice B’s scoring, and her 85 points per game ended up being the highest among players at this tournament. Central Catholic has been a good team for a while, but had never really broken through to become a contender at events. That changed at SAGACITY, where they shot up to an 8-2 record with 30 powers. Simon Sweeney’s 72 points per game was the 3rd highest score of the tournament. Also making the playoffs were Central Catholic B and Penn Hills. The later is a fairly new team around the circuit, but had a number of impressive buzzes and seemed to be having a blast as they player their rounds. They have plenty of potential to keep rising further.
Penn Hills A, during the preliminary phase of the tournament.
Among other schools in attendance were perential Western PA powerhouse Winchester Thurston, who finished 9th after some of their players had to miss a few rounds due to another commitment. The 2017 State Champions still look to be strong, and could do well at nationals yet again. A litany of local schools such as Pine-Richland, Bishop Canevin, Hampton, Chartiers Valley, and Southside represented the Pittsburgh metro well. Northwest PA was represented by Kane, DuBois, and Saegertown, the later school having returned to the circuit after a year’s absence. We also wanted to make sure to shout out to some of our newest teams. Sharpesville played one event in Ohio last year, but this was their first in-state quizbowl experience. They improved on a winless showing at their first event by quite a bit, qualifying for small school nationals. Butler County’s North Catholic, who was at the unfinished Mellon Bowl, got to play their first full event. Apollo-Ridge was a true first time team, and we welcome them to quizbowl Saturdays.
Overall, this tournament ran extremely efficiently, and teams packed a lot of quizbowl into their day. This will be remembered well among the long list of SAGACITies past and future.
16 teams from 9 schools came to Swarthmore College on November 10 for Swarthmore’s second annual novice tournament. Full stats for the day can be found here.
Manheim Township A with their first-place trophy. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rosenthal.
Two teams from Manheim Township finished atop the standings, with the A team going 9-0 and the B team finishing at 8-1. These performances demonstrated that Manheim Township’s strong program is continuing to produce talented young players all capable of contributing multiple solid buzzes in any game. Ellie Taliani and Baybars Charkas led the way for the A team with 59.44 and 51.11 PPG respectively, while Scotty Reynolds notched 73.89 points on the B team.
Manheim Township B with their second-place trophy. Photo courtesy Rebecca Rosenthal.
Carver A and Sanford School A rounded out the top bracket. It was nice to see Carver’s hard work over the years pay off with a trophy position. Sanford, out of Delaware, made their pyramidal debut in fine style, with the A team breaking 20 PPB. With new coach Abbi Smith (formerly of Friends Select and 2018 GPQB Coach of the Year), these students may be able to climb even higher with more experience under their belts.
Carver A with their third place trophy. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Rosenthal.
Great Valley A and Archbishop Wood A finished 5th and 6th, followed by Carver B and Sanford B. Like Manheim Township, Great Valley continues to get good production from its young players, with all four team members over 15 PPG. Archbishop Wood did well for their first tournament of the year also, once again with all players contributing solid points.
Young players from Friends Select and Science Leadership Academy gained good experience and notched some wins on the day as well. It was nice to see Palisades and Church Farm School return to the circuit as well, and hopefully we’ll see them some more this year! B and C teams from GV and Carver filled out the remaining brackets.
Our congratulations to all the teams who came out and played, and to Swarthmore for hosting! We hope to see these players continue to grow and improve in the PA quizbowl community!
Last Saturday, 36 teams from around the Northeast of the US gathered to compete and one of the big traditional bouts of the PA quiz calendar. This was the largest field for Henderson Invitational yet.
Wilmington Charter A, up from Delaware seeking wins and trophies as they often do, came away with 1st place. They were undefeated, and had the highest points per bonus, points per game, and powers of teams in attendance. Charter might not be from Pennsylvania, but since Delaware doesn’t have much of a circuit of its own right now, we’re always happy to see them and they have shown they’re a real top 25 nationals contender this season. To win, Charter defeated Penn Manor A in the final. A number of teams were close statistically, but Penn Manor managed to come out on top with some very clutch wins, including a 5 point win over third place team and their Lancaster County rival Hempfield. Connor Mayers’ tournament leading performance, with an average of just a hair over 100 points per game, shows that he’s entered the clear upper echelon of players in the region. Penn Manor has proven they can do some major damage with this performance.
Hempfield’s third place was nothing to sneeze at, as Penn Manor was their only loss and Will Y.’s 70 points per game indicates he’s also one of the state’s strongest players this season. Fourth place went to Friends Select A. As a new look squad of sorts that has has to replace almost all their production this off season, FSS has rebuilt swimmingly. A 43/80/13 line from such a young group of players suggests continued success for this school. Manheim Township A took fifth, behind an impressive performance by Will S.(68 ppg) and solid performances in the 20s from Noah, Cyril, and Ryan. They had the second best statistical numbers on the day, and along with Charter were the only team to clear 20 ppb. In fact, Manheim Township pulled a grail, meaning they answered all 20 tossups correctly, against New York State’s Smithtown East A (winning 670-(-5) in the process!). Grails are very rare*, and with one also occurring at SAGACITY in Pittsburgh Saturday, Pennsylvania teams managed the extraordinary feat of two in one day. Their lineups for the remainder of the season still seem to be in flux, however, so it will be interesting to see what those changes do to keep improving the team. Great Valley took sixth behind another balanced performance.
The rest of the playoffs featured Mannheim Township’s program depth in full force, as their B,C, and D teams all made it, as well as solid performances by Great Valley B, Camp Hill, and Downingtown STEM. The later two, led by Sydney and Anish, respectively, are schools with a veteran senior that was a key role player on very successful teams of the past (Sydney on Camp Hill’s Very Small School SSNCT champion in 2017, Anish on last year’s state champion STEM) now getting the chance to lead a squad of younger, less experienced players. Though neither seems ready to compete with some of the teams listed above, both teams put up fine performances and both will seek to get ranked by season’s end.
In the lower brackets, a litany of other circuit regulars, such as Cedar Crest, PALCS, Downingtown East, Lancaster Mennonite, and Greater Nanticoke got in on the action, and it looks like a number of them did quite well. A strong, 57 point performance from Mennonite’s Jacob stands out for these teams. It’s great to see these circuit mainstays doing well, though it’s a shame Henderson did not attract any new teams to the event.
Overall, this seems to have been a successful tournament. Thanks go out particularly to Nick Luca and Ashish Kumbhardare for some logistical fixes that allowed this tournament to run smoothly. The overall state rankings picture looks very complex, as so many teams are of comparable skill, and this tournament could have finished many different ways (which makes Charter and Penn Manor’s top showings all the more impressive!) I look forward to the continued success of these quizbowl standouts.
* According to the quizbowl wiki, a grail happens in high school quizbowl about 6 to 7 times a year, on average, in America. The Manheim Township grail was the 2nd in PA quizbowl history, after Souderton’s grail of Renaissance Academy at GVQBT II in 2015. The Allderdice grail at SAGACITY was the 3rd.
On November 10, four Pennsylvania schools competed on NAQT’s IS-179 set at the seventh annual BrainBusters Fall Tournament in Ithaca, New York, taking two of the top four spots.
Stats are here.
Troy (NY) finished in first place, while Delaware Valley A took second place in the 24-team field. Emma led the team with 44.55 points per game and Chris, Darius, and Lucas each contributed over 16 PPG. DV A’s only losses were to NY’s Emma Willard and Troy teams, but their own B team gave them a scare in a 265-235 round 11 game, indicating a deep bench for this rebuilding program. Compared to their performance at Princeton’s tournament in September, which also used an IS set, their points per bonus statistic has improved from 15.26 to a promising 17.44, but their neg count has also increased to 31 negs over 11 rounds, which may be something to watch out for in the future. Wallenpaupack A finished in fourth place, taking the last of the HSNCT-qualifying spots. Gavin and Angela led them in scoring with 37.73 and 33.18 PPG respectively, and the team lost games to only DV A and Troy.
Lakeland A ended up in the second bracket after two prelim losses but proceeded to win all six of their afternoon games. Their closest match of the afternoon was a 140-130 win over Wallenpaupack B, which was led by AJ’s 42.27 PPG. Berwick‘s A team was led by Griffin’s 48.64 points per game and had close games all day, showing improvement from their performance at last month’s Tri-State Tussle, and it was good to see their B team getting more tournament experience as well.
A fifth Pennsylvania school and frequent competitor in the eastern half of the state, Moravian Academy, was also scheduled to play this tournament, but unfortunately an accident on the way there prevented them from doing so. We’re glad to hear that everyone is ok and we hope to see them at future events.
Clearly, the talent in the northeastern part of the state is rapidly improving, and we’re excited to see our teams continue to perform well at in-state and out-of-state tournaments. Best of luck to all our teams competing at the Henderson Invitational V and the University of Pittsburgh’s SAGACITY XIV this Saturday, November 17!
Yesterday’s Philly Fall Tournament was only half of the quizbowl going on in Philadelphia yesterday (running alongside the 38-team collegiate tournament, Penn Bowl), but with 24 teams in the Open division and 12 in the Novice, Friends Select School was really buzzing. The tournament attracted teams from New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut in addition to numerous Pennsylvania teams.
In the Open division, played on IS-178A, competition was tight. The top four teams had almost uncannily similar stats for the tournament, all scoring 450 to 500 points per game, all notching 60 to 63 total powers, and all between 23 and 24 points per bonus. A tournament is rarely this even. As would fit such equal performances, the final was an all time classic. Great Valley A, despite a morning loss to Manheim Township B, was pitted against Kellenberg A, down from Long Island to join the Pennsylvania action. Behind several powers, GV built a 130 point halftime lead, but Kellenberg led a spirited comeback in the second half (taking advantage of two key GV negs). Great Valley fell behind by 30 going into the last tossup, but managed to convert and 30 the bonus to win 345-335 and seal the tournament victory. Excellent performances by John, Anshu, and Rishi, with 20, 19, and 19 powers a piece for the tournament, suggest Great Valley has not missed a step after key graduations. As for Kellenberg, they had some great buzzes and we were happy to have them make the trip down and compete at such a high level.
Although finishing undefeated in prelims, Henderson A led by Vijay (second overall top scorer with 36 powers and 91.67 PPG) finished in third, defeating Manheim Township A, 490-180. Several of Vijay’s early powers combined with a few unfortunate negs widened the breadth of this match, as Manheim’s Will was third individually with 81.67 PPG. Currently ranked #3 and #4, respectively, both teams look to build on this performance to secure top-five finishes in the state.
Downingtown STEM did not make playoffs after a tough prelim loss to Great Valley A, but Anish had an impressive 103.75 PPG to lead individual scorers. Elsewhere in the upper brackets, many of the core programs in the City of Philadelphia opened their seasons, as Science Leadership Academy, Carver, Bodine notched some points. Wissahickon from Montgomery county also opened their latest campaign, continuing a run as one of the state’s oldest programs. Lastly, Delaware Valley made yet another appearance in an active season, making playoffs behind another solid performance.
Pennsylvania’s own PSACA 2: Groundhog Day set written by Bill Tressler again allowed for some awesome competition in the Novice Division. Germantown Friends, coming to their first competition in school history, went undefeated all day to finish first in the division. This is a rare feat, and to see such success from a Archbishop Ryan (led, suitably enough, by Ryan with 110.56 PPG) had its only losses (first in the prelims and then a second one in a disadvantaged final) to GFS, coming in second overall.
Both Anuja and Vivek of Henderson C worked hard to give the school another third place finish in this division. Though they put up a combined impressive PPG, being a two person team seemed to take a hit on their PPB and they finished 6-2. Wissahickon B finished in fourth, having lost only to the first three teams. We also got to see more action from local Philly schools, as several B and C teams joined Rush, Franklin Towne, and Furness to continue the ever growing tradition of Philadelphia city quizbowl.
If you haven’t played the PSACA set this year yet, there is still time to play at Bermudian Springs High in Adams County (11/17), and it’ll be used again next weekend at Carnegie Mellon University’s tournament, which has reached its field cap. Many players and staffers agreed it has challenging early clues that will help novice players learn and improve as well as accessible content for younger and newer players in the giveaways.
In the rounds I moderated in the open division, I saw a lot of new faces pulling great buzzes and thirtying bonuses. Early fall events like this one always make me excited for the tournaments to come– I know a lot of those faces will be returning to PA quizbowl later in the season, and especially in the novice division, continuing to grow as players and members of the community.
23 teams from 12 different schools came together this past Saturday at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA for the fourth annual Tri-State Tussle. Links to the morning and afternoon stats can be found here.
Teams from out of state claimed the top three spots on the day (Keep working hard so this doesn’t happen again, PA teams!): An undefeated Troy A (NY) took first place, followed by Wilton (CT) and Ithaca A (NY). Moravian A led all Pennsylvania teams with a 4th-place finish. They ended the day with a PPB over 20 and got solid contributions from all four team members on the day, with Alex Adams leading them in PPG. In 5th was Wallenpaupack A, a team of returning young players continuing to grow together. Gavin Heard led this team in scoring, but like Moravian, all four players averaged at least one tossup per game, and their PPB ended up around 19. Rounding out the top bracket was Delaware Valley A, who topped their prelim bracket before joining the other two PA teams in a circle of death in the playoffs. Emma Dove continued her emergence as a strong player to lead them in scoring, but again, each player made a notable impact on the day.
Two more Pennsylvania squads topped the second bracket. Greater Nanticoke A, in just their second-ever Saturday tournament, finished on top on a PPB tiebreaker. Props to them for their excellent work! Camp Hill came up next. Sydney Preston had an excellent day, finishing as Pennsylvania’s highest-scoring player with 85.5 PPG, and Gus Eberlein added some solid points as a second scorer as well. They notched a morning 300-280 victory over Ithaca A, and could be a fun team to watch as the season develops. Lakeland A continued their adjustment to the post-Goerlitz days with a nice finish as well; a run to the SSNCT playoffs should be a good goal for them this year. Three players from Delaware Valley B rounded out this bracket.
Young players from Moravian, Wallenpaupack, Delaware Valley, Lakeland, and Greater Nanticoke all filled out the remaining brackets, gaining some good experience for the future. It was also good to see Berwick return to the circuit for some more quizbowl fun!
Overall, the northeastern part of the state is characterized by developing youth. Will some of these teams be able to challenge the state’s top-ranked squads as we’ve seen in the past? Keep an eye out for that this year!