downingtown

Downingtown East 2018 Invitational (1/6/18) Wrap-Up

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Downingtown STEM A poses after winning the varsity division 

42 teams gathered at Downingtown East HS on Jan. 6th for a chilly day of quizbowl to kick off the new year. Full statistics and results are available here.

Varsity/Experienced Division

In the varsity division, Downingtown STEM A took the crown against a resurgent Manheim Township A in the final, winning 320-260 in a winner-take-all single game. STEM, playing at full strength for the first time in a while, put up an incredible amount of powers over the course of the day (90 in total, averaging over 8 per match) that managed to make up for some occasional spurts of negs. The final match was in doubt up until the final few TUs as STEM connected on enough tossups to put MT away at the end. But Manheim Township definitely deserved to be in the final and has exceeded expectations coming out of winter break. Though not yet a national contender, they’ve certainly entered the PA conversation this year. Township A should no longer be doubted; they should be feared. The impressive performances by the other Township teams this tournament as well as their Middle School teams at previous competitions are a testament to how well-oiled this venerable PA quizbowl machine is.

Friends Select A finished in 3rd. This time, it seems Jake upped the studying ante and led the team in scoring for the first time this year. A three-headed attack that covers pretty much all of the canon (Richard may well be the 2nd-best science player in PA at this point) and gets solid 4th chair support is dangerous, but FSS A also led the tournament in negs as a team, which led to a few close shaves. FSS beat Henderson A in the 3rd-place match to take a trophy. Henderson, led by the always-solid Aravind and Vijay, played themselves into 4th place by knocking off Great Valley A in a match that’s going to haunt GV for awhile. Great Valley A remains fully capable of winning any game against any team in PA, but also seems unable to get over the hump when it comes to winning consistently. Henderson, meanwhile, continues their overachieving streak, and did so with only 3 players this time.

Delaware Valley A continues to put up solid numbers, also topping 21 PPB for the tournament. Their losses weren’t too bad–a FSS power-fest and STEM’s 2nd-closest game of the tournament–but this team seems to expect more than that. They’ll have to up their game to make the best-in-state convos, but they’re firmly within the upper tier of teams in the state. In a welcome repeat re-appearance on the circuit, Unionville had a nice tournament, knocking off FSS A and keeping it close in a couple of championship bracket games. Their PPB made a remarkable jump over the course of the tournament too, suggesting their quizbowl IQ may have increased over the course of the tournament and perhaps pointing to opportunities for future improvement if they keep playing (h/t to Silverman for pointing this out). Paced by Connor’s 70 PPG, Penn Manor A continued their steady play throughout the season to finish as the final HSNCT qualifier and round out the top 8 teams. Camp Hill A and Emmaus A both made the top brackets, but couldn’t make much noise once there. Manheim Township B kept it close against several top teams and put up a very solid 18.19 PPB while Great Valley C was able to spring an upset over Emmaus in the morning but faded the rest of the day against tough competition in the top bracket.

Nice to see Downingtown West back at a weekend tournament with a particularly strong performance by Miriam (62.5 PPG). Lancaster Mennonite continues to get stronger this season, centered around Jacob (54.38) and an improving group of other supporting staff. Moravian was also nice to see again on the circuit and Lawrenceville (NJ) crossed the Delaware and boldly ventured into the experienced bracket, where they collected a handful of wins for their A and B teams. Renaissance Academy also came out in force with three teams that again bravely challenged the experienced varsity teams.

One note to teams: it’s totally fine to have juniors and seniors compete in the novice division if they’re new to pyramidal quizbowl or don’t play often. Most TDs are likely open to discussing potential exceptions to any eligibility restrictions in the right cases.

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Wallenpaupack B after winning the Novice division.

 Novice

The novice division was small but competitive. In the end, Wallepaupack B defeated Manheim Township D in the final, with FSS C claiming third. Wallenpaupack was led by Angela (45 PPG), with able assistance from the rest of her teammates. MT D got the prelim round win over Wallenpaupack, but lost two close games at the end to finish as the runner-up. It was good to see PALCS at a weekend tournament here, though they struggled a bit in the upper bracket finishing behind both Carver A and Bodine, who scored a nice win over the eventual champions. Penn Manor B finished atop the consolation bracket above a very young Lehigh Valley novice team and several other Carver squads.

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D-East’s HFT Mirror Wrap-Up [4/8]

12 teams gathered in Exton on April 8th to play a full round-robin tournament on one of the toughest sets in quizbowl, the Harvard Fall Tournament, at the first spring tournament hosted by Downingtown East HS. After a full 11 rounds, D-STEM won the final over Wilmington Charter B, with Friends Select A finishing in 3rd.

Full stats are available here.

This tournament was quite competitive at the top, with the top 5 teams all within 20 points-per-game of each other (319-339 PPG). D-STEM adopted a decidedly aggressive buzzing strategy, finishing with 42 negs (well above any other team), but also grabbing the tournament win. Paced by Vishwa’s 81 PPG, STEM hung on to emerge with the victory despite some very close matches. Charter B, a power trio with all members averaging at least 35 PPG, had surprisingly easy victories over all the PA teams except for STEM, but did drop a game to in-state rival Concord. Not quite sure who will be back next year for Charter, but it’s never a good idea to count Charter out for too long in quizbowl–they’ll likely be back and active in the SEPA region next year.

Friends Select A notched the highest number of powers of any team at the tournament with 27, but struggled a bit on the bonuses with only a 15.6 PPB (though it looks like that stat could influenced by a stat error in their match against Wallenpaupack that led to unusually low PPB that round). They were followed by a less-than-full-strength State College A, who dropped a surprising match early on to Penn Manor before recovering for a 4th-place finish. Wallenpaupack had perhaps the most interesting statline of the tournament: their PPB was the highest of the tournament at 18.17, but they only amassed 5 powers over the course of the day. This is a particularly unusual difference between depth on the bonuses compared to the tossups.

Charter A followed the top teams with a solid effort that fell just short in several close games and then there was a bit of a drop-off as Concord and Friends Select B both adopted fairly aggressive buzzing strategies that didn’t quite pay off for either. Penn Manor, in one of the very rare appearances outside the Lancaster-Lebanon League, put together a respectable effort highlighted by their win over State College A. A smattering of B teams and a house fill-in team rounded out the field and should be applauded for playing such a challenging set in what was essentially a pre-nationals tournament; the top 8 teams here are all registered for at least one national championship tournament.

Hopefully this experience will come in handy as the local teams prepare for nationals in less than two months. Plenty of time to keep practicing on tougher questions to get in shape for nats!