Philly City-Wide Novice Wrap-Up (11/2/19)

Ten teams from five schools in Philadelphia gathered at Carver HSES last Saturday to kick-off the quizbowl season in Philadelphia at the Philly City-Wide Novice tournament. Though many of the teams are familiar names, most of the students were making their quizbowl debuts on the very-accessible (although wordier-than-usual-on-the-bonuses) SCOP question set.

Full statistics are available here.

An all-Freshman team (FSS B) from Friends Select won the event, powered by the 77.78 PPG of Charlie, who may be the latest scion of a veritable quizbowl dynasty. The other FSS B players were quite solid as well and FSS looks, once again, to be undergoing the Quaker equivalent of “reloading” rather than rebuilding their team over the next few years. Coming in second was FSS A, an all-senior (yet new-to-quizbowl) group that was paced by Nyeema’s 46.67 PPG. In third (by a one-tossup head-to-head loss to FSS A) was Carver HSES A that also displayed the depth of Carver’s program as well as some aggressive buzzing tendencies (18 powers to 27 negs over 9 matches).

Coming in just outside the trophy tier was the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush, who continued their tradition of finding solid generalists with Elijah’s 66.11 PPG. Their run was highlighted by a 200-170 win over Franklin Towne Charter, who finished just behind Rush at 5th and brought a large number of novice players and observers that formed a rotating all-around cast. Behind them came FSS C, composed of 8th graders (!), and then the B and C teams from Carver HSES. Though they finished with only 3 wins, Carver C did notch an impressive 290-125 upset over FSS A. Rounding out the field was Bodine A and B, coached enthusiastically by both their regular coach and their returning senior Alex.

Although no new #phled schools were able to make it to the event this year, hopefully more schools will be ready to go in time for the City Championships in March to join the young talent on display at this event as well as the returning veterans from each school.

Swarthmore Novice Wrap-Up (1/27/18)


Bethlehem Catholic poses with their 1st place trophy after finishing 8-0

Final standings are shown in the playoff results here, with full statistics available here.

Bethlehem Catholic emerged from the Lehigh Valley with determination, clearing the field with an undefeated record. Led by Brendan, this well-rounded team was confident on the buzzer, putting up 46 powers and 450 points per game overall. Their impressive bonus conversion (23.56 PPB) indicates substantial depth as well; look for them to do well if they come back to more Saturday tournaments.


Archbishop Ryan with their 2nd place trophy

Second place went to Archbishop Ryan and Downingtown East. Archbishop Ryan’s top player was the appropriately named Ryan (a sophomore), who scored a tournament-leading 107 Points-Per-Game in the prelims. Following a 415-80 victory in their first match, they proceeded to score a very solid 19.18 PPB over the course of eight rounds. This enthusiastic new team should not be underestimated at future tournaments. D-East’s three-person team was powered by Maggie (75 PPG in the prelims) and Nikhil (42 PPG), with solid contributions from Simran. Both Ryan and D-East exercised impressive neg control, with both teams accumulating only 4 negs each during the entire event.

The rest of the playoff bracket included Friends Select C and two teams from Carver. FSS C put forth a team effort, with three players exceeding 23 PPG. Carver A notched a thrilling 270-265 win over Archbishop Ryan in the final match of the prelims, while Carver B upset their own A team in the last round of the day. Carver B also had 19.31 PPB, the third highest of the tournament. These talented young teams should be exciting to watch at the Philadelphia City Championship in March.


FSS D after the tournament

In the consolation bracket, Church Farm School, Archbishop Wood, and Bodine all finished with 4-4 records. After their debut at the Philly Fall Tournament in November, CFS made a welcome return with each player powering at least twice during the tournament. Saiif’s 52.50 PPG was fueled by several deep pockets of knowledge, especially on literature. Archbishop Wood had a balanced scoring attack with four players from the six-person team of ever-rotating substitutions putting up 20 PPG or above, and Bodine’s one-two punch of Alex and Raquel combined for a win against Carver B and 16.94 PPB overall. The rest of the consolation bracket was rounded out by FSS Middle, FSS D, and Carver C, all of whom showed solid potential. FSS Middle in particular came within 75 points of beating D-East in the prelims, and their 17.17 PPB suggests a strong pipeline for the FSS quizbowl program.


A match between D-East and FSS C

This tournament ran smoothly, finishing around 3:00 PM for most teams and providing a fun opportunity for less experienced players to compete on the SCOP Novice set. Out of the four schools in their first year of playing quizbowl, the two brand-new schools ended up taking the top two places. We hope to see all these schools back at more tournaments in the future!


Pennsylvania Novice Question Set Now Posted on

The 2016 Pennsylvania Novice set, written and edited by the members of GPQB and Pennsylvania’s broader quizbowl community, is now posted online on This set was our attempt to pioneer a novice question set that was a bit more challenging than SCOP but more accessible than a NAQT A-set. There are also a few PA-specific Easter eggs in there.

With the rather amusing exception of a Georgia tournament that used the set for an extremely competitive varsity-level competition, I think the data showed that we did a pretty good job hitting our target, though the bonuses skewed a little harder than expected on the third parts. While we did not produce a PA Novice set this year, the Philly Cheesesteak set has ably stepped into the void (and is still available for mirrors if you want a novice set to mirror in your part of the state! follow the link for details).

Check out the PA Novice packets here. These would be great practice material for freshmen and sophomores at more experienced programs and for all players at programs relatively new to quizbowl.


Carver Novice Tournament Wrap-Up (10/8/2016)

Twelve novice teams gathered at the Carver HS of Engineering and Science in North Philadelphia today for the kick-off to high school quizbowl in Pennsylvania this season.

Full stats are available here.

Great Valley A put on an impressively disciplined performance to top Friends Select A for the championship. Great Valley C defeated a team from Downingtown East for 3rd place.

The championship match was a treat to read and watch. You wouldn’t know it by the way they played, but GV A consisted of two freshmen and a sophomore. They handled bonuses like experienced pros, with one player always reminding the others what was being asked for, and took calculated risks on the tossups. In contrast, FSS A played a much more go-for-broke, fast-paced style that reminded me of intense NAQT games played on the clock. This led to FSS A leading the field in both powers (42) and negs (28). It was an interesting clash of styles where GV A ultimately prevailed this time, but it seems likely that we’ll see both teams back in championship games in the future.

The Rest of the Playoff Bracket

After graduating practically every member of their team, a new set of Central HS players (sadly lacking their signature crimson cardigans this early in the year) made the upper bracket and displayed pockets of deep knowledge in literature especially. The upper bracket was rounded out by Great Valley B, whose day was highlighted by a 200-pt romp over Downingtown East. D-East also put in a solid performance throughout the day with balanced scoring and consistency on the bonuses. And Great Valley C added to the complement of GV freshmen who will soon be romping around the circuit for four more years.

The Consolation Bracket

Science Leadership Academy‘s team, although shorthanded, saw all of its members contribute and won the consolation bracket with a 5-3 record. Bodine HS made their quizbowl debut with a solid 4-4 performance. Powered by the impressive U.S. History knowledge of Jalen (30 PPG, 8 powers) as well as solid contributions from all of its rotating members, Bodine’s newness to quizbowl was mostly eclipsed by their overwhelming enthusiasm. Friends Select B fielded an all-freshman team that also signifies their increasing depth and development as a program. Once their middle school team gets started up this year, Center City will have its first official quizbowl pipeline. Franklin Towne Charter‘s A and B teams also displayed enthusiasm and were notably lacking some of their better returning players from last year. And Carver‘s own house team was a great example of how a few older, experienced players can be a great asset in showing freshmen the ropes of the game.

General Thoughts

Carver hosted the best-run tournament that I’ve ever seen from a first-time host. 9 rounds (plus a rebracketing meeting + lunch) were completed by 2:50 PM. That is outstanding. It was also a great tournament from a moderator’s perspective as well. The little things and attention to detail helped–emailing detailed information + maps well before the tournament, sending bottled water to the mods after the 2nd round, getting lunch orders set and assembled on time, and running a calm and orderly control room. It all summed up to an efficient and enjoyable experience for everyone. It’s too bad that many teams from around the region couldn’t make it; I hope they’ll make sure to pencil in the next Carver tournament (and more upcoming tournaments in Philly like Friends Select’s on Oct. 22nd).

All of the infectious enthusiasm today bodes really well for the health of the Philly-centered circuit as well. So many new players will hopefully now go back and look up all the answers that they missed in Quinterest and get to work learning those tricky fine arts questions (perhaps with the help of NAQT’s You Gotta Know Lists). But most importantly, I saw a lot of support from coaches who seem willing to take advantage of the flowering of competitions in the area. Most teams seem to be doing the right thing in focusing on building up a quizbowl program at their school first and foremost. Once you have a strong core of a program in place with lots of enthusiastic participants and sufficient logistical support, you can focus on preparing teams to top the competition.

Finally, the question set itself was the first tournament of the year to use our very own Pennsylvania Novice question set, written by various college players from around PA and edited by the GPQB staff. If you have any specific comments about the set itself or any questions in it, please email us at We’re looking to use what we learned today to revise and continue to edit the set to make it the best possible novice quizbowl experience for new teams and players!