quizbowl tournament

Quaker Fall Open Wrap-Up (12/1/18)

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.

Stats for both divisions can be found here.

Nationals Division

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.

Open Division

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.

-Chris

Advertisements

Downingtown East Invitational Wrap-Up

img_0405

Ramon, Lucas, and Alex from LVA with their first place trophy.

30 teams gathered in Exton, PA for the first-ever Downingtown East HS tournament. The final results were:

1. Lehigh Valley Academy
2. Manheim Township A
3. Centennial (MD) A
4. Centennial (MD) B

Full stats are available here.

What did we learn today?

  • Downingtown is full of excellent quizbowl teams. While D-East was occupied with hosting, Downingtown STEM, led by the tournament’s breakout star in Vishwa, made the most of their opportunities in their first-ever pyramidal tournament to make the top 8. They had an outstanding mix of deep knowledge and quickly caught on to the pyramidal questions and format as the tournament went on. Downingtown West made the step up in difficulty to the regular HS level and, though they struggled in a tough playoff bracket, had a solid 18+ PPB average and a good all-around performance by their lead scorer Ben. Both of these schools would be welcome additions to more tournaments and we hope to see them (and their B teams) around the circuit in the future.
  • The GPQB Poll’s #1 and #2 teams keep battling for state supremacy. So far, Lehigh Valley Academy is 2-1 against Manheim Township A this year. LVA’s only loss of the day was by 5 points to Baltimore-area powerhouse Centennial A and Alex Schmidt’s uncanny ability to go on a run of powers just when he needs it worked wonders in the final versus MT A. It’s notable that MT A’s win over LVA came on a housewrite while LVA has won both NAQT matchups with MT A.
  • It’s good to mix circuits. Centennial’s 3 teams made a strong impact on the tournament and Fayetteville-Manilus‘ top player came down from NY to play. More teams venturing out into other circuits is always a good thing to see and it helps add variety and challenge to the tournament fields.
  • Great Valley A can beat anyone. Centennial A is a bonafide national powerhouse (check out that 24+ PPB) and Great Valley A notched what NCAA bracketologists call a “good win” over them. When GV A is clicking, they can beat any team in the region. But whether or not they can perform consistently enough to string together several wins over the top teams remains unclear.
  • Teams are still figuring out their best A-team lineups. We don’t have that much info with the best teams at full strength due to both player absences and shifting lineups. Finding a good fit, especially for 3rd and 4th chairs on teams, can be tough in terms of both subject matter coverage and team chemistry. I’d advise teams to read this good post on the forums about being a 4th player and thinking through who would be good at that job.
  • There’s more to the Lehigh Valley than LVA. Allentown Central Catholic came down out of the valley and put in a solid performance to follow-up on their earlier Lehigh Valley Invitational results. Emmaus also made a welcome return to the circuit and rode the strength of lead scorer Mike to a solid middle-bracket finish. Would love to see more of these teams venturing outside of the valley and potentially hosting more tournaments within it in the future.
  • D-East did a good job as a first time tournament host. Despite a few hiccups with Neg5 and rebracketing (see below), this was an exceptional job as an almost entirely student-led enterprise. Everything was done by 4:30 PM even with issues like a team showing up late and leaving early. Hopefully the secrets of competent TDing will be passed down to future generations of D-Easters!
  • I don’t think Neg5 is ready for primetime. Yes, it is an improvement in some ways on the old SQBS stats software that requires centralized manual entry, but it’s not very user-friendly and when things go wrong, it can gum up the tournament to a greater extent than one with paper scoresheets. Training can help, but with the updates reconfiguring it pretty often it’s just more trouble than it’s worth for me at this point.

Next up on the quizbowl tournament slate here in Pennsylvania: Manheim Township (1/28), Norwin (2/4), and Great Valley and CMU’s Tartan (2/11)! Let’s do everything we can as a community to get these tournaments to run well and teams to attend.

Chris C. with Ben H.

img_0400

Great Valley D (left) vs. Downingtown STEM A.