Archive for May, 2012

2012-2013 Tournament Schedule: Preliminary Call for Tournaments

May 31st, 2012 No comments

With schools starting to finish up their school years, it’s that time when we start looking to next year. This time, we want to have a full slate of fall tournaments – and ideally a rough schedule of winter and spring tournaments – determined well in advance of the start of the school year. This will help immensely with both getting established teams to tournaments and targeted recruitment of new teams.

For fall, UCLA has first right of refusal on October 6 UCLA will not be running its traditional October tournament (Arcadia is likely to fill the void), and UCSD has first right of refusal on October 13 and November 10. We can probably fit three more tournaments in on October 27, November 17, and either December 1 or 8. I would suggest putting the November 17 tournament in LA or OC so those teams don’t have to drive down to SD twice in a row.

For winter, it’s slightly more fluid but definitely more saturated with established tournaments: other than UCI’s first right of refusal for January 26, Arcadia, Torrey Pines, UCSD, and La Jolla all typically host tournaments sometime between January and March. Plus, we’re going to attempt not to conflict with History Bowl and Science Bowl, which will take place in the winter. Depending on how teams sort this out, we can probably squeeze in one more slot in the winter that could be taken by State Champs in late March.

Spring is always a mess to figure out because schools have staggered spring breaks. Usually, we can fit two tournaments in April and one tournament in between AP exams and nationals. One of those weekends will likely be taken up by Triton Spring; a second will likely be taken up by State Champs if mid to late March doesn’t work.

So overall, it looks like we have about 15 tournament dates.  That’s probably a good number given the likely availability of good packet sets. Chris is setting up the master schedule; teams looking to host should e-mail him with their ideal dates so that we can get a solid tournament schedule discussion going and hopefully have a fall tournament slate prepared soon. Keep in mind that with this year’s record field sizes likely to increase again next year, it may be just as easy to run a tournament in partnership with another school to ensure enough staff for your tournament.

HSNCT recap: SoCal Finishes Tied for 21st.

May 28th, 2012 No comments

A brief recap of the fortunes of each of the SoCal teams that attended the HSNCT. Overall it was perhaps a better-than-expected showing, although there were a number of disappointingly close losses.

Arcadia A
(Result: 6-4, 1-1 in playoffs. T-49th place). 
Probably the biggest surprise was Arcadia A’s early dismissal in the 2nd round of the playoffs at the hands of Ohio team Northmont. Arcadia suffered through an early loss to LASA C and was matched up twice against Cave Spring (VA), losing both times. This was definitely a fairly tough schedule for Arcadia, who had to face playoff teams six times, but the LASA C loss in the prelims and the Northmont loss in the playoffs both could’ve gone the other way. Once again, Arcadia had a higher ppb (18.35) than many of the teams that finished around the same level, but just couldn’t win the tossup war. Will Arcadia be able to rebound in the future and better prepare for nationals next year?

Arcadia B
(Result: 6-4 in prelims, 1-1 in playoffs. T-49th place)
Tying their A team’s finish, Arcadia B demonstrated increased buzzer aggressiveness than its A team, which helped it out in close games;  despite their 37 negs to 12 negs by the A team, the B team’s risk-taking paid off and allowed them to perhaps slightly overperform. They had a good win over Chaska (MN) A and a close loss to Norcross (GA) by 20 points before getting wiped out by Wayzata A in the 2nd round of the playoffs. If these guys are coming back next year, Arcadia’s got an excellent foundation for the future.

Arcadia C
(Result: 5-5 in prelims)
Arcadia C actually came within 100 points of making the playoffs like its fellow Arcadia teams and, with a bit of improvement in its bonus conversion, could’ve managed it. In the last round of the prelims they fell by 100 to NCSSM and also had a reasonbly close loss to Northmont by 75 in the prelims as well. Again, if this is Arcadia B for next year, Arcadia’s going to continue to be a strong threat in SoCal but needs a lot of improvement to get onto the national scene.

Canyon Crest
(Result: 6-4 in prelims, 2-1 in playoffs, T-21st place)
In my predictions, I should’ve gone with my first instinct here that Canyon Crest would drop a match they shouldn’t in the prelims and win one they shouldn’t in the playoffs. This time they actually got lucky in a couple of prelim games but ended up losing several other close ones that cost them a spot at a better run. Their win over Hawken by 5 in the prelims was great fun to read for and demonstrated again the importance of buzzer speed, but errant buzzes cost them against NC schools East Chapel Hill in the final match of the prelims and in a frustratingly close 15-point loss to the Early College of Guilford A in the 3rd round of the playoffs. NC schools in general were not good for CCA as a loss to NCSSM in the prelims also may have cost them a chance at 7-3. A bit of an underperformance by the best team in SoCal, but certainly an exciting one.

(Result: 7-3 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs. T-21st place)
With their full A team playing together, Irvine proved they were much more a contender than previously thought and, with a bit of fortune from the scheduling fairies (perhaps because they dropped a shocker in the first round to Skyline (MI)), had a nice run. Their resounding win over Wayzata A (who would finish T-13th) in the first round of the playoffs was a masterpiece. Their loss to Thomas Jefferson in the playoffs was much, much closer than expected as Irvine kept the formidable TJ team in check for much of the match by winning buzzer races and adding some well-timed powers, though ultimately bonus conversion hurt a bit too much. Though it seems like much of this team is graduating, the program as a whole is on the right track.

North Hollywood
(Result: 7-3 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs, t-21st place)
I’d been predicting all year that NoHo’s strong depth in their subjects would pay off at nationals and, with the highest PPB of all the SoCal teams at 18.52 and the 2nd-most powers at 58 (CCA had 60), it seems like this prediction at least turned out to be mostly true. NoHo had a tough schedule but managed to get some nice wins along the way, including two close wins over Kentucky powerhouse DuPont Manual A and a 45-point win over that nemesis of Arcadia teams, Northmont. Though they were somewhat blown off the buzzers by Thomas Jefferson to knock them out of the playoffs, they had a very nice run to also finish in the SoCal tie for 21st. Can next year’s team replicate or build on this solid platform of success for a run at the top 10?

Rancho Bernardo
(Result: 3-7 in prelims)
Rancho Bernardo has a long history of one-man teams, but this one came as a bit of a surprise. Nevertheless, the Sathya experience turned out to be a wild run, with lots of close losses and a few wins in the bottom part of the prelims. Good to see that Sathya’s interested in challenging himself and hoping to get better, although it would’ve been nice for a few more of those close losses to materialize into wins.

Santa Monica
(Result: 7-3 in prelims, 0-2 in playoffs)
Oof, that’s gotta hurt. After getting to 7-3 and taking a powerful Loyola team to within 50, Santa Monica got tripped up in both of its playoff games to finish back with the Arcadias at 7-5. Once again, a North Carolina team was the culprit in the first playoff loss but the second, against Great Neck South, seemed even more anamolous as SM put up a 21.43 ppb average in that match but negged 4 times and lost by over 100. Will Santa Monica make more of an effort next year to focus more on quizbowl and make use of their great potential for a nationals run or have they reached the ceiling of their efforts?

Torrey Pines
(Result: 7-3 in prelims, 2-2 in playoffs, t-21st place)
Good to see that Torrey got up for its nationals run, with a stellar effort by Anson (16 powers, 1 neg) nicely complementing Justin and the rest of the team. A superb win over Loyola (6 powers, 6 TUs) and a close loss to LASA A (by 80) were some of the highlights, though the lowlights included losing by 280 points to a team of Middle Schoolers and getting smacked down by 435 points in the playoffs against IMSA A. A couple of other nail-bitingly close 5-point wins over Culver A and Ranney ended up helping TP to a 21st place finish and a nice capstone to an up-and-down year for this veteran team.

HSNCT Live Coverage and Southern California Previews

May 23rd, 2012 No comments

This weekend, nine teams from Southern California will be making the trek to Atlanta to compete in the 2012 NAQT HSNCT. This year’s tournament features a whopping 240 teams, making it almost certainly the largest high school quizbowl tournament ever. Here is this year’s list of where to find coverage of HSNCT:

The Official blog of the 2012 HSNCT is once again up and running and should have a liveblog on both Saturday and Sunday.

Players and coaches will be announcing results on Twitter with the hashtag #hsnct. Chris will be running the liveblog and I’ll be in one of the game rooms, so unlike last year, you probably won’t find many updates from @socalqb.

Various updates can also be found at the forums, though those will likely be delayed.

If any community-based match or playoff trackers exist, I’ll try to note them here once I get a link.

Again, NAQT is not likely to have any live updates or stats on its website until Saturday night at the earliest, assuming you can even get to the website.

Team Previews

Chris and I expect Arcadia A (Fred Morlan’s final pre-nationals rank: 55), Arcadia B (142), Canyon Crest Academy (53), North Hollywood (46), and Torrey Pines (95) to make the playoffs. For more in-depth analysis, see Chris’s West Region preview on the official HSNCT blog.

As for the other four teams:

Santa Monica: I think Chris underrates this team (Morlan rank: 78) because neither of us have seen them play. From what I can tell, they return 3/4 of last year’s HSNCT team that lost three straight games against tough opponents to miss the playoffs. The stats put them a hair behind Arcadia, which means they’re probably looking at the 5-4 vs. 5-4 loser-misses-playoffs game again. I think they’ll get an easier opponent than Lisle and win that game this time. Prediction: 6-4, 0-1 playoffs.

Arcadia C: This is almost certainly the second-best C team (Morlan rank: N/A) at HSNCT, behind LASA C. If you look at just the stats, it’s not clear that a full-strength Arcadia C is that much worse than Arcadia B, but they’ve had problems pulling out games against the top local competition. They’ll easily beat teams that they’re better than, and they’ll lose handily to teams better than them. I think they’ll get stuck with a brutal early schedule just by virtue of being a C team. Prediction: 5-5.

Irvine: It’s basically a rule that if you’re a Southern California school and it’s your first HSNCT ever, you’re finishing your first 10 games somewhere between 4-6 and 6-4 (seriously; look it up). The only schools that I can find for which this doesn’t apply are Edison, which went 8-2 through its first 10 games back in 2000, and La Jolla, which went 7-3 in the prelims in 2005. Maybe Canyon Crest will break that trend this year; Irvine (Morlan rank: 160) probably won’t. They’ll probably lose a game or two early that they shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them crawl back out of the bottom part of the bracket. Prediction: 4-6.

Rancho Bernardo: Give this team (Morlan rank: 200) credit for just sticking together through 2012. It will be an impressive tribute to David’s memory if a group of players that at the beginning of the year were complementary pieces and rising young players can band together and sneak into the playoffs, but the stats show they’re probably not ready for this level of competition. Prediction: 4-6.

Good luck to all teams.

Triton Spring II Tournament Wrap-Up

May 20th, 2012 No comments

Congratulations to Bellarmine, who flew down from San Jose to take part in the second-annual Triton Spring Tournament and ended up taking the championship. Canyon Crest A finished 2nd with La Jolla A finishing 3rd. With a 93.33 ppg average in the prelims, Nikhil Desai of Bellarmine was awarded the David Hu Memorial Award for the top scorer at the tournament.

Bellarmine is as good as advertised; even though they were missing their alleged best player, they still put up a blistering 619.2 points-per-game average in the prelims (with a 27.08 points-per-bonus line). Though they slowed a bit in the championship bracket in the playoffs, they still won their matches against the other top teams by an average of 350 PPG. Closest anyone got was Canyon Crest A, who still lost by 270 points. These guys are the real deal and were particularly gracious in victory and encouraging to new teams and players.

Canyon Crest A suffered a shocking loss in the first round to Arcadia B (more on this later), but recovered in time to steamroll the rest of the competition (besides Bellarmine). Again, the strength here seems to be the uncanny buzzer speed that Anthony has (though I’m sure he did, I don’t recall seeing him lose a buzzer race) and the solid support from each of the other CCA supporting players. Looking over the scoresheets, I did notice that CCA tends to have a slow start out of the gate against the top teams before going on a back-breaking run in the middle of the game that cements the victory. They may not be a contender for a national title, but they’re a threat to beat anyone out of the top 5 teams in the country.

Nice work by La Jolla A to show what they’re capable of when they’re at full strength. Their 330-265 victory over a (not quite full strength?) Arcadia A team was impressive and their matches against Torrey Pines A were wonderful examples of the best of SoCal quizbowl. Alas, they won’t be at the national championships this year so we’ll only be able to speculate about how much damage they could’ve done on the national scene.

Big shout-outs to the new-to-quizbowl schools who showed up (and stayed to the end!) here:  Advanced Tech (making the drive down from Las Vegas and the adjustment from Varsity Quiz), Cathedral Catholic, and Madison. Madison beat Bellarmine to several toss-ups during their match and Cathedral upset the “Islanders” team. Definitely hope to see more of these teams (most of whom, I believe, were composed of underclassmen) in the future.

Games of the tournament:

  • Arcadia B def. Canyon Crest A, 315-310. As usual, Canyon Crest had started slow and fallen behind 180-55 before roaring back in the middle of the match to take a seemingly-insurmountable 310-235 lead going into TU 19. Given that they were down by 75 points, Arcadia would have to get the last two tossups and thirty both of the bonuses to win. They proceeded to do that and emerged with an impressive victory in the first round.
  •  Torrey Pines A def. La Jolla A, 325-295.  La Jolla jumped out to a 130-35 lead before TP went on a 6-TU run to pull ahead 215-130 after TU 11. La Jolla then mounted a four-TU sweep to take the lead 240-215 after TU 15. Over the final 5 TUs, the two teams traded blows with the lead altering on each TU. Finally, on TU 20 with La Jolla clinging to a 300-285 lead, Erica from La Jolla negged and TP picked it up, then swept the bonus for the win. La Jolla later got revenge on TP with a 340-260 win in the playoffs, but both matches were worthy send-offs for the seniors from both teams.
  • Basically every game that Bellarmine played. Their blowouts of Arcadia A (535-125, with most of Arcadia’s points coming on Bellarmine negs) and La Jolla A (a ridiculous 555-95 win) were impressive but their first round 675-30 win over Francis Parker A was notable for Bellarmine getting 680 out of the total possible 800 points in a regular quizbowl match. Bellarmine missed only 2 bonus parts that match and, besides 1 neg, was beaten to only 1 TU. That’s quite impressive.

Hope that all the players and coaches enjoyed the tournament and that Bellarmine’s performance inspires the SoCal teams to try to get up to another level.

Entering College Freshmen Team Contacts

May 14th, 2012 No comments

Attention graduating high school seniors who will be attending college in California: if you played quizbowl, Academic League, Knowledge Bowl, or the Super Quiz portion of Academic Decathlon and would be interested in continuing to play in college, let us know!

If you’re attending a school that already has a team,

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we’ll send you the contacts for that team. If you’re attending a school without a team, we’ll be glad to help you get a team set up at that school.

Simply comment in this thread or send an email to and we’ll get you in touch with the right people.

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SoCal State Championship Stats Now Up

May 6th, 2012 No comments

After much delay, the statistics from the March 10th tournament can be found here.