Many thanks to the 23 teams who braved torrential rains all day long to make it out to the fourth annual Triton Fall Tournament. After the initial pooled round-robins, we rebracketed into two championship brackets and two consolation brackets. After playing another round-robin in those and breaking ties by playing half-games, we then played cross-bracket matches between the two championship brackets for 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th place.
After Canyon Crest dropped their final regular match, Canyon Crest and Torrey Pines A squared off in a tiebreak that Torrey Pines A won to advance to the final. In the other championship bracket, La Jolla beat Rancho Bernardo A to also advance to the final. After a thrilling match, Torrey Pines A emerged triumphant 355-340 to claim 1st place, with La Jolla falling to 2nd. Canyon Crest beat RB A to take 3rd. Full stats are available here.
To stir up discussion, here’s my take on the SoCal teams thus far in the season. Overall though, there’s a lot of parity at the top, albeit no true national title contenders:
1. Arcadia. A strong group of returning veterans has taken charge and built up Arcadia into SoCal’s best shot at a national title contender this year. To get to the top-20 level though, they’ll need to seek out some stronger competition and more difficult, nationals-levels questions. Consistently beating all their fellow SoCal teams would help too, but getting matches against an elite HS team like Bellarmine could help them calibrate how far they need to go to make a run at nationals.
2. Torrey Pines. They played very sloppily at TFT and have a tendency to make bad negs on reflex buzzes, but they also showed great focus and gamemanship in overcoming those issues to pull out wins. Dowon adds a legitimate #2 scoring threat (in addition to TP’s copyrighted generalist-of-the-year, Justin), something that’s lacking on many other SoCal teams. I would also venture to say that TP knows the quizbowl canon better than any other team in SoCal at this point–there’s no topic that flusters them and they pick up a good number of TUs on the more obscure categories that you don’t regularly encounter in classes. On the other hand, they seem to lack depth in a number of areas and that could haunt them against a strongly-balanced specialist team.
3. La Jolla. Erica remains one of the top lit players in the country and has developed a solid supporting cast (which will be more solid when all of their top players get a chance to play together, something that I don’t believe has happened yet this season). At this point they could be +/- 1 spot here in the rankings, so more data points from future tournaments will help. Their bonus conversion and Power-to-Neg ratio have been superb.
4. Canyon Crest. Despite missing most of their A team due to a math competition, Anthony alone nearly single-handedly won TFT with an impressive combination of breadth and depth, plus a shrewd ability to capitalize on other teams’ mistakes. This team is dangerous, especially if they can develop specialists to help out in lit. and science.
5. North Hollywood. One of the relative newcomers on the SoCal quizbowl scene, NoHo has shown a fierce dedication to advanced competition this year, attending ACF Fall and driving a good distance to play in quality tournaments. They’re a well-balanced team with impressive knowledge bases in unique areas, which bodes well for their performance on higher-level questions. All they need to do now is study the canon more and develop their buzzer skills in order to win more of the buzzer races against top teams. More match experience should also help them overcome a slight tendency to get flustered after missing a TU.
6. Rancho Bernardo. David remains an excellent generalist and he’s got some help, but RB faces a crowded field up here at the top and doesn’t really have a comparative advantage compared to some of their competitors (though at TFT I noticed they had a cheering section; an interesting innovation).
7. Irvine. Another new-ish team that has a lot of kinks to work out, but also a lot of potential to develop into a stronger team as they gain more experience.
8. Bishop’s. A bit of a streaky team that had one of the worst P/N ratios of the top teams at TFT, although that could be a function of falling behind an trying to catch up with riskier buzzing.
Waiting List: University, Westview, San Dieguito (really wish they would play more; great potential there)
Feel free to use this as bulletin board material, as you deem it appropriate.