New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

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Adventure Temple Trail
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New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:01 pm

Post in this thread to discuss high school quizbowl in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island? Maine??) for the 2012-13 school year. It's looking to be a big year for our region - at least one new tournament has been a smashing success (MIT Fall) and plenty of new teams are stepping onto the scene for the first time. I'll have more thoughts to share about the region's quizbowl development later, but just to start things off I'll throw some open-ended questions out there. How should we encourage the continued development and growth of actual competitions in the area, given that there have historically been so few? Are there specific things teams in this region should do to improve quickly (and encourage attendance at Nationals, given that only 3 teams from this region attended one national last year and none attended the other)? Which teams are going to do well this year and which should we keep an eye on as the year goes on (the classic "comparisons" question, for which we have one tournament of results thus far)?

Tell your fellow friends and coaches about these boards if they're not involved already. Also encourage them to see the calendar thread in this forum for the dates and locations of upcoming tournaments!
Matt J.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by kcommo » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:28 pm

I was greatly impressed by the heavily local makeup of the MIT field last weekend. As someone who's been following New England quiz bowl back into the mid 90s, that' something I've never seen before in Massachusetts. I'm assuming the new WBGH TV show has a lot to do with the explosion of new Eastern Mass. teams. But since those teams seem to be interested in good quiz bowl, too, whatever gets them in the door can only be a good thing.

How to encourage the spread of competitions is an excellent starting point for a discussion, but unfortunately, it's one for which I don't have a good answer. Up here in Northern New England, I've been trying to get high schools to host their own tournaments or to travel south to compete for years but only with limited success. I think it comes down to the fact that it's only the rare team that looks at quiz bowl beyond being a fun, casual activity, which is necessary to put in the hard work to hold a tournament or to build a nationals-caliber team both competition-wise and financially.

The one school that is at that higher level of competition up here is Hanover. Despite the loss of Gabe Brisson, the top scorer on a team that went 8-5 at last season's NAQT nationals, I think they might be even better this season with an excellent player in Graham Reid and solid depth to back him up. They are certainly overwhelming favorites in Vermont, where it's a rebuilding year for most of the rest of the top teams, and the only school I can see as a possible challenger in New Hampshire is Phillips Exeter.
Kevin Commo
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Tournament Director, Vermont-NEA Scholars' Bowl

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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:40 pm

kcommo wrote:I was greatly impressed by the heavily local makeup of the MIT field last weekend. As someone who's been following New England quiz bowl back into the mid 90s, that' something I've never seen before in Massachusetts. I'm assuming the new WBGH TV show has a lot to do with the explosion of new Eastern Mass. teams. But since those teams seem to be interested in good quiz bowl, too, whatever gets them in the door can only be a good thing.
A huge amount of credit for this expansion goes to Stephen Eltinge and Lily Chen of the current MIT team, who with a bit of help for me tracked down loads of contact information for TV show teams in the area (going down the lists of teams playing both WGBH and WGBY's As Schools Match Wits) and followed through on actually using it to invite teams. I was hoping a few teams would show up here or there, but I too am astounded by how quickly many of these schools showed up (and how many of those teams seem to be interested continuing through the year with FAcT and HFT). I don't get the impression that the shows themselves are doing anything to get their teams into tournaments, so I guess this should serve as a reminder: Hosts have to do real work to get TV-only teams into their events. But when they do, results can often be wonderful!
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:47 pm

MIT did really good work with their fall tournament. I'm really impressed.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by t-bar » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:35 pm

As Matt mentioned, I tracked down contact information for the 16 schools that advanced to the elimination stages of the WGBH High School Quiz Show last year, as well as 50-odd schools that participated in WGBY's As Schools Match Wits. I can share this information with other New England tournament hosts, if they want. 10 of the WGBH schools registered for MIT Fall, including the tournament champion (Lexington) and the 3rd, 5th, and 6th place teams. Of those teams, Lexington has done NHBB and Hingham is an active team, but as far as I know all the rest were new to quizbowl. We only got one WGBY school, Springfield Central, though a couple more of them expressed interest.

There are definitely a lot of schools in the greater Boston area with the potential to become active quizbowl schools, and I was thrilled to see so many of them at MIT Fall. We'll definitely be using the contact information we gathered to invite teams to this year's MITBAT as well. I was particularly impressed by Lexington; in addition to winning the tournament in a commanding manner, they demonstrated a strong enthusiasm for the game. I think they have a lot of potential (possibly for several years; I don't know how old their players are).
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by biggiebird89 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:29 pm

kcommo wrote:
How to encourage the spread of competitions is an excellent starting point for a discussion, but unfortunately, it's one for which I don't have a good answer. Up here in Northern New England, I've been trying to get high schools to host their own tournaments or to travel south to compete for years but only with limited success. I think it comes down to the fact that it's only the rare team that looks at quiz bowl beyond being a fun, casual activity, which is necessary to put in the hard work to hold a tournament or to build a nationals-caliber team both competition-wise and financially.
I know the folks at Lyndon State (including myself from the past 2 years) had been running the "Quest for the Nest" tournament in mid-November as a fall novice style event to encourage teams to participate. The logic being that easier questions would help teams become confident enough to participate in tournaments - build up their resumes and get them motivated to play. This year, I'm not 100% sure the path they intend to go on - I know they do not intend to use the SCOP Novice set I suggested they use, so at this point it's up in the air as to what's happening. Frankly there's no reason why more powerhouse teams couldn't come from the New England area (specifically northern, as in VT/NH/ME, if Maine even has any form of QB league) - it just takes more motivation and emphasis on competition vs. doing it for fun and casualness, I feel.
~Garrett~
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:17 pm

So, two more tournaments have gone by in the region - the standbys that have kept the fall semester afloat for a while (FAcT and HFT). I'd be glad to hear people's thoughts about how those events went and where we go as a region from here.

In terms of comparisons/discussion: Hanover seems to be on a higher level than the rest this year. Though if anyone can match them sometime soon, it's the new Massachusetts phenoms at Lexington, who have been really, really promising during its first three showings this year, winning outright at MIT and holding their own against tough outsiders at FAcT and HFT. It seems right now that they could make a long playoff run at Nationals this year with a few more months of quizbowl exposure and "canon" study under their belts. I certainly hope both teams continue to make a showing with their younger players after the 2012-13 season ends and their lead scorers graduate.

Below their level, Hingham, AMSA, and E.O. Smith seem to form the next tier, being able hang together and do well regionally when playing a full bench. These teams are all capable of delivering a walloping on easier A-set questions. I'll want to see how they do on regular IS-set and HSAPQ fare this year before having thoughts on how they'd do at Nationals, but my hunch is that these teams could rise to that challenge by attending as much as they can in the area and training diligently.

Another thought:

-It's worth thinking about how much we want the western part of the Connecticut circuit to be integrated with New York/New Jersey. In the past, it hasn't been as big an issue at FAcT, since there was a set number of local teams and anyone outside those was welcome to fill spots that'd otherwise lie empty. But as the local circuit grows, NY/NJ teams may start to crowd out local teams who don't have much else to do and who don't travel the opposite way nearly as often (hence the buildup of a giant wait list at this year's FAcT). And at this stage in our circuit's development it's usually difficult for anyone but the outsiders to win the tournaments. Should there be more opportunities (such as CT Inv) which are explicitly for teams in the New England area and not outsiders? Or is that a solution in search of a nonexistent problem - are people happy with the way things are, and more interested in working to beat the outsiders than in shunning them? Relatedly, how much should I/we be encouraging regular CT teams to try their hand in the rougher waters of the New York/New Jersey area for the occasional tournament that doesn't have a more northerly mirror? I know BHSAT aims to cast a wider net and HFT does its own pre-nationals field, so those two events aren't likely to contract even if others such as FAcT do.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:46 pm

It's worth thinking about how much we want the western part of the Connecticut circuit to be integrated with New York/New Jersey.
I think this is an excellent point. I think this is especially true for the upcoming Newtown tournament. I anticipated that the amount of interested teams would be much larger than 16 or even 20 because the more inclined NJ teams (St. Joe's High Tech Ridgewood etc.) would want to go in addition to interested New York teams (Irvington and Kellenberg) because western connecticut is about as far as the New Jersey tournaments that we attend anyway. I understand how it could hurt the New England circuit if the teams get beaten by St Joe's Kellenberg and High Tech all the time, but I think that the fact that the teams who branch out and play the most tournaments are the best teams for that reason. The rest of the teams in NY/NJ consistently lose to the teams that would be going to the Connecticut tournaments (for the most part) and therefore are not stronger than the teams in New England. I think that playing these opponents consistently will make the New England circuit stronger. And the Connecticut teams should absolutely be encouraged to go to NY/NJ tournaments. Theres a tournament on January 5th in Scarsdale which isn't that far from western Connecticut in case teams are interested in doing that.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by jessbowen » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:00 pm

I feel like this has been a good year Quiz Bowl in New England and for our school specifically. The MIT tournament was great and I was quite pleased at our showing at Yale a few weeks ago. The WGBH tournament was how we got started and I commend those who made the effort to contact more of these schools and get them involved in local quiz bowl.

I've been reluctant to offer to host a tournament, mostly because I don't know what's involved and most of the tournaments seem to have a cadre of college kids to run them, which I don't have. But it would be nice to have a few more events on the calendar. My location is fairly central for Mass., and heck, parking sure would be easier than MIT or Harvard! Is it too late to pull something off for February or March? Would someone be willing to help us with advice? Or at this point, is it better to wait another year?

Thanks to everyone working to improve Quiz Bowl in this area!
Jessica E. Bowen
AMSA Charter School
Marlborough, MA

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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:01 pm

I think that within the short term (now through the next 1 to 3 years), we will want and need to see the area's committed high school teams begin to host new regularly-scheduled events. In most competitive regions of the country, high schools have been hosting tournaments for years, raising more funds to compete (at Nationals) and relieving stress on the area's collegiate hosts. It's actually something of a regional quirk that every tournament in our area has required a "cadre of college kids" to run, and that shouldn't/can't be necessary in perpetuity. So I'm happy to see interest in running an event from AMSA - while Newtown HS has gotten an event off the ground in CT this year, I'm having a hard time thinking of any all-subject quizbowl tournament hosted by any high school in Massachusetts within the past 5 years, if one has ever happened, and it'd be a great step forward for the teams in the state.

Looking at the calendar, it seems as though January 12 and March 16 are the sanest calendar dates to run an additional Massachusetts event, since there's already two all-subject tournaments in February (CT Invitational and MITBAT), but there are none in January and only one confirmed for March.

I'm willing to give advice either here or by email, and this whole board is full of people willing to help if you have specific questions about running a tournament. If you're truly not ready to take this on, you don't have to, but I think it's possible to get ready to run a smallish event (start small with 12 to 16 teams) in only a few months, and could offer whatever advice it takes to get there - just ask.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by kcommo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:19 am

We had 66 teams from 28 schools for the Pre-Holiday Academic Tournament in South Burlington, Vt., on Friday, something I never would have believed possible until the last year or so. Part of the attraction is probably the uniqueness, that this is the only big tournament open to everyone in Northern New England/Far Northeastern New York, but if nothing else this definitely goes to show that there is a lot of interest in good (or at least better) quiz bowl in the region. Now we just need to find a way for it to take a bit deeper root.
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Re: New England '12-13 comparisons and discussion

Post by EasyBakeOven » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:58 pm

Is there still plans for AMSA to hold a tournament during Jan.-Feb.? I'm sure loads of Massachusetts teams would love to attend.
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