Alabama 2014-15

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Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:22 pm

2014-15 Alabama Scholars Bowl Preview

Hoover – Loses their two strongest players from last year in Rachel Parker and Layla Tajmir, along with three other seniors, but also returns the entire B squad that finished 5-5 at nationals, has extensive play experience, and beat almost everyone but Gadsden A last year. Will have strong senior leaders across the board with every A team player back for Hoover is averaging over 20 PPG.

Gadsden City – Loses a few players from their state championship team, but returns Harry Hager and Justin Kelly, two top ten players at ASCA JV state who also played up at the Varsity tourney and helped a very balanced Gadsden City team win their first championship. (29 and 31 PPG at state)

West Point – West Point will return every player from last year’s team that finished tied for 7th at the Small School National Championship last year. They are a very solid team that is only going to get better this year and will be a final four squad in every tournament they attend in state this year, including the state tourney, if they remain as motivated as they have been.

Altamont – hard to call this team, as they performed very spottily this year and you never know who will be at a tournament from Altamont. They lost Jonathan Hurowitz, arguably their best player, who soloed at the Hoover Elite Meet last year and finished second on his own. State quality for sure, but making the playoffs there will depend on who steps up.

Indian Springs – Indian Springs graduates their whole squad, so they are in full rebuild mode this year, but with a team of good players, they will be likely to make some noise at the JV level. Expect to see them in a couple of years back in the top pack, but not this year.

LAMP – LAMP will be another interesting team to watch this year. They look to be returning Venkata Macha, their top point player, and will clearly be looking to improve on last year’s state tourney performance. Their experience at HSNCT will also prove helpful as they are likely to move into the final eight this year.

Spain Park – Watch out for this team. While they lose captain Stefanie Schoeneman, they bring back five of last year’s six state players, all of whom can make noise. Yes, they will be young, but they are good enough to play against just about anyone with confidence, and they have a very high ceiling.

Buckhorn – Buckhorn is going to take a big hit this year in losing Tessa Hawkins, one of the best science players in the state in years, but will return Walker Ericsson, their high scorer at state. Coach Dean has really improved his program, but they will be rebuilding for the year.

Huntsville – Last year’s Huntsville squad somehow didn’t qualify for the HSNCT, but they were close on many, many occasions, and really suffered from playing in the same area as Grissom and Randolph. Look for this year to be a breakout for these kids, who will compete for the state title in the final eight for certain.

Randolph – With a second-year coach, this team will be a wild card. Randolph has had a strong run in the last couple of years, but Perry Scalfano is off to college, and this will leave a big hole to fill. Making state is a virtual lock, but the playoffs are not.

Grissom – Another year, another mystery. With Grissom being unable to travel to most events, most teams won’t see them until late in the year—maybe even at the state finals. I honestly have no idea who is returning from their second place team from state.

These are just the teams that I know will come loaded to play this year. There are several other good teams in the state, including perennials such as Holy Spirit, Arab, and Russellville, plus newcomers making big strides like Homewood, Hewitt-Trussville, Springwood and Ramsey. As always, I welcome comments on any/all of these squads or others I have overlooked mistakenly.


Whatever teams may lead the state this year, I offer three overall goals that we ALL should be working toward in Alabama:

1) Continue to increase the footprint of quality quiz bowl across the state. Attend as many tournaments as you can. If you can’t afford an entry fee, try asking the tourney director if you can pay a lower fee or provide a staffer or two in lieu of the fee. Many TDs would like to see tourney diversity increase and will work with you.

2) Push at least two or three teams up into the next echelon of quiz bowl. I’m not saying that Alabama needs to have a top 20 team nationally this year, but we shouldn’t be an afterthought, either. If in-state competition improves, our preparation for out-of-state will only improve as well. I would like to see at least five of our state teams make the national top 200 at the end of this season.

3) Send teams to HSNCT, PACE, and for the first time, to NASAT. Someone will need to step up to organize an Alabama all-star team, and that won’t be me, but it should happen.

Good luck this year to all teams!
Last edited by Joshua Rutsky on Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:00 pm

Thanks for the mention. I'm hoping I can keep my bunch at West Point focused all year. They've got a lot of potential and have come very far in a short amount of time. This year, there will be two seniors and two juniors from last year's "A Team" returning. But, I also have three freshmen coming up who did a phenomenal job at the middle school level last year. All three of them will be in contention to knock off an A-teamer for a starting spot. I'm hoping this competition will motivate the team in practice, which will in turn translate into a tougher team come tournament time.

I hated that none of them were able to attend ACE Camp. The dates just didn't gel with their summer schedules - some of them are already taking summer classes at the local Community College. Others were traveling, etc.... Hopefully we didn't fall too far behind.

As for other teams, I think Hoover is looking tough. Their "B team" last year was better than most A teams. In fact, we came much closer to beating Hoover A than we ever did to beating Hoover B last year. They will make a formidable A team.

Gadsden will obviously be a contender again.

Grissom always comes out of nowhere in ASCA. But, I do know that three of their four starters last year graduated. But, that never really seems to matter with them. They always have a steady stream of seemingly naturally good players.

One team you didn't mention is Brindlee Mountain. They may be a one-man team, but DJ is a senior this year and may be really motivated to prove himself capable in his final year. Trust me, a focused DJ Whitley is dangerous.

Spain Park will likely be very tough, as you said. Their JV squad was very talented last year.

Russellville may finally find their footing, too. They seemed to be really hitting their stride at the end of last year. They barely missed qualifying for state in a really tough Regional pool and managed to defeat West Point A at the West Point Spring Tournament.

I'm also concerned about LAMP. I didn't realize Venkata was returning.

I'd also like to give a shout out to Good Hope as an extreme Dark Horse. Kristian Doss is a studying machine. He may be one of those kids who is able to pull off something amazing due to sheer dedication to the game and willingness to study on his own.

That's about all I have to say right now, other than echoing the sentiment that there are several other teams - Arab, Vestavia, Randolph, etc. - that have the potential to be dangerous as spoilers at the very least and possibly as contenders for the Championship.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Sun Jul 13, 2014 10:25 am

Good points, Lee. Krystian was at ACE camp this week in Tuscaloosa, as were a number of players from Buckhorn, Gadsden City, and Russellville. I was very impressed with his work ethic and determination to make something happen at Good Hope.

Justin Kelley is officially the player to watch this year in state. He had a GREAT camp, contending with some of Dorman's top kids for early buzzes, especially fine arts buzzes. He may be the best music player in the state without even improving, and he's improving rapidly. Gadsden is going to be formidable with him this year.

Another bright spot - Emily Hagood from RF Bumpus Middle. She played well the whole camp and was in the top four rooms regularly as a rising 8th grader.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by wareagle » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:31 am

Teams from Alabama are encouraged to attend a Southeast mirror of the Harvard Fall Tournament at Marist School (GA) on 11/15.

More information can be found here,

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16396
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by wte80 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:01 am

One teensy little correction: I would not particularly describe Tessa as having been our science person. Picking one thing in particular to label her as knowing is pretty tough, though; as you may have noticed, she knows a large chunk of everything.


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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:45 pm

Stats are finally up for the William Rufus King Tournament. https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-t ... playoffs=1

Congratulations to Hoover A and Indian Springs JV on their impressive wins.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:45 pm

kdoss61 wrote:Stats are finally up for the William Rufus King Tournament. https://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-t ... playoffs=1

Congratulations to Hoover A and Indian Springs JV on their impressive wins.
I do wish that the folks at Alabama would have been explicit as to what constitutes a "JV" team. Apparently Indian Springs had some upper-classmen on the JV team, including at least one senior. I'm not disparaging ISS, as I learned that they were forthcoming about this and were allowed to play their upper-classmen in JV because of lack of experience. Had I known that this was an option, I had A LOT of players that played in Varsity that could have benefited greatly from playing JV. However, I was under the impression that JV was only for 10th graders and below.

I also know that my JV team (4 freshmen) were disappointed to come in 2nd to a team with older players.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:57 pm

I'd like to try to get a better sense of what grade all these players are in in general. It is hard to judge a team from year to year when you don't really know who is coming back and who isn't. If you are a coach or player on one of Alabama's teams and you read this thread, would you please post a list of your players and their grade levels? I don't think this is a huge privacy issue; if it is, feel free to use the standard AL procedure of first initial, last name for identifiers.

Hoover:

Seniors:
Danae Argyropoulou
Max Gunn
Danny Johns
Madison Papp
Savannah Stanley
Abhay Thottassery
Beryl Van Ness
Kevin Wu

Juniors:
Nathan Farnlacher
Christina Fu
Joon Shin
Alexis Turek

Sophomores:
Nick Caine
Sophia Liu
Addison Rees (in Germany for the year but will return in 2015)
Will Thomason

Freshmen:
Salesh Geddam
Rishik Hombal
Andy Kong
Joseph Jun
Yash Mishra
Jackson Sherrod
Emily Su
Alex Zayzafoon
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:10 pm

quizbowllee wrote: I do wish that the folks at Alabama would have been explicit as to what constitutes a "JV" team. Apparently Indian Springs had some upper-classmen on the JV team, including at least one senior. I'm not disparaging ISS, as I learned that they were forthcoming about this and were allowed to play their upper-classmen in JV because of lack of experience. Had I known that this was an option, I had A LOT of players that played in Varsity that could have benefited greatly from playing JV. However, I was under the impression that JV was only for 10th graders and below.
Same here. Had I known this as well, Good Hope might have brought one or two JV teams. I have a lot of team members that need some tournament experience. Has the AAQT always defined JV as such for the WRK tournament, or has it varied over the years?
Last edited by kdoss61 on Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:20 pm

West Point:

Seniors:
Tallie Schaffer (A-team)
Nick Roman (A-team)
Chris Kramarczyk
Nick Shedd

Juniors:
Zakk Waddell (A-team)
Ross Wallace (A-team)
Derik Arendall

Sophomores:
Anna Watson
Maddie Whitesell

Freshmen:
Billy Ellis
Will Parker
Tom Parker
Kohan Lovett
Luke Watson
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:56 pm

Good Hope:

Seniors:
Krystian Doss
Kyle Johnson
Miranda Southern

Juniors:
Daryn Freeman
Chandler West
Bailey Brand
Nick Martin
Pao Vaughn

Sophomore:
Jacob Smith

Freshman:
RJ Bynum

It pains me to see our underclassman participation...
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by naesorman555 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:03 am

kdoss61 wrote:
quizbowllee wrote: I do wish that the folks at Alabama would have been explicit as to what constitutes a "JV" team. Apparently Indian Springs had some upper-classmen on the JV team, including at least one senior. I'm not disparaging ISS, as I learned that they were forthcoming about this and were allowed to play their upper-classmen in JV because of lack of experience. Had I known that this was an option, I had A LOT of players that played in Varsity that could have benefited greatly from playing JV. However, I was under the impression that JV was only for 10th graders and below.
Same here. Had I known this as well, Good Hope might have brought one or two JV teams. I have a lot of team members that need some tournament experience. Has the AAQT always defined JV as such for the WRK tournament, or has it varied over the years?

This was first WRK in a while that had a great demand for a separate JV pool. In my experience with WRK (6 years), JV teams always had to play with varsity in prelims and I think one year there was a JV playoff bracket. Seeing how dominate ISS was in JV, they probably would've been better off matching up against stiffer competition. We usually have a novice division at our fall tournament and it seems to work well, allowing inexperienced players to get more quality reps against similar competition.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Amethyst » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:53 pm

Chattahoochee would like to invite teams in Alabama to attend our annual tournament, the CATT! The questions this year will be a mirror of the UMD set produced by the University of Maryland. As usual, our tournament will be held on the 2nd Saturday in December (12/13/2014) at Chattahoochee's campus in Johns Creek (5230 Taylor Road, 30022). Please refer to our post in the tournament announcement thread for more details and registration: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16383

Hope to see you there!
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:43 pm

Amethyst wrote:Chattahoochee would like to invite teams in Alabama to attend our annual tournament, the CATT! The questions this year will be a mirror of the UMD set produced by the University of Maryland. As usual, our tournament will be held on the 2nd Saturday in December (12/13/2014) at Chattahoochee's campus in Johns Creek (5230 Taylor Road, 30022). Please refer to our post in the tournament announcement thread for more details and registration: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=16383

Hope to see you there!
I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but this is the same day that we (West Point) will be hosting our tournament in Cullman, AL.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:17 pm

naesorman555 wrote:
kdoss61 wrote:
quizbowllee wrote: I do wish that the folks at Alabama would have been explicit as to what constitutes a "JV" team. Apparently Indian Springs had some upper-classmen on the JV team, including at least one senior. I'm not disparaging ISS, as I learned that they were forthcoming about this and were allowed to play their upper-classmen in JV because of lack of experience. Had I known that this was an option, I had A LOT of players that played in Varsity that could have benefited greatly from playing JV. However, I was under the impression that JV was only for 10th graders and below.
Same here. Had I known this as well, Good Hope might have brought one or two JV teams. I have a lot of team members that need some tournament experience. Has the AAQT always defined JV as such for the WRK tournament, or has it varied over the years?

This was first WRK in a while that had a great demand for a separate JV pool. In my experience with WRK (6 years), JV teams always had to play with varsity in prelims and I think one year there was a JV playoff bracket. Seeing how dominate ISS was in JV, they probably would've been better off matching up against stiffer competition. We usually have a novice division at our fall tournament and it seems to work well, allowing inexperienced players to get more quality reps against similar competition.
In the past, JV teams were defined as teams consisting of members in grades 9 and 10 only (or at least at the two WRKs I ran, I don't know about the other years off-hand). Teams with said makeup were considered for JV awards.

I believe there was a separate JV pool a few years back, as Sean said.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:13 pm

The Hoover Invitational gave us some interesting information.

Grissom is good, even when they are "rebuilding." The difference between the Grissom team that we played in the prelims and the (same) Grissom that we played in the playoff bracket was staggering. It's like they were getting better all day long. They will be tough when it counts later this year.

Gadsden City beat arguably the best team in the tournament (Woodford A) even though they were missing some starters. Justin Kelly is a beast and can carry this team on his back for the most part.

James Clemens is also really good. It was just bad luck that they didn't make it past District last year. They will be at state this year, mark my words.

I didn't see Spain Park, LAMP, or Altamont play. We got lucky and other teams beat those teams for us....

Also, it is important to recognize that two of the best teams in the state weren't playing: Hoover A and Hoover B.

While we did manage to win this tournament, it is obvious by looking at the stats that there was definitely an element of luck involved. That being said, I am very proud of my team for finally playing like the Champions that I have seen in them for the past three years.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:46 pm

I would like to be able to update regarding this past weekend's BISB, but I haven't seen official results posted anywhere, let alone stats. With so many teams, I'm sure it took a while to compile those stats, but it looked like they were using SQBS all the way through and were just a round behind the games, so hopefully, we'll see something soon.

I know that both Hoover and LAMP had good days, playing above expectations, and I think Springwood did as well--all four Alabama squads made the playoff round of 32 teams from the opening field of 60, and while I don't know Springwood's results, I know that LAMP A advanced to the 16 round and Hoover made the round of 8. Both teams lost to one of the Chattahoochee squads, but both teams played well in those games. I am really pleased to see state teams making progress on the Southeastern level.

I don't know what the situation on this set will be, as I know it was being mirrored, but I thought the clues were generally solid in going from challenging to easy over the course of the question, and I'd estimate the set at slightly over a regular IS set. Just a guess, though.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by JKHtay » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:59 pm

Springwood lost to GSMST A in the Round of 32, which was a very tough draw for the Round of 32. We (Centennial A) beat Springwood by 20 in the prelims, they played well in our match.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:13 pm

Not really sure what to add to this thread after the West Point Invitational this weekend. The takeaways are pretty clear:

1) Buckhorn, Gadsden City, Hoover, and West Point are all favorites to make the elite eight of the state playoff this year.

2) Of those four teams, only West Point played with their full starting team at this tourney, and yet all four teams played very, very well--there's a lot of depth there on these squads. Both semifinal games were decided by 5 points, and the final was decided on the final tossup.

3) Krystian Doss continues to improve, and if he gets some more support, Good Hope will be able to challenge anyone.

4) It is dangerous to judge anyone based on results on A sets.

5) Lee still makes the trains run on time at West Point. Nice work.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:41 pm

Joshua Rutsky wrote:Not really sure what to add to this thread after the West Point Invitational this weekend. The takeaways are pretty clear:


4) It is dangerous to judge anyone based on results on A sets.
Herein lies our problem. We have lost a grand total of 5 matches all year. We lost 3 at UA tournament and 2 at our own tournament. Every one of our losses has been on A-sets. My team second guesses themselves too much. It's almost a "burden of knowledge" to them. They hear "Melville novel" and start thinking "maybe it's Omoo or Billy Budd..." In the meanwhile, the other team has powered Moby Dick.

Another problem we have on A-sets is when we get overly-aggressive and neg ourselves into oblivion. The A-sets are written so that even the worst teams are going to get the question by the end. It's like "for ten points, identify this color on the US flag that isn't red or white."

The only reason that I care so much about our performance on A-sets is that both District and Regionals use an A-set. I'm honestly concerned that we might not make it to State because A-sets seem to be our Kryptonite.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:02 pm

I agree, Lee, that making the shift from A set to regular IS requires some rejiggering of your team's mental state going in. It has been really hard to get our squad to the point that they are willing to be aggressive on an A set in a serious way, but even then, A sets really feel more like speed checks sometimes. Maybe in the next couple of years we can talk about moving Regionals to IS level, but that would mean either moving totally to IS set or taking up three full sets for state, and that's just crazy. If we could figure out a decent way to eliminate one of the tiers of play without killing membership, we might be able to make something happen, but right now it is a mess trying to find sites to host on a regular basis for a small 10-15 team site--imagine if we kill districts and have to have four 25 team sites. Ugh. We can hardly staff what we have with basic competency.

Anyhow, I think that you're overestimating how much trouble your kids will have on the way to State. Even on an A set, its going to take a team that is both consistently faster and at least as deep to beat you guys. Maybe you drop a game or two, but worst case scenario, your kids will pile up enough points to get a wildcard bid, and with seeding being part of Regionals now, I don't see how you finish third in a regional pool without some kind of nuclear disaster.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by bhsmatt » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:49 am

This is my first post on this site. The Buckhorn team this year is young but dedicated. We lost both Tessa Hawkins and Walker Ericsson to graduation last year, but have 2 young players who don't know as much, but who are much more aggressive. My starters this year are:

Adam Williams--11th grade
Matthew Dean--10th grade
Amelia Harrison--10th grade
Stella Broussard--11th grade
Draven White--11th grade
Sam Downard--11th grade

We will continue to get better as the year progresses. Watch out for us next season.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:15 pm

Walker graduated? Wow. Didn't know that. That does change my analysis of Buckhorn a little, in that it was a team playing at full strength, but even so, I think that they are solid candidates for the Elite Eight. Excellent play from a younger squad that has lost a couple of key players.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by bhsmatt » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:21 pm

We actually only had 4 of the 6 I mentioned at the West Point meet. We will be competitive this year, but will be really hard to deal with next year.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:32 am

Is the Matthew Dean on your team any relation?
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:59 pm

Small School regionals at Wallace State:

1st place- Cordova
2nd place- Good Hope

I'm not sure about how JV regionals went, as I didn't stay for the conclusion. Nor do I know who placed 3rd and 4th in SS.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:10 pm

Stats are up for Covenant Christian http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... playoffs=1


One thing to note about this tournament... Individuals awards were given out based on the stats right after round 5. I was given the top scorer award at the tournament, but the stats show that I was 3rd highest.

I was definitely off my game rounds 6 & 7, and my stats definitely reflected that. I had 72 ppg after round 5, which lowered to 55 after round 7...
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:08 pm

I don't know who won the JV. We (West Point) were undefeated in prelims but lost a nail-biter to Huntsville High in the quarter-final. Boy, I hate single-elimination.

I'm pretty proud of my JV crew, they spend every practice just getting demolished by the varsity team, so I forget sometimes that they are a pretty decent team in their own right. There is a lot of potential there. As we start to lose long-time A-team members to graduation this year, it's good to know that I have some great talent moving up to fill those slots.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we will be at the JV State Tournament this year.


Congrats to Good Hope and Cordova, though. Some of my varsity players read for Cordova and said that they are legit.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Matthew D. » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:33 pm

Wallace State JV regionals:
1st-James Clemens
2nd-Buckhorn

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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by naesorman555 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:18 pm

Over the past few weeks there have been some interesting results. Nobody has really separated themselves at the top, but Spain Park is playing the most consistently with great performances at CCA and LAMP. I know Gadsden and Hoover had some incomplete teams at those tournaments but Spain Park, West Point, and Springwood are capable of beating anyone on any day. When playing ASCA, buzzer speed is key and Spain Park, Springwood, and Gadsden (with Justin Kelley) have it.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:41 pm

SS State Bids are going to


Ashville
Brindlee Mountain
Cordova
Elkmont
Good Hope
Lexington
T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal

JV State Bids are going to

Altamont
Buckhorn
Hoover
Indian Springs
James Clemens
LAMP
Spain Park
Springwood
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:30 pm

I second Mr. Henry's statement; Cordova IS legit. Coach Evan Underwood has done a great job turning Cordova's team around since WRK. This is going to make for a very competitive state tournament.

I wonder who will step up in small schools in the coming years. Most of the teams in the Top 8 will be rebuilding after this year...
Last edited by kdoss61 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by kdoss61 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:48 am

With the soft deadline of March 7th quickly approaching, I'd like to know if anyone has expressed any interest this year in taking an Alabama team to NASAT. I know, Mr. Rutsky, that you previously said that you couldn't this year. Is there anybody else that would?
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:49 am

Here's the problem with NASAT: No one in Alabama is going to pay for it. I don't think I'm being too bold is saying that Rutsky and I are probably the two people MOST likely to coach the NASAT team, and I know that I'm just not going to do it. I already attend (at least) two nationals a year with West Point - SSNCT and HSNCT. If I were to coach the NASAT team, I'd want to guarantee the best possible team. This would necessitate a state-wide tryout process. This alone would require a location, a set of questions in which to gauge talent, a staff willing to evaluate the talent, and travel expenses. Where is that money coming from? Then, once the team is selected, there is travel to the tournament, entry fees, hotels, etc. Where is that money coming from? Since this would theoretically be a team made up of players from across the state, no one school is going to fit the bill. Furthermore - and I may just be really selfish here - but I would want to be paid for my time and effort. I already volunteer countless hours of my time for West Point's team - which I love to do and will continue to do. But, beyond that, I'm not willing to put in that kind of time and effort for free. Also, IF I did it, I would do it 110% and would be in it to WIN. The logistics behind getting all these kids together just to practice is beyond me.

Some states simply send a single school team to NASAT. I'd theoretically be willing to take West Point as the State Representative some day under certain highly unlikely conditions. First and foremost, I'd have to believe that West Point is - beyond a shadow of a doubt - the best team in Alabama, which I don't. I think a case can be made that we are among the top few, but that's it. Plus, Alabama teams already struggle in national tournaments as it is. Taking a school team to what is essentially an "All-Star" tournament would just be a disaster. Why do that when I can just take them to HSNCT and SSNCT?

The only way I EVER see this happening is if ASCA could sponsor a team like they used to in the Panasonic Tournament. But, it would be a huge financial and logistical undertaking that I don't think ASCA can afford given the current state of enrollment, etc. Also, simply sending the state champion or even the All-Tournament team from State would not be the optimal way of approaching NASAT. You can't just simply take the top scorers. You would have to consider team dynamics, making sure that you have all academic disciplines covered on your team.

It's just too much right now. I hate to say that, but it's true. Maybe in the future it will work. I could see an Alabama team attending NASAT on a whim, but it wouldn't truly be a representative of the state so much as an overly zealous school team going to the slaughter.

Please feel free to disagree. This is just my current view of the situation.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:04 am

You could have the members of the team pay for part of the cost.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:19 pm

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:You could have the members of the team pay for part of the cost.
Sure. But, the idea of being selected to represent your State due to your hard work and dedication to the game being sullied by "Also, please write us a check" is hard for me to deal with. You also then run the risk of factoring in "who can afford this?" along with "who deserves this?"

Also, I didn't mean for my post to come across so negatively. I have nothing against NASAT and I'd love to see Alabama establish a program wherein we can make annual participation happen. But, I'd want to see it be done RIGHT. And RIGHT costs money. I don't think that the kids selected for the team should have to foot the bill, either.

Again, just my opinion on the matter.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Cody » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:26 pm

For NASAT tryouts, some states try to coordinate tryouts with an existing tournament that interested parties are going to attend (in VA, this has been NAQT States in the past). Most editors of regular-difficulty (or close) college sets have allowed their sets to be used free-of-charge for NASAT tryouts in the past, while they are still being mirrored. This year, ACF Regionals is being offered explicitly for that purpose until March 7, at least, and if you're holding tryouts after that, MUT has been used in the past and you could also contact the STIMPY editors.

There's a lot of hurdles to attending NASAT, but I think tryouts is one of the easier ones to solve (whether actual tryouts, a committee selection, or voting among knowledgeable coaches), so don't let that one stop you.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:57 pm

quizbowllee wrote:Sure. But, the idea of being selected to represent your State due to your hard work and dedication to the game being sullied by "Also, please write us a check" is hard for me to deal with. You also then run the risk of factoring in "who can afford this?" along with "who deserves this?"
Well, another common thing is that local teams help fund the team's expenses. Maybe the Alabama team or prominent local high school teams could contribute money. Perhaps sponsorship is available from local businesses.

There are solutions.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by naesorman555 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:24 pm

To facilitate the tryout process, maybe each team or school could be limited to sending one player for try outs. I do agree with Lee that no player should be prevented from trying out by financial situations. My concern with the all star teams would be finding an ideal composition of players. A good team must have chemistry and several opportunities to practice with each other, and a coach needs time to find the best combinations. This is hard to do at one school in a year. With limited time and resources, I don't see how a competitive team could be assembled by one day of try outs
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Cody » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:12 pm

naesorman555 wrote:To facilitate the tryout process, maybe each team or school could be limited to sending one player for try outs.
This is a poor idea -- what happens if 1 school has more than 1 player who should be on a NASAT team? This is very common in many states.
naesorman555 wrote:My concern with the all star teams would be finding an ideal composition of players. A good team must have chemistry and several opportunities to practice with each other, and a coach needs time to find the best combinations. This is hard to do at one school in a year. With limited time and resources, I don't see how a competitive team could be assembled by one day of try outs
Many, many other states have no problem with this. Tryouts aren't hard to conduct and many states's methods of NASAT tryouts have been posted on the boards over the years; there is no shortage of ways to find an "ideal composition of players". "Chemistry" and "several opportunities to practice with each other" were never a problem for past teams, but it has been very well solved by the advent of online practices.

Remember, plenty of states attend NASAT each year. The only hard part about constructing a NASAT team is finding at least 4 interested people.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:28 pm

With all due respect, I don't see the point of trying to prove the impossibility of attending a tournament that 17 states attended last year.

We're in year six of NASAT now, and I've learned a few things:

*It's definitely not necessary to get a team together to practice. I don't know of a single NASAT team that has ever done this outside of Skype or on the way to the tournament.
*You have a wealth of real game data that indicates who is the best at answering questions in various categories -- the entire year of tournaments held in Alabama. This simplifies your team selection process immensely. There's no reason to worry about organizing a high-stakes tryout that won't even come close to telling you what this much larger sample of difficulties, styles, and situations does about the players. A small group of coaches who can be trusted to be objective should pick the team based on this information. If someone can't be trusted to pick the best players for the Alabama team rather than advocate disproportionately for his own players, then do not invite that person to the committee.
*The fact that you are picking a team to play an actual tournament rather than an all-Alabama team for recognition should be emphasized. Feel free to also name an "all-state team" if you want to. But, when building a team, you need to focus on 1) people who will actually attend the tournament and 2) people who will play well together. 2 doesn't mean trying to predict chemistry or anything else that's impossible to know, but rather -- make sure you have someone who can answer hard science questions, hard philosophy questions, etc, and not four top team scorers who all know the same material.

The two main reasons that states interested in the tournament have ended up dropping out are contained within the above -- the main one is that tryouts, around 50% of the time, attract people who want to be named "all-Alabama" (or whatever state) and can't or won't actually attend NASAT. The other is that every bit of time/effort spent on tryouts is better spent on figuring out the problem Lee alludes to about who is going to chaperone the team and how they are going to pay for it.

Most teams self-fund in some way. If you have a coach or a parent willing to use their vehicle to drive the team 8 hours to Columbus, then your cost for gas, registration, and hotel is around $1000, give or take how many hotel rooms you use, etc. If someone can't afford $250 for his portion, then oftentimes this is when you can get some subsidy from the school the player attends or from a "sponsor" of the trip. You can also ask all stakeholders in NASAT (the attending players, their parents, etc) to staff a small quizbowl tournament; raising $1000 by running a high school or middle school event is hardly unheard of.

A lot of the time, this is a perfect tournament for a parent or a local college player to serve as "coach" at when it's time to give the high school coaches a break. That often solves both the problem of coach burnout after the other nationals and the issue of who will coordinate the logistics.

I know that quizbowl coaches and organizers often rise to challenges, and HSAPQ is honored by the fact that, every year, more and more teams consider NASAT worth it based on the question set and the experience of the event. It is a unique and valuable tournament in quizbowl and I know that once Alabama does send a team they will want to continue doing so every year.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:49 pm

I'd just like to go on from Matt's point about running a quizbowl tournament to fundraise to point out that running a quizbowl tournament is exactly what MOQBA does to fundraise for the entry of the Missouri NASAT team (and I believe the hotel rooms and gas are paid for in this way too, but I'm not 100% sure on this).
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:28 pm

Let me reiterate that I love the idea of NASAT. I hope that Alabama gets involved - and I'm quite sure that we will someday. And - while admittedly unclear upon review of my previous posts - I wasn't trying to explain why ALABAMA could't attend, but rather why LEE HENRY won't be the one doing it right now. In order for ME to be the one doing it, I would demand that it be done right and not just be thrown together.

As for using stats from the year to gauge talent.... That sounds like a good idea. However, I will be brazen enough to say that any team representing Alabama at NASAT would have to have Zakk Waddell on it. And, our team is so incredibly balanced that his individual stats would never stand out. <This is really neither here nor there, but I wanted to take the opportunity to publicly praise this kid>

At any rate, I am definitely interested in helping establish some type of system in Alabama wherein a NASAT team is put together. I am just not able to be the one that conducts the practices, handles the expenses and arrangements, and travels with them at this time. I dedicate so much to my team at West Point that I just can't justify taking more time away from my family during the summer to do this.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Maury Island incident » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:40 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:It's definitely not necessary to get a team together to practice. I don't know of a single NASAT team that has ever done this outside of Skype or on the way to the tournament.
Our inaugural Massachusetts NASAT team had one physical practice last year. However, Massachusetts is significantly smaller than Alabama and has most of its quizbowl activity concentrated in the east, and I don't think a practice is necessary if it is impossible.

I would recommend picking the team earlier than later, as it gives you more time to fundraise/make plans. By the time we picked the team, we didn't have a lot of time to plan things out and ended up having to pay for 100% of expenses ourselves.

I think school gets out in Alabama in time for you to drive, which should cut costs significantly. We had to fly last year, since NASAT was the weekend before finals for us. As far as chaperones go, we had a coach from a team who didn't qualify for nationals last year but whose team still had a player on the NASAT team come with us, which might be an option for Alabama.

NASAT was a great experience for me and the rest of the Massachusetts team last year, and one that I hope you guys end up participating in this year!
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:42 pm

With ASCA HS starting in a few weeks, I think that this is an appropriate time to consider this sort of move. I have no problem with being part of a group of coaches helping to identify these students, and I think that there are ways to deal with a few of the issues involved, like the commitment/interest question. To start with, we will send out notice to all coaches that students interested in being considered for a "Team Alabama" will need to go online and register using a Google Form we will link to from ASCA's home page and from here. I will make sure that is in place before the district event in two weeks, and that all sites get notice to announce this directly to students/put it in the team folders at the event. This will be in addition to any news we have about ACE at Tuscaloosa by that point.

From there, we can evaluate players based on performance over the state tourney and any other events we have data on. We can also put out a "call for coaches" to see if we can find one willing to be the travel coach for the squad. I can think of a couple right now who might take this on.

Funding, at least for year one, will have to come from players. It is possible we could have a late-season, pre-nats event to try to make some money for it, but that doesn't seem very likely in terms of site and scheduling given how drawn out ASCA State is. Still, anything is possible if enough people are interested.

Let's at least see if we can get the ball rolling. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but at least we will have given it a shot this year.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Somerled » Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:12 pm

Teams advancing from the ASCA district competition at UAH:
Sparkman
Bob Jones
James Clemens
Buckhorn
Huntsville High
Grissom
My understanding is that two additional teams to be announced later will advance as well.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Fri Feb 13, 2015 6:54 pm

Advancing from Wallace District:

West Point (4-0)
Arab (3-1)
Brindlee Mountain (3-1)
Good Hope (3-1)

There will also be a 5th team, since Brindlee already had an automatic bid due to winning their Small Schools Tournament.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:23 pm

Sorry about the delays in posting stats for Districts. We are STILL waiting on one site. I have already passed on what we have to NAQT and it should be posted soon, so just hang tight.
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:05 pm

Results are up on the QRC tournament database for all three of this weekend's events: AL JV, Small School, and Middle School Championships. Congratulations to Spain Park (JV), Cordova (Small School), and Pizitz (MS) on their wins!
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Re: Alabama 2014-15

Post by quizbowllee » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:47 pm

Results from ASCA Regional at West Point site:

Pool A:
1st Place - West Point (5-0)
2nd Place - Buckhorn (4-1)

Pool B:
1st Place - James Clemens (5-0)
2nd Place - Sparkman (4-1)
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