Illinois 06-07

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MJG
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Post by MJG »

Results from the Sterling Invitational:

1. Wheaton North
2. Moline
3. Sterling
4. Winnebago
Consolation: Boylan
Geneseo, Byron, and I believe Charleston also made the afternoon

Bonnie Jain from Moline had the most tossups in the morning with 34. The scary part is that we only had 4 rounds, that he is a freshman, and that word has it he only played 1/2 of each game at least 2 of those rounds. Greg from WN was 2nd with 29.

Go ahead and rip on the ?s if you like (they weren't in-house), and they had a strange obsession with scientific notation and imaginary numbers (too much fresh-soph math IMHO).
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Post by Tegan »

Results from the Maine South Frosh-Soph "Hawk" Classic:

1. Rockford (Auburn)
2. Lincolnshire (Stevenson)
3. Wilmette (Loyola)
4. Wheaton (W.-Warrenville South)

Other QF's: Mundelein (Carmel), Chicago (St. Ignatius), Buffalo Grove, Oak Park (Fenwick).

If there are any frosh-soph players out there who played on these questions, I would be very interested in hearing critique on them.
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Post by Siverus Snape »

I thought the Maine South questions were at least as good as any other fresh-soph questions I've heard all year. Of course, there were a few mistakes in the math tossups, but that happens sometimes. I really enjoyed the worksheets, but it was half-frustrating to come up with 9 out of 10 parts 4 different times. I would definitely recommend this tournament as a way to help coaches prepare less experienced players for the pyramidality that we are now seeing at the top-tier tournaments in Illinois.
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Sterling results:

1: Wheaton North
2: Moline
3: Sterling
4: Winnebago

All Tournament team featured three Winnebago players, a Sterling player (sorry, I don't remember if it was Matt or Tom), Greg Gauthier and Bonny Jain (led the team).
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Sorry about the re-post - I didn't notice the page change. Bettendorf is the team missing from the playoffs, not Charleston - they lost to Bago in the first round and ended 8th.
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Post by MJG »

Tom and I both made All-Tournament. The Geneseo captain and a girl from Boylan were also All-Tournament.
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Post by mlaird »

Pst... styxman,

editing=reenabled
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Post by Jax »

Which Teams will be in attendance at Fremd on the 20th? Libertyville is looking forward to another tournament. It's only our third one this year.
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Post by David Riley »

MJG: If the questions were from Question Bank, then don't blame Ms. Christianson for the fr/so math--everybody has been trying to convince them for years that Illinois students are used to 30 seconds for math questions and can do calculus. If they are writing questions for nationwide distribution, then that's one thing, burt I was always led to believe that they were written especially for Sterling's tournaments.

Florida is the only other state I know of that allows longer time for math questions (60 sec).
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Post by OP_Huskies »

Jax --

OP will not be there--we tried to get a team together, but 4 of our top 6 members are busy (come to think of it, I might have a conflict that day, also). Our next meet will be Fenwick on 2/10, which will also be our 3rd meet.

JB
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Post by MJG »

Sterling will be at Winnebago on the 20th.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Question Bank? Those are written by Bob Brown, who is a coach at Richland in Missouri (i.e. the teams that's won 10 of the past 11 class 2 state championships).
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Post by Trevkeeper »

So I guess no one noticed these were posted....

http://www.ihsa.org/activity/scb/2006-07/2assign.htm

Let the prognostication begin.

Oh, and I'll be the 4,195th person to say it. I hate subsectionals with a burning passion.

And is it just me, or is St. Ignatius not listed?
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Post by friarup »

I noticed that the sectional assignments were posted last night, and i could have sworn that I saw St. Ignatius on there in the Chicago (Marist) sectional. It looks like the page was updated earlier today, so maybe they were taken off for some strange reason.

In any event, I noticed that the sectionals look rather untouched from last year (barring the site of the sectional, of course), as predicted by Coach Reinstein. And, once again, the New Trier (last year it was Maine South) sectional looks tough. As of right now, and especially without St. Ignatius, the Marist sectional doesn't look as hard (to put it lightly). I know we say this now, but you never know who could shock teams downstate.

It looks like we have a month and a half left to debate/prognosticate the sectional assignments, so maybe we should pace ourselves...
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Post by OP_Huskies »

Yup ... looks like the NT sectional is far & away the hardest with Marist & Bradley as the easiest, but putting St. Ignatius in Marist will at least make it more difficult.

NT is too close to all .. just as last year four different teams would have won the MS sectional if it ws played four different times, looks like anyone could walk away with that sectional.

Any thoughts/predictions? Oh, and when are the seeding meetings?

JB
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Results from Winnebago -
1: Auburn A
2: Byron A
3: IMSA (defeated Sterling by 10 points)
4: Sterling
5: Winnebago A
6: Boylan
7: Sterling Newman
8: Auburn B

QF Rounds - Auburn A over Winnebago; Sterling over Boylan; Byron A over Auburn B; IMSA over Newman.

SF - Top bracket: Auburn A over IMSA; Byron A over Sterling (by 5 points).
Consolation bracket: Winnebago A over Sterling Newman; Boylan over Auburn B.

I don't have a copy of the All-Tournament team, but it was led by Matt Gerken of Sterling with 25 over 5 rounds. Others I can remember include Siva Sundaram and Michael Jiang from Auburn and Cliff from IMSA. I think Aaron Deets from Byron A may have made it as well, but I'm not sure.

To Matt Gerken: After moderating for you guys and Byron throughout the year and IMSA today, I will vouch that you were the victims of bad questions in both of your close afternoon losses. The company we used for questions this year will not be retained for next year. We've been using them recently because we've tried to make our tournament similar to our conference in question format to allow a tuneup before the conference tourney, but the questions were far below the level that they've been in the past.

On that note, and after moderating a 60-10 match in the morning and a 90-60 match in the afternoon(!), I decided to do a statistical analysis on the Winnebago Invitational to prove that bad teams do not benefit from non-pyramidal questions, which these were. The argument that I've heard from countless coaches is that "pyramidal/NAQT/Aegis/Triad/etc. questions are too long and too hard for the weaker teams...", but it doesn't follow that those same teams should be averaging 80 PPG on non-pyramidal shorter questions. I think that this proof should be more than adequate for anyone attempting to convince a governing body to switch from non-pyramidal to pyramidal questions (especially since Aegis Questions removed the financial aspect!). I'll post the stats in SQBS soon.
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Post by MJG »

If we were screwed over, it was because we weren't given the full 3 seconds after Byron missed the last tossup. Tom buzzed in to spell "amalgamate" a fraction of a second after time was called, which seemed to me because the timer didn't remember to give 3 seconds or else let the 10 seconds keep running as Byron was answering. Honest mistake, I suppose, but it still made us angry. But then, we screwed ourselves over plenty by not buzzing fast enough. We weren't playing greeat today, but 4th is not terribly disappointing to me at any meet this side of our Masonic Regional. Although I would have liked to see Auburn again before the IHSA series, or in lieu of that beat IMSA. I admit I smile internally every time Tom beats IMSA on a math tossup.

The questions just made me angry because one would be a buzzer beater, and the next would be semi-involved. When a question had a decent length, we would buzz way too early and miss, and the last clue would be something like "this chemical also has a symbol of Sr" or something similarly easy. Which then caused us trouble on buzzer beater questions that started "this element has the highest electronegativity". Several times, the easiest clue that was given to the answer was put first. It was like reverse pyramidal or something.

Adam from Boylan, Tom from Sterling, and a kid from Sterling Newman also made All-Tournament. I don't remember others.
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Post by David Riley »

MJG--if I understand your post correctly, the timer DOES NOT STOP when the first team buzzess in. I know a lot of teams od this, but it is WRONG. Period. Just ask Mr. Egan :grin:
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Post by Tegan »

David Riley wrote:MJG--if I understand your post correctly, the timer DOES NOT STOP when the first team buzzess in. I know a lot of teams od this, but it is WRONG. Period. Just ask Mr. Egan :grin:
Everytime someone stops the clock after the first buzz on a question, a puppy dies somewhere in the world!

Players, PLEASE, make your coaches read the rules book. I've lost track of the number of TDs, moderators, and especially timekeepers who get hired for these tournaments snd don't know this rule which ahs been on the books since time immemorial ..... often times the same people who complain that pyramid style questions are slowing mathes down!

If you are a player, please make your coach read this. If you are TD, or the player of a TD, PLEASE make sure that everyone is aware of this. Especially on frickin' math questions that get turned into 75 second toss-ups because someone stops the watch.
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

My goodness, Mr. Egan, have you been hit with this recently? That's some mighty fine rage you got brewin' over there.

Matt - In my career, I beat IMSA three times, all three close matches, and in each match, the "clinching" points came on computational math. It's a great feeling, isn't it? Also, at Sterling, when Winnebago played Wheaton North A in the semis, Bago's captain beat Greg to a computational math tossup. I remember hearing Greg mention that he went about it the wrong way, so it wasn't a speed thing - in fact, I think he went about it the same wrong way that I went about it as I was doing it my head - but she still got it.

For anyone interested, here's a partial list of problems with Platypus Questions:

Large variance in length of tossups - all tossups seemed to begin with a quick one line question, but about one-third to one-half featured extra information after the original question was presented (a la "Who was this? He also did this.").
Large variance in accessibility of final giveaway clues - some giveaways would be as easy as "it's atomic symbol is Sr," though many were not...leading into:
Anti-pyramidal questions - some of the longer questions often featured the easiest clue as the first clue. Many giveaways were as unaccessible as the lead-ins to other questions.
Some minor violations of the pronoun rule - for instance, "Golliwog's Cakewalk is part of what larger work, by Claude Debussy?" I, along with some players, would/did buzz in with Debussy at Golliwog, because there literally is nearly no other logical answer to that question after one word.
Asinine computational math questions - one question that was cut from the tournament asked for the square root of "e", given to 2 sigfigs. I wrote a replacement in the moderators meeting - the Roman numeral conversion to binary tossup - to replace that particular one.
Repeated computational math questions - there were 3 bonuses and 2 tossups asking for distance between points. There were 5-6 bonuses and 4 tossups asking for the first and/or second derivative of a function - the only variation on this theme in bonuses were A: 3rd and 4th derivatives or B: maximum and minimum. There were a maximum of 4 calculus questions, out of 16, that asked for anything other than a derivative. 1 integral. 2 limits. 1 area under a curve.
Violation of recent rule changes - The final tossup of one round was a miscellaneous/home econ question. Also, the final tossup of 1 round was miscellaneous/health. I suppose it could have been a biology question, but then it should have been a biology question! 2 other miscellaneous questions were placed in the final three tossups of packets.
Minor aesthetic flaws - the final tossup of the semifinals was, as Matt said, a spelling question. Pronunciation keys were not provided at all. Computational prompts were not provided at all.
Repeat flaws, both internal ("I Sing the Body Electric" in a bonus and a tossup in the same round) and external (the "paella" question was used in a Big Northern Conference packet just last Wednesday).

The list of reasons why these questions were horrific only ends here because I don't have packets in front of me to substantiate other claims that my mind is fuzzy on at the moment. Either way, I think a boycott should be in order. Coach Niemeier said she's looking into Aegis for next year, and I'm going to speak for Aegis at the Big Northern Conference meeting when they decide on questions for next year.

Anyway, what went down at Fremd, or any of the other dozen tournaments that happened today?
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Post by graymatterz_1231 »

man......we had some pretty long math tossups today at bago....it gets worse on the calc questions, especially on a semi-early buzz followed by a long but wrong answer......speaking of time, when mods say "pencils down" is it to be taken literally?
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Post by graymatterz_1231 »

when i say long i'm not referring to the length of the question but the amount of time it comsumes
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

graymatterz_1231 wrote:man......we had some pretty long math tossups today at bago....it gets worse on the calc questions, especially on a semi-early buzz followed by a long but wrong answer......speaking of time, when mods say "pencils down" is it to be taken literally?
There were definitely some inappropriately written math questions - there were many questions that could absolutely NOT have been done in 30 seconds. The best example was probably the bonus: "Find (3x+5y) raised to the second, third, fourth, and fifth powers, for five points each."

I'm assuming when you're talking about "pencils down," it's when time is called on a bonus. In that case, pencils must be put down unless you are the captain, in which case you can only use your pencil to check off answers. If the captain is going to defer to someone, that someone then has the right to check off answers.

Also, graymatterz - welcome to the boards! I see you're from Rockford - are you from Auburn, Boylan, or Guilford?
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Post by graymatterz_1231 »

im a freshie from auburn
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Post by graymatterz_1231 »

ah yes...i remember that one....what a waste of algebra. i think the quantitiy to the fifth could have taken a full 30 seconds or more by itself unless someone was good with pascal's triangle.......it sucked for us, because on our b-team we had only 4 players. :wink:
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

graymatterz_1231 wrote:ah yes...i remember that one....what a waste of algebra. i think the quantitiy to the fifth could have taken a full 30 seconds or more by itself unless someone was good with pascal's triangle.......it sucked for us, because on our b-team we had only 4 players. :wink:
I consider myself to be rather good with Pascal's triangle, and I estimated I could have done either the first two parts or either one of the last two parts in 30 seconds.
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Post by graymatterz_1231 »

were you modding today? i wonder if any other team did better that 2 out of 4
btw-it took me thirty secs for the quantity to the fourth....not worth it, since time ran out, couldn't tell my capitan
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Post by Tegan »

styxman wrote:
graymatterz_1231 wrote:speaking of time, when mods say "pencils down" is it to be taken literally?
I'm assuming when you're talking about "pencils down," it's when time is called on a bonus. In that case, pencils must be put down unless you are the captain, in which case you can only use your pencil to check off answers. If the captain is going to defer to someone, that someone then has the right to check off answers.
That's not quite the up-to-date interpretation.

In the old days, the idea was pencils had to be put down as soon as time was called/expired on a bonus. The problem was: homer officials could use very subtle interpretations of this to knock a team out of a bonus for no reason other than one player was chewing on a pencil. It became foolish!

The new rule bars moderators from taking too strong a tact. The idea is: only penalize if the action is giving a team unfair advantage, such as taking extra time to solve a problem. Players can legally hold pensils, draw, andwrite to their heart's content. However, if in the opinion of the moderator, a player is writing towards an answer after time is called, and that player gives the answers, then a penalty is invoked. There are plenty of times I've seen players continue writing, and as long as they are not defered to, they can write. If they get defered to, the answers are wrong, and the bonus rebounds (if it can be). Afterwards, you explain the issue, and move on.

The problem: too many tournaments still employ moderators who have either never read a rule book, or haven't read one in several years. The old timers, probably out of habit, say "pencils down". There may still exist an IESA rule that requires pencils to be down.

If you are a player for a coach who will be a TD .... remind them that it is likely better to let coaches read and split moderating dutires than to permit poor, outdated readers to continue screwing teams over.

And yes, too many times has it happened to my team. I once asked a moderator, very politely, in the wake of such a call, if there were other rules that were not going to be followed, and if she could point them out so that I could inform my team. I think I got close to being ejected.

Remember: bad moderators kill puppies!
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Tegan wrote:
styxman wrote:
graymatterz_1231 wrote:speaking of time, when mods say "pencils down" is it to be taken literally?
I'm assuming when you're talking about "pencils down," it's when time is called on a bonus. In that case, pencils must be put down unless you are the captain, in which case you can only use your pencil to check off answers. If the captain is going to defer to someone, that someone then has the right to check off answers.
That's not quite the up-to-date interpretation.

In the old days, the idea was pencils had to be put down as soon as time was called/expired on a bonus. The problem was: homer officials could use very subtle interpretations of this to knock a team out of a bonus for no reason other than one player was chewing on a pencil. It became foolish!

The new rule bars moderators from taking too strong a tact. The idea is: only penalize if the action is giving a team unfair advantage, such as taking extra time to solve a problem. Players can legally hold pensils, draw, andwrite to their heart's content. However, if in the opinion of the moderator, a player is writing towards an answer after time is called, and that player gives the answers, then a penalty is invoked. There are plenty of times I've seen players continue writing, and as long as they are not defered to, they can write. If they get defered to, the answers are wrong, and the bonus rebounds (if it can be). Afterwards, you explain the issue, and move on.

The problem: too many tournaments still employ moderators who have either never read a rule book, or haven't read one in several years. The old timers, probably out of habit, say "pencils down". There may still exist an IESA rule that requires pencils to be down.

If you are a player for a coach who will be a TD .... remind them that it is likely better to let coaches read and split moderating dutires than to permit poor, outdated readers to continue screwing teams over.

And yes, too many times has it happened to my team. I once asked a moderator, very politely, in the wake of such a call, if there were other rules that were not going to be followed, and if she could point them out so that I could inform my team. I think I got close to being ejected.

Remember: bad moderators kill puppies!
The interpretation to only call the rule when it gives an unfair advantage is absolutely correct, and something I have actually followed in every match I've moderated this year. With the exception of heated afternoon matches (none of which I've moderated yet), no match before IHSA State Series is important enough to penalize on esoteric rules unless it does give an unfair advantage.

And if a moderator is on the verge of ejecting a protesting coach, in my experience, the coach must be doing something right!
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Post by leapfrog314 »

styxman wrote:Asinine computational math questions - one question that was cut from the tournament asked for the square root of "e", given to 2 sigfigs. I wrote a replacement in the moderators meeting - the Roman numeral conversion to binary tossup - to replace that particular one.

Repeat flaws, both internal ("I Sing the Body Electric" in a bonus and a tossup in the same round) and external (the "paella" question was used in a Big Northern Conference packet just last Wednesday).
Brad, Platypus also wrote for Kaneland, and these two issues were major there too. There were numerous bonus parts that I didn't even attempt, because they involved calculating the square root of non-obvious numbers to at least one more significant figure than I could do without trial-and-error... Then there were those repeat bonus parts in the final match...
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

On the "We should all be surprised that every category at IHSA State Series isn't Geography" front, Winnebago's boys bowling team advanced to state today with a score of 5,801 pins (5 bowlers * 6 games each for 30 total games), good for second place in the Freeport sectional. In IHSA bowling, it's just Sectionals, then State - each sectional advances the top 2 teams (plus some individual awards, but that's not my point).

Winnebago's total of 5,801 was worse than 21 teams that will not be headed to State next week, because they finished third or worse (in one case, seventh) in their own sectional.

Winnebago's total of 5,801 would also have won 3 different sectionals, including 2 of the 3 obviously Chicago-based sectionals (I'm not so good with the suburbs, so there might have been more sectionals based around Chicago - but Bago wouldn't have won them). The other Chicago-based sectional featured 5 teams ahead of Winnebago.

IHSA - Where champions go to die.

If Kaneland did Platypus questions, I'm gonna email Coach Dentino and inform him of my stats. So far, through the first three rounds of 'Bago Invitational matches (all I've gotten through) the best bonus conversion is Sterling and Auburn with 11/20, and only two matches (out of 36 total) featured multiple swept PLEASE MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I SPEAK NEITHER LATIN NOR ENGLISH. Goodness.
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Post by Tegan »

styxman wrote: If Kaneland did Platypus questions, I'm gonna email Coach Dentino and inform him of my stats. So far, through the first three rounds of 'Bago Invitational matches (all I've gotten through) the best bonus conversion is Sterling and Auburn with 11/20, and only two matches (out of 36 total) featured multiple swept PLEASE MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I SPEAK NEITHER LATIN NOR ENGLISH. Goodness.
I'll share a little philosophic anecdote .....

Many years ago, when the IHSA was convinced to drop Answers Plus as their question provider, and I was given charge of writing/editing the state questions, a few people in on the writing process sat down and had a long talk about "How should the questions look?" "How hard should they be?"

We decided that a successful round would essentially be:
1. An average team can get 80-90% of the toss-ups at any point (Regionals)
2. The best teams can get 80-90% of the toss-ups (sectionals/state)
3. Using the same criteria, no bonus should go without any points being scored.
4. Only 10-20% of bonuses should be swept by the average team. Only very good teams should be in a position to sweep bonuses more than that. Our philosophical base was: sweeping a bonus should be like hitting a home run ... not entirely rare, but not so common either.

I know that philosophy may not resonate equally with everyone. The idea was not to have certain questions "impossible" to answer ..... it was just a target number that we were looking at to find the balance between making things too difficult and too easy. I'm not sure we ever acheived it, mostly because the questions were being written for two very different groups: Class A and AA. That year, the average scores were very low in Class A (the Class A champion may not have broken 100 points out of a maximum of 900). Of course, written as a reaction to Answers Plus, I think we over stepped and erred on the side of too difficult. In more recent years, the pyramidal nature of questions was being lost. The new state rules should change that.

That few rounds without multiple sweeps would not alarm me, unless the questions were just blatantly bad....even with two great teams like Sterling and Auburn. This can look more alarming if you are usedto bonuses that are so easy that sweeps are more routine, but in fact may hardly be too alamring.
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Post by friarup »

I've noticed no one has posted the results from Fremd yet. SO, without much further ado...

1) Libertyville
2) Fenwick
3) Wheaton North
4) Glenbard South

As far as the tournament goes, Fremd did a nice job. THere were a few funky PLEASE MAKE FUN OF ME BECAUSE I SPEAK NEITHER LATIN NOR ENGLISH. It wasn't the material that was wierd, but the way they were written was confusing. Oh, well...The one thing I didn't like was the length of the rounds. Only 16 questions. Too short for me, personally. I thought the rounds ended rather abrubtly...

But in any event, congratulations to Libertyville for pulling out on top with two VERY close matches (Sudden Death vs. Wheaton North and winning by 5 points against us in the championship match).
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Post by actoftheapostle »

some of the toss ups from winnebago like the madame bovary one were ridic
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Post by David Riley »

Why was a Madame Bovary question ridic?
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Post by actoftheapostle »

it asked for her husband's occupation, and a clue was that he treated someone's leg, and no one was brave enough to buzz in and say doctor until like 5 seconds after the question ended.
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Post by MJG »

Sorry about the puppy killing. As for bonuses: on ones side every team loves bonuses that are like "evaluate i^99, i^4, etc" and "name these stages of mitosis" because they are such an easy 20 points. But you have to think on the flip side. Because as much as I love sweeping bonuses, it sucks to have bonuses swept on you, especially when the tossup was a stupid buzzerbeater. I think that on a bonus, 1 to 2 parts should be relatively easy (ie most average teams should get it) because I don't think it's right to stick a really hard bonus in there, and perhaps by chance hit an area that the other team really knows (I am thinking about myself and "name the Senator or Governor" bonuses) and come out with a net loss of 10 points after answering the tossup. That just doesn't seem right to me.
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Post by harpersferry »

New Auburn posters, please identify yourselves, as per board rules.

About the timing--My understanding was you don't stop the timer, but if it goes off while the first team is answering incorrectly, you give 3 seconds to the other team. Does the same thing go if there are fewer than 3 seconds left? Or do you just get the remainder (whether its 2.99 or .1 seconds)?
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Post by dtaylor4 »

The rule is that the clock doesn't stop while someone is answering, and if the answer is wrong, the opposing team gets either the rest of the 10 seconds (30 on calculation) or three seconds, whichever is longer.
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Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Tegan wrote:
We decided that a successful round would essentially be:
1. An average team can get 80-90% of the toss-ups at any point (Regionals)
2. The best teams can get 80-90% of the toss-ups (sectionals/state)
3. Using the same criteria, no bonus should go without any points being scored.
4. Only 10-20% of bonuses should be swept by the average team. Only very good teams should be in a position to sweep bonuses more than that. Our philosophical base was: sweeping a bonus should be like hitting a home run ... not entirely rare, but not so common either.
Question writers should definitely hold to a guideline like this when you write questions for a tournament. Maybe you change the numbers a bit to suit your liking, or the tournament, or the round number, or the level of difficulty of the teams involved, but a good tournament allows for a high percentage of tossup conversion with all bonuses giving some points. One more criteria I'd like to add to the list Mr. Egan provided is in regards to the weaker third of the field - no match should end with less than 20% of the total points collected (120 in a 20 tu match). It's easy to do in pyramidal style, because you can write 5 out of 20 tossups in a round with unbelievably easy answer selection that are still competitive by their pyramidal nature. Add in the fact that 3 out of the 4 math questions are usually very accessible, and it's easy to make sure that you get . I think you'll be surprised at the number of matches that didn't top 100 points combined at Winnebago, when I finish compiling the stats.
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Post by David Riley »

Brad--while I generallu agree with you, I think this needs to be scruitnized under the microscope a little.

As a former question writer, I found this to be increasingly difficult. As a literature and humanties person, I found it impossible. A coach once complained to me that "Expecting seniors in high school to know anything aboutt Milton is asking too much". How many coaches did this particular coach represent? As I've pointed out before, I know schools in IUllinois who offer Brit Lit as a one semester elective. If the majority of schools are like this, how can question writers expect to write quality questions? I admit that most commercial question writers write for individual matches and not tournaments, but still....

I have noticed a shift in quiz bowl within the last few years, however. One year I wrote questions for a fr/so tournament where no less than sixteen teams had student that knew virtually everything. The next year I wrote for the same tournament and several coaches complained "You should write more questions that freshmen could answer". There was no problem the year before, what happened?

I applaud Aegis and NAQT for not compromising standards. But how many teams can uphold them?
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Post by Tegan »

I think one thing we need to look at though is the fact that all competive ventures tend to have cyclic natures to them ..... there will be years where there are many great teams,and years where there are fewer ..... same with players. There are years the best team is truly one for all time, and years where they were lucky to face a weak field. Such is the way of things.

Another issue, and I shockingly see more of this in downstate Illinois as a whole, is that coaches tend to be rather cutthroat in their efforts to win. In other words, anything that could potentially hurt my team is automatically bad, and means the end of the world. I'd like to think that while I can spot trends that can hurt my team, I can also differentiate between that and trends that are better for the overall improvement of the competition.

I am greatly concerned that the two rules that were passed to lengthen the game (pyramid questions and the longer half-time) will bring loud howls of protests from many coaches who will blame the questions, and demand a change.
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Post by Trevkeeper »

David Riley wrote:A coach once complained to me that "Expecting seniors in high school to know anything aboutt Milton is asking too much".
Only if the players do no work outside of actual school to prepare for Scholastic Bowl. Here are the works that have been in my high school curriculum (* denotes a book that I selected from a group of possible books to read):

Hobbit, Odyssey, Siddhartha, Romeo and Juliet, Grendel, A Tale of Two Cities, Catcher in the Rye, Pride and Prejudice, A Doll's House*, Our Town*, The Great Gatsby*, Winesburg Ohio*, Mississippi, Oracle Night*, The Awakening, A Confederacy of Dunces*, To the Lighthouse*, Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness, Richard III, Dante's Inferno, Power and the Glory, Jekyll and Hyde, Picture of Dorian Gray, Light in August, and various poets (specifically Frost, Dickinson, and the more well known Romantic and Victorian poets).

I'm sure I missed a few, but that is most of them. Now, while almost of all those works will come up in schobowl fairly frequently, that list alone is not nearly sufficient enough to be a good lit player. Some authors, such as Milton, simply aren't common in high schools. And that's what typically separates good teams and bad teams -- a desire to learn information not presented in the standard school curriculum.
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Post by First Chairman »

There is a problem with writing questions to the level of the field: it's the same argument theoretically as writing questions to a specific team. Sure, we should write questions in which 80% of all tossups should be answerable... but since we do not really have a test pool of students to be sure this is the case, it's hard to just tell people that they are answerable.

I don't mean to insult coaches, but blaming writers for the shortcomings of their teams is absurd. It would be like parents blaming teachers for their own children not getting perfect scores on tests. Sure, talent can go through cyclical cycles, but the reason why there is presumably a curriculum is to make sure that there is still a fundamental standard set of skills and questions that one expects to see. We're not at the point of being so standardized it's like the SAT, but the content of what is usually asked in any game should increase in a predictable manner (or rather mostly predictable).

I'm sure many teachers have issues with NCLB (No Child Left Behind), but Congress isn't going to change those rules on the sole basis of complaints from teachers. I'm sure that these teachers wouldn't have agreed that those two moves really increase the quality of the qb experience because they do not agree with the philosophy that those changes are better. I would be interested if they would ever decide to post on this forum and hear the side of those who have a more national view of the game... then we'll see.

As it is, the college group has some unofficial expectations or guidelines for difficulty when it comes to an expected combined score and bonus conversion. I don't know whether we have gotten any standards for "difficulty", so I defer to the current group of uber-writers and editors for their input.
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Post by Tegan »

Two things:

1. Just in case there are any folks out there involved with any Illinois Octangular Touranments (this includes the Fenwick Bloodbath, and events at Springfield and Unity High Schools), PLEASE do not discuss questions on this forum until after February 11.

2. One of the frosh-soph teams at the Octangular this year did very poorly, yet the coach's attitude was: They need to learn .... This will help them get better. It was refreshing! Another frosh-soph coach made a point that his team was complaining after a win because they did not break 100.

At this tournament, I essentially copy the varsity questions to the fr-soph, eliminating calc, trig, some advanced algebra, and some of the more advanced lit, science, and history/gov't topics. I would say 60-70% of the questions are the same. While this is common in other states, it is rare in Illinois. I don't do it to humiliate the frosh-soph teams ....I do it to give them a bar to reach for. At this point in the season, IMO, this is something to do with them.
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Post by David Riley »

Trev--I think you're misinterpreting my premise. I don't expect them to have a working knowledge of Paradise Lost, but they should at least know that it was written by Milton. That's what the question asked, and that's what the coach was complaining about! IMNSHO, and many scholasrs agree with me, Chaucer, Milton, and Shaklespeare are the greatest writers in the English language; one should at least have a passing acquaintance with their major works.





"I'm not an intellectual snob, I'm a cognitive scientist!"
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Post by Tegan »

David Riley wrote:"I'm not an intellectual snob, I'm a cognitive scientist!"
Claiming ot be a scientist would be like me claiming I am healthy enough to run the marathon.

As I tell my students: in the realm of pseudoscience, some things are obvious, like astrology, fortune telling and educational research, but even things that have the word "science" in them aren't sciences .... like political and social.
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Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Oh yeah... about the Octangular tournaments - could you post the results here, coach? I won't, 'cause I a) will probably get them wrong and b) don't know 3-4 for the frosh-soph.
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Post by Stained Diviner »

Varsity: 1. Park Ridge Maine South; 2. Park Ridge Maine East; 3. Wilmette Loyola; 4. Naperville North
Frosh/Soph: 1. Wilmette Loyola; 2. Park Ridge Maine South; 3. Naperville North; 4. Homewood-Flossmoor

Rumor has it that a haircut is involved with the Frosh/Soph standings.
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Post by Tegan »

ReinsteinD wrote: Frosh/Soph: 1. Wilmette Loyola; 2. Park Ridge Maine South

Rumor has it that a haircut is involved with the Frosh/Soph standings.
I'm convinced that Maine South Fr-Soph could have beaten Loyola if Coach Biondo had offered to shave his head ..... but then again Coach Biondo is a sane, rational man. You offer to shave your head for winning Nationals or maybe state .... not some podunk 10 team tournament.


I mean, what is the deal going to be when Coach Riley has to sacrifice something if the Ramblers head to state in 2 years? I'm guessing the small lobe of his liver, or part of a lung!
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