Pennsylvania '07-'08

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mistermoravian
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Pennsylvania '07-'08

Post by mistermoravian »

As you may have deduced from my username, I'm Ben Schenkel from Moravian Academy. Despite my strong preference for pyramidal questions (a la NAQT or PACE), they're practically non-existent in eastern Pennsylvania, with the exceptions of Philly and its suburbs. Buzzer-beaters and an unusual selection method for Panasonic aside, I'm confident that several PA teams would thrive--even at the national level--if exposed to legit quizbowl.

That being said, I hope that my fellow PA quizbowlers somehow stumble on this thread. There's a lot of untapped potential in my state, and not just within better-known programs like State College, Shady Side, and maybe my alma mater.

Phew, my first post wasn't too painful! :grin:
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Post by Wall of Ham »

Yea, this thread will probably die soon. There are few PA teams interested in NAQT, as our state championship showed. I think it was canceled due to lack of interest. Neverless, there are plenty of teams in PA who can be good, if they practiced more/ played in more tournaments. The only tournaments I heard of that had pyramidal question were in Pittsburg, and our annual SCAT, which uses A sets. I haven't heard of Philly tournaments. Anyway, perhaps if we changed our state panasonic format to a more pyramidal format, maybe we could interest more people in our state to PACE and NAQT. Until then, travelling out of state is perhaps the best option for good competitions.
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Post by First Chairman »

The challenge: would anyone in east PA be interested in running a pyramidal-style question event? There are possibilities even going as far as... Delaware and Princeton to compete, but do you think anyone in that part of the state be interested in running something?

It will be tough to change your state format if it's under someone else's control. One needs to start making other formats more attractive somehow, and we know it can be done.
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Post by mistermoravian »

The challenge: would anyone in east PA be interested in running a pyramidal-style question event? There are possibilities even going as far as... Delaware and Princeton to compete, but do you think anyone in that part of the state be interested in running something?

It will be tough to change your state format if it's under someone else's control. One needs to start making other formats more attractive somehow, and we know it can be done.
Thanks for rescuing this thread from its otherwise impending demise, which would only prove my original point: pyramidal quizbowl is a non-entity in some parts of Pennsylvania.

However, it's very reassuring that you and others have recognized our region's enormous potential. I'm almost positive that my school (Moravian) could run an inaugural tournament with a pyramidal format, probably in October or November. If a modest half of Scholastic Scrimmage's field attended (the eastern PA version), that would still translate to 17-18 teams; this estimate doesn't even include the dozen or so teams from elsewhere that have traditionally participated in our annual Olympiad, whose questions were (formerly?) provided by Questions Unlimited.

Also, I'm gung-ho about traveling to NAQT-style and similar tournaments, whether in the Lehigh Valley or beyond. (Although I can't speak for my teammates, I'm fairly confident that they'd agree.) Historically, our team has performed much better when there's a focus on academia rather than minutiae (hint, hint...). In fact, we won first place at Wilmington Charter's Fall Invitational, and the competitions at Rutgers, Princeton, and MIT could be feasible next year, depending on a variety of factors.

Assuming that we'll rendez-vous at PACE, you could hammer out details with my coach this weekend. There we'll give you the full scoop in person!
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Post by First Chairman »

Well, the thing to remember too... not all of us do just toss/bonus. There are other opportunities to do variations of quick-buzz formats... or in my case, even a no-buzz format. I do think that weaning people to appreciate pyramidal-style questions also means informing people that it does not mean you have to have longer essay-length questions. That's the hopeful goal of the Bootcamp pilot we want to run in July. We'll see how it goes.
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Post by btressler »

In the south to southeast corner of the state, other teams who have traditionally been good include Penn Manor, Manheim Township, Conestoga, and West Chester East. I have been able to get most of these to come to an NAQT event or two in Delaware.

If anyone is holding an event in or near this area I can give you a list of schools who competed in a February tournament at Conestoga and the coach's name listed in the program. I intend to do a snail mail for our tournament. There are at least 40 teams in the area, and maybe more since most of the local tournament limit schools to 2 teams. (I dare the Lancaster schools to tempt me to go to 80 teams in December.)

Dwight Kidder might also have some contact information that I do not. Here were the standings from a NAQT tournament he hosted in March 2006:

http://www.fraughtmachine.com/tournamen ... dings.html
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Post by Kyle »

Allentown Central Catholic came to the Harvard tournament last October - their first exposure to pyramidal questions - and said afterwards that they liked the style of questions. One of their players (Joey) was the tournament's leading scorer. We're talking about established teams with a strong base of knowledge that just happen to play a weird format with gems like:

Captain Nemo captained a ship called the Nautilis. Who was Captain Cook?
ANSWER: explorer

A title leviathan is hunted obsessively by Captain Ahab in a Herman Melville novel. What had the great whale Moby Dick done to Captain Ahab?
ANSWER: ate his leg

Trust me, it's not that hard to make players from Pennsylvania recognize the merits of pyramidal tossups. My roommate, three-time Pennsylvania state champ Adam Hallowell (with Emmaus) was converted by the end of the first Harvard practice. "If only we had known back in high school that NAQT existed," he said.
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Re: Pennsylvania '07-'08

Post by Kechara »

mistermoravian wrote:That being said, I hope that my fellow PA quizbowlers somehow stumble on this thread.
Something that can help with that (and with the issue as a whole) is introducing people on other teams to the board. Talk about the website and what makes the message boards cool. If you get people to check the site out, some will be interested and stay.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

Stat74 wrote:In the south to southeast corner of the state, other teams who have traditionally been good include Penn Manor, Manheim Township, Conestoga, and West Chester East. I have been able to get most of these to come to an NAQT event or two in Delaware.
I've been trying to get East (where I went to high school) to come to either of our high school tournaments at Maryland for the past three years to no avail. We were actually going to go to Princeton's tournament my senior year but got snowed out, and I do believe that one or two years ago they did go to a pyramidal tournament somewhere.

Maybe I'll see if I can't head to a practice and try to convince them to at least try out some more local pyramidal tournaments.
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Post by mistermoravian »

I'm really glad that you mentioned Allentown Central Catholic and Emmaus, two of the best teams in the Lehigh Valley. I have several friends on both squads, even though Central Catholic has been our Scholastic Scrimmage nemesis of sorts. :twisted:

Seriously though, Joey Garbarino is a top-notch player who would've thrived on pyramidal questions, as he proved at the Harvard tournament. (Incidentally, I know Adam Hallowell from both quizbowl and ARML, but he probably wouldn't remember me, a lowly freshman at the time!)

I agree that it won't be too difficult "converting" the Lehigh Valley to a more sophisticated variety of quizbowl. It's my hope that Moravian will host an introductory NAQT tournament (maybe a qualifier for the HSNCT?) this coming fall.

I should also point out that Moravian, as one of the only private high schools in the Lehigh Valley, does not belong to a quizbowl league. The public schools, on the other hand, compete regularly against each other, which may hinder them from expanding their networks (i.e. out-of-area competitions, whether :chip: or not) as conveniently as we have in recent years.

Although we at Moravian are somewhat detached from the local quizbowl scene--hence our initial exposure to NAQT--I'm still confident that our hypothetical tournament would galvanize many other teams. For example, we traditionally coordinate our annual Olympiad with Dieruff, another enthusiastic team that competed NAQT-style at either Rutgers or Princeton.

On an equally reassuring note, most Lehigh Valley schools already have quizbowl programs, thanks to Scholastic Scrimmage. Until my sophomore year, I just assumed that everyone refers to quizbowl as Scholastic Scrimmage, which we still do for the most part!

Finally, I can testify that the caliber of our teams often surpasses that of the questions. At a single tournament in central PA, most likely affiliated with you-know-who, I negged on both of the following doozies:

Which U.S. President oversaw the Trail of Tears?

*BUZZ* Martin Van Buren

Goes over to the other team --> Andrew Jackson...CORRECT!

(While Jackson initially authorized the Trail of Tears, Van Buren wound up enforcing it in 1838.)

The 2006 documentary Shut Up and Sing was prompted by controversial remarks...?

*BUZZ* Natalie Maines

Goes over to the other team --> The Dixie Chicks...CORRECT!

Looking on the bright side, we lucked out at a similar tournament when one of our bonuses had a Teen Jeopardy! theme... :wink:
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Just so you know, all NAQT events are HSNCT qualifiers (now even in Missouri thanks to rule changes). However, you can also make it a PACE affiliated tournament by talking to E.T Chuck or Byko on this board.

And hey Ben! Good luck pulling this off, I think it would be great. Something I would recommend doing though is mention this board in any emails and coach handouts for your tournament. You'd be surprised how much that can do.
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Post by Kyle »

mistermoravian wrote:Also, I'm gung-ho about traveling to NAQT-style and similar tournaments, whether in the Lehigh Valley or beyond. (Although I can't speak for my teammates, I'm fairly confident that they'd agree.) Historically, our team has performed much better when there's a focus on academia rather than minutiae (hint, hint...). In fact, we won first place at Wilmington Charter's Fall Invitational, and the competitions at Rutgers, Princeton, and MIT could be feasible next year, depending on a variety of factors.
Ben, I expect you in Cambridge on 11/10.
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Post by e_steinhauser »

Pitt has generally run two standard NAQT IS tournaments each year, one in the fall (October, usually), and Battle of the Burgh in February. CMU also traditionally runs a NAQT tournament at some point in the year, and we've coordinated A-level sets at various points in the region. Given the geographic exclusivity, I guess that really has left a dearth of possibilities for eastern PA (though I don't think anyone has made a fuss or tried to host one out there, anyway).

I don't think anyone from either school has posted announcements or results on this board in recent years, but I'll encourage the new group to start doing so.

Pittsburgh might be a bit of a hike from Moravian, but I'd encourage y'all to come down to the 'Burgh at least once and check out the competition in the western end of the state, along with the occasional Ohio or WV school.
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Post by btressler »

ikillkenny wrote:I've been trying to get East (where I went to high school) to come to either of our high school tournaments at Maryland for the past three years to no avail. We were actually going to go to Princeton's tournament my senior year but got snowed out, and I do believe that one or two years ago they did go to a pyramidal tournament somewhere.
I believe they did go to Princeton on the infamous year we played 11 prelim rounds and teams got home well after midnight.

They also attended Charter's Fall Tournament in Dec 2005:

http://www.charterschool.org/clubs/acad ... llpast.php

Eric, I believe NAQT treats Pennsylvania as two entities:

http://www.naqt.com/hs/geographic-exclusivity.html

If they can synch up the packets or dates correctly, Charter intends to go to either Pittsburgh, or possibly State College next year. The former would be preferable so that we can actually play State College.
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Post by e_steinhauser »

Stat74 wrote:Eric, I believe NAQT treats Pennsylvania as two entities:

http://www.naqt.com/hs/geographic-exclusivity.html

If they can synch up the packets or dates correctly, Charter intends to go to either Pittsburgh, or possibly State College next year. The former would be preferable so that we can actually play State College.
That's actually a very sensible policy.

State College has traditionally come to BotB, while the fall tournament is usually a more local affair. If things work out, I know that Pitt would be very happy to host Charter, Moravian, and any other school from beyond the Pgh metropolitan area.
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Post by Diplomacy Guy »

I'm glad that there seems to be some momentum building for NAQT tournaments in eastern Pennsylvania. As Kyle mentioned, I would have loved to have the opportunity to go to a few in my high school days. I've mentioned NAQT several times to my Emmaus coach, but it didn't generate any interest. Of course, a tournament right down the road at Moravian would be a whole lot more palatable than the Harvard tournament I invited them to. (I believe Emmaus even attended Moravian's Olympiad in 2002.)

It's true that the Lehigh Valley Conference has weekly quiz bowl matches in the fall, which might discourage them from coming to a tournament on a fall weekend. To that end, I'd make sure you invite a lot of teams from outside the Lehigh Valley too. I know from personal experience that there are several good squads from Carbon County whom we'd always play in our Panasonic qualifier; a few did well in Scholastic Scrimmage this year, and I know one Jim Thorpe alum on the Boston college bowl circuit. Ben, you probably have a similar list from Monroe County and elsewhere. Even if you can't get all the LVC teams the first time out, I'm sure a pyramidal cournament would make enough of a splash to draw them in the next year. So good luck, Ben! It'd be great to see the area get involved in this sort of thing.
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