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All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:39 am
by pblessman
The very exciting addition of the 2010 All-Star Tournament pushes the question of All-State/All-Star selection processes to the forefront of my mind. I saw how this was done in Illinois when I coached there, but Wisconsin and Indiana (the other two states I coached in) did not have All-State/All-Star selection processes. Thoughts that come to my mind:

Different activities in different states handle All-Star/All-State selection in different ways (and some separate the two concepts). Voting by coaches by Conference, voting for the whole state by coaches, voting by journalists… the latter is obviously not an option for quizbwol, but voting by coaches is certainly possible. One could also consider a purely stats-based system where All-State/All-Star selections are made purely on the performance of individuals during the State Championship, if this tournament has a large enough field to be representative of quizbowl in that state. One could also decide to have a mixed format (maybe six slots decided statistically, then the last two “wild cards” voted on by coaches). Or one could run an actual solo tournament as a qualifying event...

If your state has a process for selecting All-stars and/or All-State honorees, please share it here, and if you want to just throw in your two cents about what you think is the best way to do this, I would also appreciate the input!

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:29 am
by Tegan
I ran the Illinois All-State process from its inception up until about two years ago.

The IHSA divides the state into 8 sectionals for small schools (A) and 8 sectionals for big schools (AA). Each sectional has a seeding meeting about three weeks prior to the start of the state seres.

At the seeding meeting, each coach can nominate up to three players for consideration. There is a form to fill out regarding what the player has accomplished, and the coach submits a letter. The top 15 players, as voted by coaches, are named "All-Sectional", and get a little certificate. The top (I don't know how many ..... 5 or 6) are forwarded to the All-State committee for further consideration.

Each sectional has a voter on the committee, and they vote on the top 20 players. After all of the votes are tabulated from the committee, the top 10 are named "First Team All-State", and the next 10 are named "Second Team All-State".

It is not without problems ..... sometimes legitimate players are never even nominated by their coaches. Some sectionals have coaches who are strongly against having underclassmen nominated, no matter how deserving, and tend to vote against them. Some coaches have a "spread the wealth" mentality, and refuse to vote two or more players from the same team really high, in order to expand the number of teams earning honors.

To avoid that, I always had the elastic clause: if a coach feels they have a player who is really deserving, and did not get advanced, they could submit that name to me for final dispensation. It rarely happened, but it did end up saving a Fremd player who was once badly mistreated by the sectional coaches .... he ended up being voted First Team All-State, even though the coaches of his sectional voted him as the sixth or seventh best player (only two players above him from that sectional were voted All-State). I do not know if this system is still in place, but I thought it was effective in neutralizing coaches with agendas.

There have been those critical of this system for recognizing too many players. While comparing quizbowl to sports is verboten, as a comparison, wrestling, which likely has only a few more participants than scholastic bowl in Illinois) names 196 All-State players across three classes (compared to our 40). Illinois basketball honors 45 players as All-State, and an additional 54 "Honorable Mentions" (yes, basketball has vastly more people playing it). Illinois football honors 18 players per class (144 total). I think Illinois scholastic bowl is at least comprable given participation and such.

Another critique of the system is that there are often players in Class AA who are not being named All-State, while vastly inferior players are named All-State from Class A. It is a fair criticism, and I do not know if it will ever be acted on or not, or what the immediate solution is.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:59 am
by Stained Diviner
If IHSSBCA sends a team to the HSAPQ Tournament, then team selection will have to be a big part of the discussion. Team Illinois (which competed at PAC) was different than All-State, which is what Mr. Egan described above. When selecting Team Illinois in the past, a big part of it was selecting students who would do well in PAC format, where knowing when not to buzz was very important and buzzer speed played a role. We also needed a math whiz or two on the team, and we wanted somebody fluent in Spanish, French, or whatever languages they were using that year.

Picking an optimal team for the new tournament brings challenges of its own. You can't just pick the top individual scorers at certain tournaments, since being a top individual scorer requires a combination of good skills and weak teammates. Even though having a math whiz will no longer be important, having a balanced team still will be, so somebody who typically averages around 50 PPG but cleans up in science might be better for the team than a generalist who gets 70 PPG. We used to have a committee of about ten people who picked the team. When it came time to pick the last player or two, the decision often came down to figuring out who best filled the biggest hole left by the top students.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:30 pm
by Tower Monarch
Shcool wrote:Picking an optimal team for the new tournament brings challenges of its own. You can't just pick the top individual scorers at certain tournaments, since being a top individual scorer requires a combination of good skills and weak teammates. Even though having a math whiz will no longer be important, having a balanced team still will be, so somebody who typically averages around 50 PPG but cleans up in science might be better for the team than a generalist who gets 70 PPG. We used to have a committee of about ten people who picked the team. When it came time to pick the last player or two, the decision often came down to figuring out who best filled the biggest hole left by the top students.
When talking about the HSAPQ tournament, this is what you need to focus on. The top 4 players from a given state are almost guaranteed not to be the best team of 4 in that state. You really need someone (or, more likely, some group of someones) acting as a coach for this team. That person (group) must decide what combination will fill out the entire distribution of the tournament (rather than having four people know the answer to the same 70% of the questions, find complements that can answer the entire canon when put together). I think most selection processes has the unfortunate possibility of erring towards the four individuals rather than the team, so the key is to find people who know the circuit as a whole. If it's feasible, set up a tournament where possible candidates play on random teams to see what combinations do well.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:32 pm
by First Chairman
I can't speak entirely for NC, but in short, we vote based on performance at designated tournaments within the state (regardless of what out-of-state competitors come in). We are pretty flexible who else we consider, but I think it just boils down to a vote similar to Illinois except we don't have divisions.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:40 pm
by jonah
Tower Monarch wrote:If it's feasible, set up a tournament where possible candidates play on random teams to see what combinations do well.
I like this idea and definitely think it should be done if possible. Another requirement would seem to be that there aren't a very large number of candidates, because then you might need massively many rounds to find the best (or really great) combination.

However, if I recall correctly, there are some states in which it would be impermissible because football coaches don't allow chimera teams and such. What about using category results (if available) from a solo tournament; that might not be quite as good in determining teamwork, especially for bonuses, but would probably be helpful.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:50 pm
by at your pleasure
Also, try looking at any subject tournaments that candidates played in.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:53 pm
by jonah
Anti-Climacus wrote:Also, try looking at any subject tournaments that candidates played in.
Certainly, and perhaps what questions they produce are the best. Though unless I'm missing something, isn't high schoolers playing subject tournaments moderately uncommon (though by no means unheard of)?

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:57 pm
by Auroni
I know for a fact that for the past several years, Torrey Pines has just applied to be the California all-star team at Panasonic. I'm unsure how to get a true all-star team out from California other than stat analysis (having a qualifying tournament for the North and South circuits would be pretty difficult)

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:15 pm
by Tower Monarch
jonah wrote:
Anti-Climacus wrote:Also, try looking at any subject tournaments that candidates played in.
Certainly, and perhaps what questions they produce are the best. Though unless I'm missing something, isn't high schoolers playing subject tournaments moderately uncommon (though by no means unheard of)?
Is this something people would like to look into writing? I mean, it would not be that hard for a group of college players to write the equivalent of Ike's Lit Singles for Science, History, Fine Arts, and RMP (maybe lump Social Science in here). As long as they are no longer than Ike's, it would be more than possible to play them over the course of two dates (probably two separate Saturdays, but potentially one weekend). Some sort of statistical analysis would show how well a given set of four players (who would have played at least in the 2-3 tournaments in which they would do best of the 5) covers the entire distribution.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:59 pm
by rchschem
First Chairman wrote:I can't speak entirely for NC, but in short, we vote based on performance at designated tournaments within the state (regardless of what out-of-state competitors come in). We are pretty flexible who else we consider, but I think it just boils down to a vote similar to Illinois except we don't have divisions.
This is true. We publish individual stats for players and anyone who has played over a minimum number of tournaments (so we don't see flukey stuff) is eligible. This year I passed out a ballot and voters ranked players (most defaulted to the score rankings) and I used an instant runoff tally to determine the top 8. This gives voters a chance to make a case for a player.

Of course, we have a much smaller pool of players to deal with than most other states.

Eric

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:43 am
by kayli
In Florida, the way we select it is through the Commissioner's Academic Challenge which competes at the NTAE obviously. Counties are divided into three divisions based on population and one person is chosen from each county and the remaining three are chosen at large according to their strengths subject-wise.

Personally, I don't think it's very fair to choose based purely upon something like pp20th which can be hugely affected based on your teammates and competition. I think the best way would be to have individuals try out. Perhaps with one school being allowed to only try out four people. Alternatively, they could take at least two timed subject test based on the quizbowl canon taking clues from the high, middle, and low range difficulties. The best team can thus be selected based upon how well they complement one another.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:39 am
by rchschem
kldaace wrote: Personally, I don't think it's very fair to choose based purely upon something like pp20th
Which is why we don't. We rank this performance, which is over the entire season, and provide this information for voters. Voters can write in any player they want or rank the players in any way they want. It is an instant-runoff ballot, which means voters choose their top 8 players. Many people default to the ppth, but many people vote straight tickets in politics, too. Also, one of those rankings is an individual timed broad-subject area test, the High School Celebrity Shoot. Sure, it's biography only, but a good reflection of individual ability that is not subject to the masking that comes from having a really strong player on one team or rolling weak teams in competition.

Your other suggestions are all good ideas but would require an extra session of competition, which is hard to come by for us. Also, in NC, our all-star team is purely for recognition as we've never fielded a team for Panasonic (or whatever it's called now). So we haven't had a need for matching players based on complementary strength.

Re: All-State/All-Star Selections

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:15 pm
by kayli
rchschem wrote:
Which is why we don't. We rank this performance, which is over the entire season, and provide this information for voters. Voters can write in any player they want or rank the players in any way they want. It is an instant-runoff ballot, which means voters choose their top 8 players. Many people default to the ppth, but many people vote straight tickets in politics, too. Also, one of those rankings is an individual timed broad-subject area test, the High School Celebrity Shoot. Sure, it's biography only, but a good reflection of individual ability that is not subject to the masking that comes from having a really strong player on one team or rolling weak teams in competition.

Your other suggestions are all good ideas but would require an extra session of competition, which is hard to come by for us. Also, in NC, our all-star team is purely for recognition as we've never fielded a team for Panasonic (or whatever it's called now). So we haven't had a need for matching players based on complementary strength.
Oh. I meant that that would be a better way to choose people to attend an all star tournament like HSAPQ or NTAE not necessarily for accolades. Sorry.