MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

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Cassian
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MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Cassian » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:44 pm

We at LASA are in the process of putting together a team at Kealing MS, which is our main feeder middle school. We had our first practice with them last week, and we're looking to get them to a couple of tournaments this semester. What is the prevailing opinion among those of you with experience coaching MS teams about having them play in HS tournaments?

In Central Texas, due to the relatively small size of the circuit, we don't have any MS tournaments (LASA is going to try and host a mirror of the Collaborative MS Tournament in April, but who knows how that will go), and even our HS tournaments don't usually reach a sufficient size to make a JV division. That said, having seen the Kealing kids practice last week, I think they could hang with some of the HS teams in the area (and maybe even win a game or two against some B and C teams). I'm worried about discouraging them though, especially since these are magnet school kids who are used to being really good at the things they do. Also, I don't want to scare off any kids who would potentially be on my HS team in a couple of years by having them lose a bunch of games.

So, those of you with experience at this, what are your thoughts? Should I encourage them to come to the HS tournaments, knowing that it's unlikely they will get to play real games otherwise?
Jason Flowers
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The Liberal Arts and Science Academy
Austin, TX

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AlphaQuizBowler
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:39 pm

Playing in high school tournaments can be encouraging to middle schoolers if they know what they're getting in to. We had several middle school teams come to our JV tournament in the Fall, and though most didn't place highly, the coaches seemed to think it was a valuable experience, and the kids were having fun. One middle schooler ended up one of the top 3 individual scorers and led his team into the second playoff bracket. As long as they aren't going in with unreasonable expectations, they'll enjoy playing.
William
Alpharetta High School '11
Harvard '15

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dtaylor4
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:00 pm

William's right. Make sure that they know what they're getting into, and that they will be playing against older folk. The best way for them to get better at that stage is just to play.

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the return of AHAN
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by the return of AHAN » Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:15 pm

Given Kealing's performance on the KMO, they clearly have kids with a nice quizbowl knowledge base. Knowing what I know about MS KMO...with that caliber of kids? Yes, they will be able to handle the low end of high school opponents. I think middle schoolers sitting across from high schoolers are immune from feeling like failures in this kind of competition. In fact, IMO, any victory is going to make them feel like gods.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:20 pm

Definitely take them to all the high school tournaments you can. They will lose tons of matches by hundreds of points, but at the same time, they will see good players in action and thus be inspired to become good players. The sooner you get exposed to the real high school canon, the sooner you can start mastering it. The best way for inexperienced quizbowl players to get better is to play real quizbowl.
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Joe Romersa
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Joe Romersa » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:50 pm

How is this different from high schoolers going to college tournaments?
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AlphaQuizBowler
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:56 pm

al3xWal3x wrote:How is this different from high schoolers going to college tournaments?
The upper-level high school and lower-level college canons are much closer than the upper-level middle school and lower-level high school canons. Also, it's a lot more common for high schoolers to be doing college-level work than middle schoolers to be doing high-school level work.
William
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Matthew D
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Matthew D » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:53 am

Not so sure about that would be the case but I do think that Middle School players need to play as often as they can and if it is like our state, they can't get that playing at MS only tournaments because we have so few. Also, quality of questions that we see at tournaments around here is bad to be nice about...
Matt Dennis
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by 49-Mile Scenic Drive » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:50 pm

Having been in this situation once before, I think MS teams in High School tournaments can be very beneficial. My 8th grade year our middle school team was riding an undefeated record, finished 66-2, and Lee Henry somehow got us into Alabama's high school state NAQT tournament. We ended up placing 7th as 8th graders and even took down the best team, Russellville, and one of the best players in the country in Slade Gilmer. It definitely served a good purpose. I don't remember what our record was, seems like 7-5, but we had rounds where we got beaten pretty bad and then we had rounds where we won. In my opinion if someone wants to get really good at this game, a few beatdowns by other teams can only help fuel the determinaton, I know getting beat a few times, a couple being rather handily, my 8th grade year helped us and we went on to have a very successful next 4 years in high school.

EDIT: To agree with what Matt said above, the only consistent middle school tournaments are those ran on the crappy ASCA Format. Matt used to do a Middle School NAQT State tournament but I think interest for that may have died down a little. Most of the time if middle school teams play a non-ASCA middle school tournament it's usually in the JV Division at one of Alabama's high school tournaments or sometimes at UTC tourneys.
Mark Morris
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Rococo A Go Go
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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:15 pm

I think it's a great idea, and one I plan on using with Grayson County. I'm not yet sure if we'll be able to get the Middle School team to agree to it, but I would like to see them get to 1 or 2 HS tournaments this semester. I know several middle school teams that attend High School JV tournaments on a fairly regular basis, and that's definitely something to look into as well.
Nick Conder
Louisville, KY

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Re: MS Teams in HS Tournaments?

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:18 pm

My brother played fall novice this year as an 8th grader, had a great time, met cool people, and is now a billion more times more likely to play in high school. I highly recommend middle schoolers who are up for it playing in high school events.
George Berry
georgeberry.vcu@gmail.com
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