Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

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hailstate78
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Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by hailstate78 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:36 pm

Hello, I am restarting the Mississippi State quiz bowl team, and I had a few questions I was hoping the community here could answer. Also, I want to ensure nearby schools such as Ole Miss, Alabama, etc. are aware of this.

For context: the team had been active in the past, but had been defunct for a few years. This spring, I decided to restart it and held an interest meeting. We had in total around 40 interested people, and I expect we will have a few interested freshmen as well.

1. About what number of teams should be our limit? Even though we could field many, is two or three the regular number?

2. How do y'all primarily fundraise? Is it typical to host a high school tournament?

3. What do you find to be the best way to determine the teams? Is a mixture of written tests and mock questions with buzzers primarily used at your school?

If you have any more advice, I would appreciate that. If you are in the region, feel free to message me about any upcoming events.
Last edited by hailstate78 on Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John Haynes
Mississippi State University

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Re: Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by cchiego » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:31 pm

Great to see Mississippi State is restarting! I played against the late 2000s iteration of the team (I think they were mostly Madison Central alumni) and they were a good group of folks who were fun to have at events. Some responses to each of your questions:
1. About what number of teams should be our limit? Even though we could field many, is two or three the regular number?
Field as many teams as you can support since there will be attrition over time. A good general rule is, "if you come to read and scorekeep at the tournaments that we host to fundraise, then you can come compete at tournaments that we attend." A lot of people will drop out over the course of the year, so 40 people at an interest meeting might turn to 10 regulars by the Spring (and, if too many people graduate, then maybe no team in just a few years!). Always be recruiting and always be welcoming to new players by quickly sharing with them the resources available to improve (quizdb, the packet archive, this site, the many guides to improving, etc.) and being supportive to them no matter how good they are at first.
2. How do y'all primarily fundraise? Is it typical to host a high school tournament?
Hosting high school tournaments will almost certainly be the most lucrative way to raise funds. You should read the available TDing guides carefully, talk with other local hosts like Itawamba about what they've learned from hosting, and spend as much time possible training your club members as readers well in advance in the tournament to make sure that the tournament goes smoothly. That said, there are plenty of high school teams in Mississippi (though you should work to start more in the Golden Triangle--Starkville High would be a great initial target) and Alabama. With proper outreach, you should able to host 36+ team tournaments that would fund a good portion of your team budget. You should also definitely look into what your student government will offer you; though it may require jumping through some hoops and attending meetings, there's likely some funding available and over time you may be able to lobby for more. There may be other pots of money like a Provost's fund or a Student Competition Club fund available; ask around. You might also want to approach your Honors College and see if you could work out some kind of sponsorship with them--I know in the past Alabama for instance received a lucrative amount of funding from theirs.
3. What do you find to be the best way to determine the teams? Is a mixture of written tests and mock questions with buzzers primarily used at your school?
Determining teams is, in general, a fairly low priority task at the collegiate level. Be flexible with team composition at the start of the year and try out multiple combinations of players within practice and at tournaments to see how people work together. Keep in mind that PPG by itself is subject to all kinds of issues with shadow effects. If you do want to establish a clear A team for events like SCT and ACF Regionals this year, then sometime around the Winter Break would be ideal and you probably want to prize on-buzzer performance as well as the composition of subject specialties to ensure that everything is covered.

The biggest challenge for a MS State team initially is going to be getting to other collegiate tournaments. Get a logistics system in place quickly to figure out how to facilitate van rentals or sharing the driving burden since the range of tournaments will likely be from Auburn to Atlanta to Nashville to New Orleans (unless Ole Miss can step up and host things too, which would be wonderful!). These roadtrips can be great fun and are some of the best parts of college quizbowl, but they will require planning to make happen.

Also, keep in mind the difficulty of college-level sets can vary drastically between tournaments. While I don't think you want to do what Ole Miss has done and drive up to Kentucky to play on high school-level sets or fly out to California to play a novice event, be cognizant of the difficulty of each tournament. I would advise you to direct your resources initially to get as many players as possible to events designed to ease new players into college-level quizbowl like Collegiate Novice, ACF Fall, NAQT SCT, and the Spring Undergraduate-Level event.

Good luck! Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any other questions.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

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A Very Long Math Tossup
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Re: Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:02 pm

First of all, it's always great to see new teams popping up, especially in sparse circuits like the southeast. To answer your questions:
hailstate78 wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:36 pm
1. About what number of teams should be our limit? Even though we could field many, is two or three the regular number?
As many teams as you can afford, assuming all players want to play at the given difficulty (e.g. we sent 3 teams to ACF Fall, but only 2 teams to Regionals). Hell, Berkeley and Chicago have fielded J teams in the past.

Note that it's very common for interest to fall off after the first couple meetings, so you can probably expect to have 2-4 teams of people by ACF Fall.
2. How do y'all primarily fundraise? Is it typical to host a high school tournament?
Yep, this is very common. In addition to being a great source of income high school tournaments are also good for the local circuit, which can benefit your team a few years down the road. I'd recommend taking a look at this tournament hosting guide so you'll have a handle on what to expect. Hosting college tournaments is also an option, since it can give your players an opportunity to compete without needing to travel. There are trade-offs involved WRT fundraising, though: college tournaments tend to bring in more per team, but usually have much smaller fields.

At a lot of colleges, it's also possible to request funds through student government or the activities office. I'm not sure what the policy is at Mississippi State, but you should definitely look into this if you haven't already.
3. What do you find to be the best way to determine the teams? Is a mixture of written tests and mock questions with buzzers primarily used at your school?
Usually, I just keep individual score in practice and try to remember what categories everyone's good at. In most cases, a pretty obvious A team will emerge. Social dynamics should also be considered. It's rare that you'll need to make a hard decision, but if you do, I've found that dedication is a good way to break the symmetry (i.e. who shows up to practice the most). Any sort of formal tryout process is probably overkill unless you have a massive program like UChicago.

Best of luck to your team! If you have any other questions, feel free to post them. It may also be useful to take a look at the various lists of quizbowl resources out there.

EDIT: It looks like Chris beat me to the punch. Take his advice; it's really good.
Matt Mitchell
Colorado '20
Treasure Valley '16
QBNotify creator, Colorado Quiz Bowl founder, PACE member

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100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan
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Re: Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by 100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:37 pm

Both Chris and Matt have given excellent advice and I don't have a lot to add, but I'll just note that I go to Auburn and am plugged into the Southeastern circuit pretty well, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the circuit!

We tend to host 1-2 college tournaments per semester, and although I don't think I'll be the one doing the organizing for those this year, I'll try to make sure MSU ends up on our emailing list about them. We'd love to see y'all bring some teams, and we can generally be flexible if you have issues securing funding.
Chandler West
Auburn University 2016-20xx
Good Hope High School (Cullman, AL) 2012-16

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Re: Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by wjg » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:12 pm

It's really great to see a new quizbowl team starting, especially here in the southeast! All of the advice posted thus far is great, and I think it will definitely help in your efforts to build up your program. Like Chandler, I just mainly wanted to stop in to say hello and welcome you to the circuit. I'm the Vice President of the Quizbowl Club at the University of Florida. While we're a bit of a drive from you, we do host several tournaments a year that out of state teams in the southeast do often attend, and we travel out of state several times a year as well.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. I hope to see you and your teams around the circuit this fall and beyond!
William G.
Broward (dual enrollment) '18
Florida '22 (VP 2019-20)

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Re: Restarting the Mississippi State Quiz Bowl Team

Post by ramblinwreck » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:24 pm

Georgia Tech chiming in here! We host a bunch of tournaments throughout the year and we'll be sure to invite you! We always love to see more teams in the Southeast. Feel free to reach out here as well!
Tejas Santanam
The Early College at Guilford '18
Georgia Tech '22
PACE

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