Tennessee 2015-2016

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Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by johntait1 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:41 pm

I thought I'd start this topic to post general things about the Tennessee circuit since the school year is about to start up again.

For Farragut High School, we're going to be doing some major rebuilding within our quizbowl club. The core of the teams that finished 53rd at HSNCT the past two years and of the team that somehow finished 8th at PACE last year will be gone. The major focus over the past few years have been on the varsity team, so I'll be in charge of doing some major perestroika with the JV team. Our quizbowl club probably won't be too active this year, but hopefully with some successful rebuilding we'll become pretty good soon.

In contrast, our History Bowl team will be pretty active. Our varsity team retains the core that finished 5th at Nationals last year and 2nd at Nationals the year before, so hopefully we'll do well senior year. Last year was our major rebuilding year with our JV team, so hopefully our JV team will put up some great results this year. Our sponsor for History Bowl also has a bit more time than our quizbowl sponsor, and the administration isn't quite as against History Bowl compared to quizbowl, so we'll probably have a bit more success with hosting and the like, although nothing is really certain with our administration.

Our varsity team is pretty strong all around at history. I've got European History, US History, Asian History, Latin American History, religion, and Ancient History mostly covered. Yongyu Chen, our second scorer, is really good at literature, philosophy, social science, music, and geography. He also has some of random deep knowledge about other aspects of history. Our third scorer, Kevin Hong, basically gets really impressive buzzes on the most random subjects. He also has pretty good knowledge of musics history, biology history and recent history. Our fourth scorer, Ronik Sheth, provides good backup on Ancient History and has some pretty good knowledge of trash history and recent history. All of our members have taken art history, so we share buzzes on that, although Yongyu and I get most of the art history. Ronik and I have taken Latin, so we sort of split the mythology, with me knowing more Greco-Roman and him getting a bit more Norse and Japanese.

Our JV team is a bit more flexible with several good role players to complement two really solid players. Kevin Chen is our top scorer and covers a similar base as me with the exception of US History--Eric Wang, our second scorer, has really good US History knowledge and backs up Kevin on most topics. They've also both taken art history so they share some knowledge on that. Roger Chen gets really nice buzzes on trash along with some random aspects of history. Will Hong has really good science knowledge and helps out a bit on US History, while Dennis Ross has really nice sports knowledge. Music is covered sort of collectively by the team. They might need a bit of work on literature, philosophy, and other minor topics, but the combination of Kevin and Eric is really strong. I'd actually say that at the end of freshman year they were a lot better than our team that got second at Nationals when we were at the end of freshman year, so I think they can do really well at Nationals. They'll probably be a bit underestimated because of a mediocre freshman year, just like our team that got second at Nationals, but I think they can maybe even surpass us if they put in some serious studying.

I'll end by talking a bit about what I know about things around Tennessee. In East Tennessee, quizbowl has taken a pretty big hit recently because of a decreasing number of tournaments. The biggest problem has been that there aren't really tournaments for JV kids, so many of them lose interest, meaning there aren't too many good quizbowl teams that I know of. Oak Ridge has traditionally been our rival in East Tennessee, but I'm not sure how good they are now since they haven't done that much quizbowl after Will Mason graduated. I think the key is that there needs to be a major focus on more JV tournaments in East Tennessee to get more people interested early, because if people don't start as freshmen or sophomores they probably won't do so as juniors, since schoolwork starts to be time consuming.

I do think that History Bowl in East Tennessee is in a decent shape. Our tournament last year actually drew more teams than the year before, so there's been some improvement. The really nice part is that I've seen a lot of good JV players, so there's definitely some potential there. Also, at the state tournament, there were a lot of really good JV players, so I think Tennessee History Bowl in general will be getting better. This does make sense, since over the past few years Tennessee teams have been way more successful at NHBB Nationals than at HSNCT or NSC.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by kmattix » Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:13 pm

I posted this in last year's forum, so I just want to reiterate it here:
I setup a West Tennessee Quizbowl blog/website in order to help West tennessee (and the surrounding area) maintain a standard of good quizbowl. The site is up at https://west-tn-quizbowl.herokuapp.com/. If any quizbowl vets want to help me write some content, please email me at clear2codeu@gmail.com.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by rranga16 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:36 pm

I know what's going on in West TN for the most part. In West TN, there were many dominant teams, such as Houston HS, Lausanne, MUS, Germantown, and White Station, with Houston, MUS, and Lausanne featuring on Fred Morlan's list of quiz bowl teams as of June 2015. I know that Houston graduated their top scorers Arunabh Singh and Collin McLeod (in that order), and MUS graduated their "tag team duo" Richard Ouyang and Yunhua Zhao. I expect some people on Houston's B Team and MUS's B Team, in addition to the people that are already on their A teams, to fill the void. Germantown has graduated Harshil Pathak and Analia, but their top scorers, Apurva and Keith, remain. I know Lausanne has not graduated anyone for quiz bowl, but for History Bowl, we lost Ben Staton, who had an incredible depth at music history and knew pretty much most of history at a very good level. However, our core 3 of me, Reece Economides and Matthew Crowe remain, and we cover pretty much most of history with us 3, and we are looking to expand our program throughout MS to get people interested from a young age.
Now, for Quiz Bowl. We have not graduated anyone, and our core 4 (Reece, Ara Hanissian, Rishab Jain, and I) are all there. My main strength is geography (I have placed at USGO multiple times and I got 4th in the National Geographic Bee in 2012), and I have most of the world map covered. I also have trained into becoming a history player thanks in a huge part to my amazing history teacher who really helped me out and started our History Bowl team with me. In addition, I have tried becoming somewhat of a science player, and am currently working on that, but me and my teammate Rishab split that.
Reece is a solid history player with his main specialty being Ancient History and Russian stuff post-Time of Troubles. He has many other areas down that I am not able to remember at this moment. In addition, Reece is an extremely gifted trash player with a penchant for sports knowledge and some musical knowledge as well. I can always count on Reece to get a sports question right, as he seems to know most everything about all American sports and the franchises.
Ara is our main literature player (though Reece and I are working on backing him up) and he is also our go-to philosophy guy. Ara and I also split mythology, and he also makes incredibly random buzzes which the rest of our team is incredibly confused by. We always call him our esoteric player. In addition, Ara knows a lot about random musical groups and rock bands (He got a Gorillaz power at HSNCT).
Rishab is a solid well-rounded player. His main strengths are politics (he can name most senators and representatives and it baffles me how he can do it), current events, some hockey-related trash, geography (he is a solid backup to me. If I don't know an answer I can count on him to do that), science, and he knows a lot about ancient Indian history. We split the Indian history and religion, and because of his knowledge of Jainism and my knowledge about Hinduism, we complement each other. In addition, Rishab and I are on the science bowl team, and even though that has no bearing on quiz bowl, it helps us incorporate science knowledge into Quiz Bowl.
This year, I can see Western Tennessee as trying to expunge bad quiz bowl. I know one of the Germantown players Keith Mattix created a website and a Facebook group trying to "preserve the good quiz bowl" and I am completely for doing that. I really can't speak for other teams, but I know I am working to promote interest in my school to preserve quiz bowl there (I am a senior and the rest of my team is juniors). We really didn't practice that much this year, as we were mostly a first year team, and this year, we look to build on our 77th place finish at HSNCT, and I look to improve my scoring total there (I had 2 bad rounds so it was lower than I would like it to be).
Last edited by rranga16 on Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Unicolored Jay » Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:26 pm

johntait1 wrote: I'll end by talking a bit about what I know about things around Tennessee. In East Tennessee, quizbowl has taken a pretty big hit recently because of a decreasing number of tournaments. The biggest problem has been that there aren't really tournaments for JV kids, so many of them lose interest, meaning there aren't too many good quizbowl teams that I know of. Oak Ridge has traditionally been our rival in East Tennessee, but I'm not sure how good they are now since they haven't done that much quizbowl after Will Mason graduated. I think the key is that there needs to be a major focus on more JV tournaments in East Tennessee to get more people interested early, because if people don't start as freshmen or sophomores they probably won't do so as juniors, since schoolwork starts to be time consuming.
So I'm curious, who is actually hosting tournaments in East Tennessee, how many are there in a given year, and how many teams would you say are "active" in attending them? Are they good quizbowl (in particular, what sets are they being run on)?

If I can get the quizbowl team at UTK up and running I'll make sure to host tournaments, but for me to have a good idea of what to expect I need to know more about the circuit and the problems it has. From what I've heard, the lack of JV tournaments doesn't seem to be the biggest problem - it appears to be a lack of good quizbowl tournaments in general, and I'm not sure what'd being done to fix this. In regards to the lack of active teams (I can name, like, maybe 3 high schools in the Knoxville area that do quizbowl?), is it because there are few schools with quizbowl teams, lack of interest, or administrative problems preventing schools from attending/hosting? How much outreach is being done in this region?
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by cchiego » Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:47 pm

Unicolored Jay wrote: So I'm curious, who is actually hosting tournaments in East Tennessee, how many are there in a given year, and how many teams would you say are "active" in attending them? Are they good quizbowl (in particular, what sets are they being run on)?
All areas of TN other than Nashville are in desperate need of more tournaments. There's a local East TN PBS "Scholars Bowl" TV show that should be your first stop at gathering contacts of potential teams to invite. Something like 50ish schools are apparently involved in that, according to news articles, but the website for that doesn't seem to work. I bet you could get someone to fwd you an email if there's an email chain of contacts or start looking up local schools' websites for contacts (probably under "Activities" and "Scholars Bowl"). Right now though, the only school that seems to host quizbowl on pyramidal questions is Oliver Springs.

Happy Valley is one of the few NE TN teams, but historically there have been others all the way through to Dobyns-Bennett in the Tri-Cities area. In SE TN, Morristown-Hamblen is probably your best bet as they have traveled quite some distance to attend tournaments before. The major Chattanooga privates of Baylor and McCallie have also had teams before and may still have something going on.

Rohan Nag has been compiling a good list of contacts for Middle and West TN; not sure how many contacts he has for East TN, but I bet y'all could collaborate.
kmattix wrote:I posted this in last year's forum, so I just want to reiterate it here:
I setup a West Tennessee Quizbowl blog/website in order to help West tennessee (and the surrounding area) maintain a standard of good quizbowl. The site is up at https://west-tn-quizbowl.herokuapp.com/. If any quizbowl vets want to help me write some content, please email me at clear2codeu@gmail.com.
More Memphis-area Knowledge Bowl people should see this and help Keith and co. out on this!
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by johntait1 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:19 pm

Unicolored Jay wrote:
johntait1 wrote: I'll end by talking a bit about what I know about things around Tennessee. In East Tennessee, quizbowl has taken a pretty big hit recently because of a decreasing number of tournaments. The biggest problem has been that there aren't really tournaments for JV kids, so many of them lose interest, meaning there aren't too many good quizbowl teams that I know of. Oak Ridge has traditionally been our rival in East Tennessee, but I'm not sure how good they are now since they haven't done that much quizbowl after Will Mason graduated. I think the key is that there needs to be a major focus on more JV tournaments in East Tennessee to get more people interested early, because if people don't start as freshmen or sophomores they probably won't do so as juniors, since schoolwork starts to be time consuming.
So I'm curious, who is actually hosting tournaments in East Tennessee, how many are there in a given year, and how many teams would you say are "active" in attending them? Are they good quizbowl (in particular, what sets are they being run on)?

If I can get the quizbowl team at UTK up and running I'll make sure to host tournaments, but for me to have a good idea of what to expect I need to know more about the circuit and the problems it has. From what I've heard, the lack of JV tournaments doesn't seem to be the biggest problem - it appears to be a lack of good quizbowl tournaments in general, and I'm not sure what'd being done to fix this. In regards to the lack of active teams (I can name, like, maybe 3 high schools in the Knoxville area that do quizbowl?), is it because there are few schools with quizbowl teams, lack of interest, or administrative problems preventing schools from attending/hosting? How much outreach is being done in this region?
Some of this has already been covered by Mr. Chiego above; I'm mostly just stating my replies to your post.

1. Last year we had three tournaments in Tennessee. The first one is the local PBS Scholars Bowl TV tournament that is run on questions that the hosts make themselves, so I don't really even consider it a quizbowl tournament at all, but our quizbowl team goes so I put it on here.

The second tournament was the History Bowl tournament we hosted at Farragut High School, which had twelve teams. We ran it on NHBB C set last year because it is a bit easier so that new players can get in. Unfortunately, I've gotten word from our sponsor that there's no possible way for us to host this year, likely due to issues with our administration(it has gotten so bad that our quizbowl club's sponsor had to quit). This is extremely unfortunate because we actually got a large amount of new players and teams last year and we were really looking forward to expanding it this year. If UTK could somehow host, it would really help us out a ton. Pretty much all we would need is somewhere to play because our school can't provide that this year. Everything else we could help out since we have experience hosting from last year-we had a student help direct the tournament, all of the staffers were Farragut kids, we got buzzers from History Bowl, and History Bowl provides questions and money for the director I believe. So if UTK could somehow reserve some rooms for us to use that would help our club a lot, you guys would get the money from History Bowl I believe.

The third tournament was the Bobcat Challenge at Oliver Springs High School. The tournament was attended by 8 teams, and was run on an NAQT A set.

There aren't too many good teams playing good quizbowl here. Farragut and Oak Ridge are the traditional powerhouses, and both attended several tournaments last year. We brought six teams to our own History Bowl tournament(lots of kids want to play if there's a tournament nearby, but they don't want to travel, so we managed to get six teams plus we had enough to staff the tournament), two teams to the Bobcat Challenge, and two teams to History Bowl state. Oak Ridge brought two teams to the Bobcat Challenge, one team to History Bowl state, and one player attended our tournament but only played History Bee and Geography Olympiad.

At the Bobcat Challenge, McCallie and L&N Stem Academy also brought two teams, Happy Valley brought two teams, and I managed to get contact information from them. At our regional History Bowl tournament Jefferson County brought a team, Morristown West brought two teams, and William Blount brought three teams, and I should have contact information from them still. For our tournament I also emailed a bunch of other schools using the contact information from Rohan Nag, but I didn't get replies from too many so I assume there aren't too many other active teams out there.

2. I don't know about other teams, but at my school the biggest problems are probably the administration and the lack of interest from other schools when we do manage to host. I've already mentioned the administration issues before and it really hurts us because hosting definitely helped our team out a ton last year, since many of the more casual players love a tournament close to home that they can just up and have fun at. Last year with hosting the biggest problem we had was that it was hard to find teams due to there being so little good quizbowl in the area. I don't think there are too many quizbowl teams period and the ones that exist are often hampered by various issues--in Farragut's case mostly the administration.

3. I don't think there's too much outreach being done in East Tennessee. The only outreach I know of is that I handed out flyers to the teams we met at TV tournament for our regional competition and we also mailed a lot of schools with information about the tournament. Outreach seems like it definitely would be very useful, especially talking with teachers or administrators in person.

4. If UTK could host some tournaments that would be wonderful. Coming into the year as an officer in both our quizbowl and history bowl club, I was really hoping to maybe add a quizbowl tournament along with Farragut's current History Bowl tournament; now both are not happening due to the administration, but I'd be willing to do anything to help with growing quizbowl in the area. If it's a quizbowl tournament I'll certainly try to find members to attend--I don't know what else we could do since even our buzzer sets are missing or have some broken buzzers or belong to a team member that's going to college now. If it's a history bowl tournament our team can use our experience from hosting--everything ranging from contacting teams to actually staffing--to help with the tournament; pretty much all we need is some rooms right now.


If you have any other questions or if you'd like clarification/additional information on anything, please post here! I'd like to share as much information about East Tennessee quizbowl as possible to hopefully grow quizbowl in the area.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by yeah viv talk nah » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:07 pm

Unicolored Jay wrote: So I'm curious, who is actually hosting tournaments in East Tennessee, how many are there in a given year, and how many teams would you say are "active" in attending them? Are they good quizbowl (in particular, what sets are they being run on)?

If I can get the quizbowl team at UTK up and running I'll make sure to host tournaments, but for me to have a good idea of what to expect I need to know more about the circuit and the problems it has. From what I've heard, the lack of JV tournaments doesn't seem to be the biggest problem - it appears to be a lack of good quizbowl tournaments in general, and I'm not sure what'd being done to fix this. In regards to the lack of active teams (I can name, like, maybe 3 high schools in the Knoxville area that do quizbowl?), is it because there are few schools with quizbowl teams, lack of interest, or administrative problems preventing schools from attending/hosting? How much outreach is being done in this region?
So to add on to what Daniel has posted:

When I was in high school, there were very few tournaments within a reasonable driving distance that we could get people from Farragut to be interested in. The only tournaments that proved to be popular among the quizbowl "group" were Vanderbilt ABC and UTC's Trevor's Trivia and Dennis Haskins Open (a 1.5 hr drive away). We brought two or three teams to all of these tournaments. After the UTC events were (unfortunately) discontinued, interest in quiz bowl at our school (and, I assume, at other local schools) dropped dramatically. Our quizbowl "team" dropped from around 15 people to just Kai, me, and [two out of] Jimmy Terrell, Ronik Sheth, and Yongyu Chen.

We ended up having to drive at least 2 hrs to Kentucky or Georgia or West Tennessee to go tournaments. If not for the amazing service offered by Kai's father when he drove us to every tournament without fail, we would probably have not gone to a single "good quizbowl" tournament.

Although the state championship TACA does run on NAQT sets, the format is poor (worksheets, etc.) and the organization is lackluster. There's also a trivia tournament run by PBS (which Farragut won this year, yay) but we basically only played it because of the prize money (lol).

I'd say the greatest problem is just the lack of quizbowl tournaments (not History Bowl) in East Tennessee. Basically, there is no East Tennessee quizbowl circuit. * There's no outreach either.

This has caused a dearth of schools interested in quizbowl - from what I've heard, Farragut and Oliver Springs are the only two schools that do quiz bowl. And although we have strong interest in History Bowl, Farragut quiz bowl will probably die when the class of 2016 (the last remaining quizbowlers) graduates.

At my school there were some administrative difficulties. However, I don't think this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

If UTK could become a quizbowl hub and begin hosting tournaments on a somewhat regular basis, I think that interest in quizbowl at schools in East Tennessee would definitely rise. Since so many other events (Engineer's Day, Fermat math competition, etc.) occur at UTK and successfully attract a ton of interest from all over the state, I think quizbowl definitely has a chance to be kindled in the area.

Feel free to PM me or post here if you need any more info.

* (Actually, the only tournament scheduled in East Tennessee this year is the Oliver Springs Scholastic Scramble - which has been postponed indefinitely.)
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by rranga16 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:01 pm

In Memphis and the surrounding areas, there is a strong preference against NAQT format questions, and it is mostly because there is a false belief that they take more time. I have tried to explain that NAQT rounds can use clocks (like at HSNCT), but Memphis people love their News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl too much to ever change. That being said, more teams from schools that I have never heard of are participating and are driving 80-90 miles for some of these tournaments, and this is good news for the Memphis area. Our quiz bowl circuit is growing, but we need more people to emphasize that NAQT questions do not take more time and that they have better questions than the one line trivia that we mostly see here. And for history bowl, I believe Lausanne is trying to host a B set tournament this year. We have contacted Mr Madden, and our school is finalizing details on whether or not they will host it, but if we do, we encourage anyone from West TN (and beyond) to come! If it comes through, I will post it on this thread at a later date
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by kmattix » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:21 am

Our quiz bowl circuit is growing, but we need more people to emphasize that NAQT questions do not take more time and that they have better questions than the one line trivia that we mostly see here.
This is why we are hosting the Germantown Fall Invitational, which will be held on September 19th at the GHS campus in Germantown, TN. For right now, the field cap is 16 teams (subject to change). The format will be a round-robin with two divisions of eight in the morning; the top two teams of each bracket will proceed to playoffs after lunch.This time, there will not be separate varsity and JV divisions. The question set will be the 2015 Brookwood Invitational Scholars' Bowl Set. For more information about the set, see this link: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... sb#p307444. The base fee is $65 per team (with discounts of $5 per working buzzer set and per 50 miles driven one way). We will be keeping detailed individual and team stats, which will be updated after each round. Trophies and book prizes will be awarded to the top teams and individual scorers (based off the morning rounds) respectively. We also intend to have concessions for purchase in the morning and afternoon. More information will be provided as we get closer to the date. To register, please reply to this post as soon as possible. If you have any questions about attending, you can email us at ghskbowl@gmail.com.

Updates posted here: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =1&t=17779
Last edited by kmattix on Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by cchiego » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:52 pm

rranga16 wrote: it is mostly because there is a false belief that they take more time
Actually, the questions themselves are usually irrelevant because all matches no matter what questions are being used take far too long. Readers at some of the local tournaments that I saw went off on tangents in the middle of the match, took 30 seconds on bonus parts, were completely unaware of how the rules work, and in general did little to keep the match moving. They can't be blamed too much for this though since it's pretty clear they haven't seen how a well-run quiz bowl match works and few teams know enough to demand higher quality readers and tournaments. A few schools don't have any excuses for still encouraging bad quizbowl [circumstances have changed! -edited] but the vast majority just don't have enough experience to see how and why things should be different.

The best thing good quizbowl advocates can do in the Memphis area is to keeping running well-run tournaments on good quizbowl questions and to focus on building up a strong, competent readership base within each school and the community at large. Keep training your underclassmen and working on getting a solid corps of coaches and players from other schools who buy into the idea.
rranga16 wrote:Memphis people love their News Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl too much to ever change
The AUK will eventually go away. Channel 3 will eventually switch to decent questions (NAQT speedchecks or IS-A questions most likely, though the show has some other issues). The question, unfortunately for those still forced to bear the burden, is how long it will take. Many areas around the country have switched from bad questions, rules, and practices before and it's usually just a matter of how long it takes to build up a community that is willing to push the powers-that-be over to good quizbowl. Unfortunately, there aren't enough coaches right now willing to push on this.

Memphis is unique in that it's at the center of an isolated circuit from the rest of the good quizbowl world and the nearest other good QB tournaments are at least 3 hours away usually while there are many bad QB tournaments within an hour's drive, so most teams don't get much of a chance to see how the rest of the world does it. On the other hand, there are tons of teams in Arkansas, North Mississippi, and the Memphis area that combined could probably make for 48-60 team good QB tournaments if they all got invited and hosts were diligent about recruiting them.
Last edited by cchiego on Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by johntait1 » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:21 pm

Looks like there's finally a tournament on good questions scheduled in East Tennessee http://www.historybowl.com/eastern-tennessee/
It's on 12/12/15 at Jefferson County High School.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:58 am

johntait1 wrote:Looks like there's finally a tournament on good questions scheduled in East Tennessee http://www.historybowl.com/eastern-tennessee/
It's on 12/12/15 at Jefferson County High School.
Unfortunately it's only History Bowl, and not a full-blown Quizbowl tournament.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:28 pm

I'm new to this site, but I figured I'd weigh in.

During the 90s and early 2000s, the quiz bowl network was very strong in East TN, largely because of the number of sponsors/schools hosting tournaments and the number of educators who were willing to dedicate time to quiz bowl. East TN used to host a number of annual events (Halls, West, Oneida, Cookeville, PBS, Pellissippi, UTC, just to name a few). My senior year of high school (2001), half of the teams that qualified for the state championships were from East TN. Perennial powers during my tenure were Halls, Knox West, Farragut, Oak Ridge, Powell, Bearden, Webb, and Oneida.

The problem back then (and now) was two-fold; it was a resource drain – buzzer systems and travel costs add up, plus good questions take time to produce, or schools weren't willing to buy them or write their own (as you all know, writing your own takes plenty of time); junk tournaments can be fun, but ultimately, no one really likes poor questions or poor formatting. The other problem at the time, especially in Knox County, was that the teachers sponsoring quiz bowl teams were either retiring or slowly becoming overwhelmed by curriculum changes, not to mention a lack of compensation (which may have directly led to some early retirements). I talked to my coach a handful of years ago, who retired shortly after I graduated, and she mentioned that if it weren't for a couple of students who were willing to take the bull by the horns and keep the program going, it likely would have dissolved because she was so overwhelmed by other commitments at the school.

I've been involved with the National Science Bowl since the mid-2000s, as a question writer, reviewer, and moderator, and it is pretty amazing how many resources ($$$) the DOE dedicates to developing quality questions, encouraging teams to attend (they pay travel/hotel costs for teams traveling a certain distance), and developing an excellent tournament with no entry fees. The TN NSB event is the 3rd largest regional in the country, and the level of effort required to put that competition together is impressive – 60 teams and over 200 volunteers (not including those who write/review questions). I would love to take the NSB model and apply it to high school quiz bowl in East TN. I think the trick to bringing quiz bowl back is to make it more "accessible," which equates to more local tournaments, maybe even a league.

In 2001, teams from Powell, Halls, and Knox West had floated the idea of creating a local quiz bowl league, similar to TSSAA-sponsored sporting events. The limiting factor here was collecting enough quality questions, which was part of the reason why this idea ultimately fell-through at the time. I still think this is something that could really boost quiz bowl interest, and I would love to sponsor an idea like this, because it will take some dollars to get something like this started. Below is a general idea of what we discussed 15 years ago:

[*]Area schools would form a varsity division and a possible JV division (a school could only participate in JV if it first has a varsity team). Depending on the number of schools/teams involved, multiple divisions could be created to ease travel and guarantee that everyone plays each other at least once.
[*]Teams would play once a week (both JV and varsity) on a flex schedule – rather than a fixed date, schools could play on any day/time agreed upon for a given week. The teams would agree on a host location and share resources (buzzers, readers, timekeepers, scorekeepers). The league season would begin after Labor Day and end by spring break.
[*]Matches would either be time-limited or limited by a specific number of questions.
[*]Matches would either be best-of-3 rounds or single round winner-take-all.
[*]Standings and statistics would be maintained for regular season awards and post-season tournament seeding.
[*]The season would culminate in a league tournament of some kind, with awards (maybe some prize $$$).
[*]Throughout the year, teams could still host open/invitational tournaments, the results of which would not affect the league standings (PBS, for example).
Tom Young
University of Tennessee '07
The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
National Science Bowl

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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:50 pm

Not sure how many active Knoxville-area members of the forum there are out there, but I'm in the process of reaching out to schools in the area, to try and see what kind of interest there would be to form a quiz bowl league for the 2016-17 school year. If I get a "good" response, the next step would be to determine the best way to come up with enough questions for an entire season. That's a pretty big undertaking, or it would take quite a bit of $$$. I'm actually going to talk to PBS/WKOP about their process, because they go through a ton of questions every year on Scholars Bowl.

I'm also getting in contact with Pellissippi State, Roane State, Walters State, and UTK to see if any of them are interested in hosting any tournaments for the 2016-17 season. Pellissippi State (Friendsville campus) already hosts the state science bowl, Roane State (Oak Ridge campus) host the middle school science bowl, and both Pellissippi (Hardin Valley campus) and UTK host math bowl/FERMAT events, so I'm betting that hosting a quiz bowl tournament wouldn't be a reach for some of these colleges.

I hoping that this is the start to getting quiz bowl back to where it used to be in East Tennessee.
Tom Young
University of Tennessee '07
The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
National Science Bowl

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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Unicolored Jay » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:39 pm

Oh hey, I'm glad someone is taking the initiative to getting quizbowl back up and running in East Tennessee again! I recently revived UTK's quizbowl team this school year, although I haven't been able to spend time doing much outreach thus far (I really wanted to host a tournament this semester, but I don't think it would be very likely to happen at this point).

While I don't have any experience running leagues, I do have tournament hosting experience from my time at Ohio State (Go Bucks!), so I can definitely offer advice as far as finding questions and logistics go. Let me know how this is going!
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:27 am

Unicolored Jay wrote:Oh hey, I'm glad someone is taking the initiative to getting quizbowl back up and running in East Tennessee again! I recently revived UTK's quizbowl team this school year, although I haven't been able to spend time doing much outreach thus far (I really wanted to host a tournament this semester, but I don't think it would be very likely to happen at this point).

While I don't have any experience running leagues, I do have tournament hosting experience from my time at Ohio State (Go Bucks!), so I can definitely offer advice as far as finding questions and logistics go. Let me know how this is going!
Good to hear that you're getting quiz bowl going again at UTK. Hopefully you can get some extra help with that, always makes a big difference. After high school, I played for a season my freshman year at OSU (Go Bucks!), but we were a fledgling team at the time; it was always intimidating going up against the juggernauts like Michigan and Chicago, because they were so well-organized and so talented.

I'll keep you posted on what kind of response I get. I think the biggest obstacle I have to address is finding enough questions for an entire season and at what cost; I've spent years writing/reviewing questions for the NSB outside of my day job, but they have the benefit of having a ton of funding from the Dept of Energy.
Tom Young
University of Tennessee '07
The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
National Science Bowl

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be any god-d*mned civilization." -Woody Hayes

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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Darkpie » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:15 pm

I'm super excited to hear some Quizbowl activity in East TN. My school (STEM Academy) started up a few years ago and we have a very small club that can field two teams at a tournament on a good day. That said, I think all the schools in the region would benefit from some local tournaments. Without speaking to the sponsors of my club, I'm fairly confident that our school would enjoy being a part of a league. Largely, I am posting to show my support for expanding East TN Quizbowl and hope it will continue to grow.

(As a side note, my team has been discussing holding a tournament next year, however, we have yet to begin official planning so no promises can be made)
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:12 am

Darkpie wrote:I'm super excited to hear some Quizbowl activity in East TN. My school (STEM Academy) started up a few years ago and we have a very small club that can field two teams at a tournament on a good day. That said, I think all the schools in the region would benefit from some local tournaments. Without speaking to the sponsors of my club, I'm fairly confident that our school would enjoy being a part of a league. Largely, I am posting to show my support for expanding East TN Quizbowl and hope it will continue to grow.

(As a side note, my team has been discussing holding a tournament next year, however, we have yet to begin official planning so no promises can be made)
Great to have your support! Your coach should be hearing from me in the next week or so.
Tom Young
University of Tennessee '07
The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:32 pm

So this is pretty telling. How bad has quiz bowl participation gotten in the Knoxville area? I was looking at the team list for this year's Scholars' Bowl competition on PBS, and of the ~2 dozen public and private high schools currently in Knox County, half of them didn't participate (Karns, Halls, Gibbs, Carter, and South Doyle, just to name a few). Heck, even Fulton and Austin-East didn't sign up, and they are both 5 minutes from the studio. I'm sure it doesn't help that this isn't a free tournament anymore (not sure when WKOP started charging ~$100 per team), but that's just sad.

That has to change. If you are an active quiz bowl player in the east TN area, or you're a recent ET quiz bowl alum, let me know where you play and who your team/club sponsor is. I need to get contact information for every school in the area; it makes things a lot easier if I can go directly to the sponsor, but that is an obvious challenge for a school that doesn't have an active club. I've requested this info from PBS/WKOP (for the teams who participated this year), and I'm going to contact Oliver Springs and see what info they have on local teams (since they have hosted a few tournaments in recent years). I really want to make a quiz bowl league a reality for east TN next school year!
Tom Young
University of Tennessee '07
The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
National Science Bowl

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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by cchiego » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:06 pm

I'm not sure if a league would be the best format necessarily for East TN. Leagues are often time and travel-intensive and seem to work better in a single large urban area where the travel time is relatively low. Something small that's centered in Knoxville might work, but it seems like just getting more pyramidal Saturday tournaments might be a better bet.

A series of 3-4 tournaments with separate Varsity/JV divisions planned out well in advance might work nicely, especially considering that a wide variety of tournaments continue to be run in the area (I suspect there are still non-pyramidal tournaments being run in Tellico Plains or up in the Tri-Cities Area that never see the light of day--and a recent search suggests the Upper Cumberland Regional Bowl is still alive and kicking!).

It would be great to see a HS tournament at UTK--perhaps L&N STEM, Happy Valley, Morristown West, or Oak Ridge (I'm just listing teams I know who have pyramidal-playing teams in the last few years) could get together and talk about hosting as well since Farragut sadly seems to be a lost cause these days. Given that the Middle TN schools don't seem to mind ignoring the rest of the state, it looks like it would be up to the East TN teams themselves to get things organized.
I think the biggest obstacle I have to address is finding enough questions for an entire season and at what cost; I've spent years writing/reviewing questions for the NSB outside of my day job, but they have the benefit of having a ton of funding from the Dept of Energy.
Getting good pyramidal questions for a season or a tournament shouldn't be a problem. NAQT has pretty much become the go-to for league play on pyramidal questions in many areas, but I'd recommend SCOP or another novice set for a novice Saturday tournament as the perfect introduction to quizbowl for schools in the region.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:20 am

cchiego wrote:I'm not sure if a league would be the best format necessarily for East TN. Leagues are often time and travel-intensive and seem to work better in a single large urban area where the travel time is relatively low. Something small that's centered in Knoxville might work, but it seems like just getting more pyramidal Saturday tournaments might be a better bet.
Ultimately, my focus is Knoxville. There are more than enough schools/teams in the Knoxville area (Knox, Anderson, Blount, and Sevier Counties) to develop a league, which is exactly who I'm contacting. There are about 45 public and private high schools in those 4 counties alone, so we'll see. If the interest is not there, I'm not going to pursue it any further, but I'd certainly be willing to help Jay get a tournament going at UTK. The challenge at this point is convincing a number of these schools to restart their quiz bowl programs, because a lot of them just don't play anymore.
Tom Young
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The Ohio State University '05
Powell (TN) High School '01
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Darkpie » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:01 pm

I hope things are coming together with contacting schools in the area.

As I mentioned earlier, my school is considering holding a tournament next year; however, my one major concern regarding this is getting enough competent moderators/readers. It will almost certainly be a novice tournament in the hopes of getting more teams in the area to participate and I don't want their first experience to be with moderators not up to par. So I guess my question is, how do tournaments usually get enough good moderators? We have a few teachers here with a quizbowl past, but I don't think there are enough. Would I just hold a training session for volunteers beforehand or something else? Thanks for any replies.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by cchiego » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:30 pm

So I guess my question is, how do tournaments usually get enough good moderators? We have a few teachers here with a quizbowl past, but I don't think there are enough. Would I just hold a training session for volunteers beforehand or something else? Thanks for any replies.
You might want to start rotating prospective readers (could be teachers, could be other students, definitely should be all members of your team) through your practices right now and again at the start of the year. You don't need all of them at once, just a few to stop by every practice.

Start by explaining first the basics of how to read, then let them watch an experienced reader for a bit and ask questions if needed, and then let them do a half packet or so. Keep going for several weeks and see who gets the hang of it. A lot of schools let volunteering at tournaments count as volunteer hours for various clubs/organizations too so you may want to look into that to help recruit more readers. If you start now, you'll have a solid corps of readers built up in time for the tournament in the fall so if a few readers aren't available the day you choose, you'll still be okay.

TN has a solid contingent at HSNCT this year with at least one rep from every region (and Happy Valley can rep far East TN at the SSNCT). Nice to see Houston trying HSNCT this year too, though it's rather unfortunate that White Station and Lausanne aren't in the field this year.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by osunut2 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:39 am

Darkpie wrote:I hope things are coming together with contacting schools in the area.

As I mentioned earlier, my school is considering holding a tournament next year; however, my one major concern regarding this is getting enough competent moderators/readers. It will almost certainly be a novice tournament in the hopes of getting more teams in the area to participate and I don't want their first experience to be with moderators not up to par. So I guess my question is, how do tournaments usually get enough good moderators? We have a few teachers here with a quizbowl past, but I don't think there are enough. Would I just hold a training session for volunteers beforehand or something else? Thanks for any replies.
You have a very good resource in your own backyard - DOE/ORAU/ORISE. Including myself, we have over 2-3 dozen experienced question readers for the TN Science Bowl who would probably be willing to help out (not to mention others who are experienced time keepers and score keepers). My suggestion would be to contact the lead coordinator for the TSB (I can PM her contact info). I would bet that she'd be more than happy to put out an "all call" for readers for your event, or at least provide you with email addresses.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Darkpie » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:45 pm

ccheigo wrote: You might want to start rotating prospective readers (could be teachers, could be other students, definitely should be all members of your team) through your practices right now and again at the start of the year. You don't need all of them at once, just a few to stop by every practice.
Thanks, I'll look into starting that.
osunut2 wrote: You have a very good resource in your own backyard - DOE/ORAU/ORISE. Including myself, we have over 2-3 dozen experienced question readers for the TN Science Bowl who would probably be willing to help out (not to mention others who are experienced time keepers and score keepers). My suggestion would be to contact the lead coordinator for the TSB (I can PM her contact info). I would bet that she'd be more than happy to put out an "all call" for readers for your event, or at least provide you with email addresses.
That would be fantastic! I was thinking to tap into that resource, but wasn't sure who to contact. So please send her info my way and I'll try and contact her once I have more planning done. Thank you both for the help.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by ORHS coach » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:05 pm

Just posting so I can follow this post. I'm currently in Arlington with a team for natl history bowl, and we are attending Hsnct later, and we actually just started talking about how we might be able to host a tournament.

I'm not sure ifnthisnthread makes me nervous that there is not enough of a market, or excited because the market is so untapped...but I definitely would agree that there are not enough events in the 865, even though it seems like there could be.

As a coach, it definitely would be nice to have more events that are within an hours drive.
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin » Sun May 08, 2016 8:18 pm

Hey everyone, I'm just briefly stopping by near the end of the season to note that
1. It is fantastic that we are finally getting interest and "momentum" built up in East Tennessee! It seems like a great place to establish a circuit that can last beyond the usual "lifetimes" of individuals' efforts.

2. Most East TN HS programs are not completely gone- many are just "inactive" and many are semi-active (in addition to the few fully active ones), as I suspect most teams are still involved in practicing regularly or semi-regularly. In past years, several (!) East TN teams have periodically attended Vanderbilt/Ezell/other in-state and out-of-state tournaments or otherwise expressed interest in attending those tournaments.

3. That said, leagues require a comparatively large amount of effort. I, like Chris above, am moderately against starting a league in East TN for the time being, even if there is significant interest in the greater Knoxville region. I would gently suggest getting multiple independent HS tournaments running successfully for a year or so. The relative success or failure of those tournaments would be a good benchmark of whether the East is ready for any kind of league. I would be quite glad to see 3 well-run, "successful" independent tournaments, run on easy- or regular-difficulty HS question sets, that posted full statistics, did not run late, attracted fields in the double-digits, and built significant connections between hosts and other coaches, in East Tennessee before 2017. This is just a tentative personal guideline that I came up with, but I came up with it to point out that running just a single tournament is not easy by any means, especially for hosts without significant experience! Running a league would require even more of the same type of effort. In addition, you might need someone as a "head organizer" to coordinate many aspects of running the league, and unless you're interested in doing that, Tom, we don't have anyone that can input so much time into running a league.

This is an issue of both the lack of "good quizbowl experience" and inertia. While there are many ways to get enough good moderators, and questions are easy to acquire (see Chris's post above), getting school/district permissions/monies to host a single tournament, doing a lot of outreach to possible moderators and teams in the area, and actually training inexperienced moderators to read well will take a significant investment of time from everyone involved. Lastly, to run a league, you might need to start doing everything quite early in the season so that team and host schedules could be coordinated (depending heavily on the number of participants and matches), and I am quite certain that doing all of the above would take longer than just a few weeks. The "continuous grind" of doing a weekly or even biweekly league would take a real toll on what is basically a large group of new programs as opposed to the few experienced/ready-to-host programs.

Accessibility is almost certainly increased with decreased tournament costs for all teams, more discounts for new teams, at least 1-2 dedicated novice events on the docket, heavy team outreach, publicization of stats to SQBS and results to local media (schools, newspapers, etc.), and the use of good question sets. The first step, however, is the increased number (from 0!) of well-run local tournaments.
I can also say that coaches and players are no longer solely motivated by the same kinds of issues as you've listed above, Tom, because, as Chris noted, many of those aren't really issues (too many (31) good question sets, many students can and do lead their own teams and get huge discounts for doing so, travel discounts, widely available buzzer systems, grants from Matt's Buzzers, etc.).

In sum, you don't really need a league to "restart" the above programs, which is our primary focus in the near future. The newfound experience gained from well-run independent tournaments is more valuable, longer-lasting, and more important at this stage. In addition, the risk of a league "failing" (doesn't follow good practices, has bad moderators, uses the wrong sets, runs late, etc.) would be high if it didn't get the right amount of time and effort invested, and the consequences would be much, much greater than if an individual tournament failed.

4. There is a large (!) pool of experienced quizbowl moderators in and around East Tennessee, such that you don't really need to ask inexperienced Science Bowl moderators to read for quizbowl (believe me, the formats of Science Bowl and good quizbowl are really different). On that note, I and several other experienced Vanderbilt students would love to head East to moderate if you ever need help! I also think you could call on veteran moderators like Chuck Pearson, Matt Hayes, Delano Barnes, or Jasper himself if they were available. That should help cover any tournament's need for moderators.

5. Long-term, getting the East interconnected with Middle Tennessee and MAYBE even West Tennessee is the goal. The "fully active" teams already try do this, which is fantastic! Getting more teams meeting "out-of-Grand-Division competition" and out-of-state competition in tournaments with different kinds of sets will probably motivate a lot of those coaches and players more than any small single league could.
I have had many problems with the State tournament (see my posts in the HS archives), but changing the Coaches' Association (TACA) slowly from within is the way to go; the more modern practices coaches see and enjoy/watch their players enjoy, the more likely they will be to implement those changes at their own tournaments and pressure every tournament to follow. I understand that TACA does not do polls, but just trying to integrate disparate parts of the circuit should help break the outward silence and bad aspects of traditions that the organization follows to some extent.
A final benchmark would be "number of teams at SS-/HSNCT".

6. Contacting the colleges and CCs for general support or hosting venues is a great idea; searching their Honors Programs for potential players and other hosting/staff people should yield a lot of interest. Carson-Newman gets Timothy Quintanilla from Hannibal, and they should definitely be on your list for getting support broadly, as should (eventually!) Tusculum College where Chuck Pearson will be working.

Aside: congratulations to Merrol Hyde and White Station for their participation in and performances at MSNCT! It's great to see HS programs that have continuity.
EDIT: I forgot to mention Happy Valley's performance at SSNCT!
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Re: Tennessee 2015-2016

Post by bigbluemist » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:09 am

We live in KY about 3 hours from Knoxville. We'd love to bring our kids to any Tournamemt you all have in 2016-2017. Thanks

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