First Quarter update November 22, 2011Posted by crquizbowl in : competitions, news , trackback
This is seriously late, i realize… but better late than never.
Anyway, it’s been a frustrating begin to the season, having virtually nothing to do with how we’ve played or how we’ve prepared or any of the usual gripes. So what’s the complaint? The complete dearth of tournaments in a 200-mile radius from us this Fall. It’s ludicrous. The A Team has only gone to 2 competitions so far this year, and for only 1 of them was Alexa present. So, it’s been quite a trying time, attempting to get the motivation up of the students who usually have many tournaments to look forward to. Not this year, i guess. And now the Charter Fall tournament will be moved back to January, perhaps now February… leaving those who did not travel to the Fall Novice and are not on the A Team with no forseeable competition for at least 2 months.
This has been the most difficult year yet, probably for this single reason. The change of UPenn from their traditional tournament in November to now sometime in the Winter is crucial… as is the option of not a single legitimate tournament within a 3-hour drive in the entire month of November. This has never happened in the 4 or 5 years we’ve been regularly attending things. It’s really a shame.
Now it’ll lead to a crazy busy Winter and Spring, when we’ll probably have to forgo tournaments because i just can’t attend them regularly on back-to-back weekends, or 3 out of 4 weekends of month or something. So, in a year where i boldly predicted that we would have our best team ever, better than the 2009-2010 squad, it looks like a lack of tournaments may seriously derail our motivation, confidence, and performance. I don’t even blame the kids for this; it’s only natural not to work as hard when you just don’t have the immediate reasons to do so (see: my entire collegiate research- and paper/writing career).
Anyway, i’ll get off my soapbox about this since there’s really no point. Let’s start recapping the year.
Our first competition was at the University of Maryland, College Park. We love going to UMCP because they always run efficient competitions, with awesome moderators (who are just generally helpful, and cool, and nice, and “good quizbowl” guys), and good questions. We got to hear NAQT to start the year, and we aren’t normally fans of them, but it ended up being perhaps the best non-Nationals NAQT questions i have ever heard. Kudos to Jeff and Chad and all the editors and people working for NAQT on a great set. Anyway, Alexa couldn’t make this tournament because of a committment to cross country, and if you know anything about our team, you know that “we go as Alexa goes.” I don’t like calling us a one-woman team, and i’m not sure if that’s wholly true, but it was true this day. I billed this as something like a “tryout day” for people interested in a coveted spot on the A Team, so Pratyusha would help me evaluate players that she wanted to join her. We took Sam, Elorm, and Lexi, 3 upperclassmen who have proved their effort and motivation in the last year or so and clearly know things. Lexi ended up, in fact, having the highest average PPG on the team, almost 20 (yes, it wasn’t the greatest day), so that – and for other reasons – led me to invite her to come back for another competition a couple weeks later. We ended up just 2 and 8, but i wasn’t really that dissatisfied with the day; i knew it would be rough. I think it inspired people to do more.
See the stats for UMCP’s fall tournament here: http://ophir.li/quizbowl/tournaments/maqt/mft2011/mft2011_standings.html
Two weeks later we headed back west, this time to Virginia and Thomas Jefferson High School, another of our favorite places to play. This time around we were going to hear a set that they wrote, which was one of my favorite housewritten sets i’ve heard in several years. The difficulty was spot on, the bonuses were accessible, and the questions asked about important and relevant and gettable things. It was just a really good set. Alexa came this time around, so i expected better, and also joining us was Zach for his first quizbowl tournament ever. Zach, as some of you recall, was the same Zach that destroyed the competition in the first annual CRHS AP U.S. History Quizbowl Tournament, held in my classroom during May of 2011 (see his disgusting stats here: http://results.scobo.net/SQBS.aspx?org=CRHS&id=3&page=individuals). So we felt good about this day, and while our bonus conversion was very good (almost 20ppb for the day, which is commendable) we were not aggressive on tossups and it cost us some games. To be fair, we probably we beaten by teams better than us, but sometimes you have to take those as motivation to improve. Alexa did quite well averaging about 60ppg for the day, but the others had a hard time getting much and together only averaged 20-30ppg for the day, combined. We need better contributions from teammates, and that will come with more time and preparation and study. For now, i was not really content with the 3 and 6 record, but if it leads to us improving, that’s all that matters.
See the TJ prelim stats here: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/13/stats/prelims/ and the playoffs stats here: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/13/stats/playoffs/
The only other competition we’ve graced our presence with this year was the Fall Novice Tournament, held at beautiful St. Anselm’s Abbey School in NE D.C. We’d never been here before but i’d gladly return – once again, the tournament ran smoothly even with many new moderators and contributors. Aidan did a great job, and i appreciate all the work you put into running this the best you could. Since this was a novice field, i only took players who were in their first or second year on the team, so that meant Zach, Bryce, Julia, and freshman Rebekah would comprise the team. I was particularly interested in the latter 3 of this group, as Bryce was initially counted on to be a contributing A Team member, but outsidde committments have thrown that into disarray; Julia is a quickly-improving junior who is realizing that getting good at quizbowl really is not that hard; and Rebekah is a freshman that i really think has a lot of potential, not the least of which is simply from her massive amount of reading true classical literature that i always love hearing. So i figured this team would do well if they prepared; it was clear that i overestimated this and the day did not go all that well. I’ll contend that it was a positive day regardless, but in general i think the kids weren’t happy with their performance and wished they had prepared better. Whatever motivation works to improve, i’ll take it. The 3 and 7 record is probably representative of how the team played, but there were practically no blowouts and they were within striking distance of victory near the end of almost every match. That in itself is a positive thing.
See the Fall Novice stats here: http://hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/65/stats/combined/
So what now? Well on December 3rd, we’re headed all the way down to Richmond for our annual (or semiannual sometimes) trip down that neck of the woods for a great tournament, GSAC at Maggie Walker High School. This is always a hard competition, with a hard field and awesome teams, but a really really fun day of driving 400 miles, getting up at 4am, eating Chinese food at our favorite place, meeting and playing awesome kids and people, and just generally having a fun day full of quizbowl goodness.
Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got on the schedule right now. I’ll see what i can conjure up for January… but at the moment, just prepare as much as you can for GSAC and we’ll take it from there after break.
Have a great Thanksgiving, and i’ll see you soon.