|1||Arc A||11-0||21.47||1||Shahar S.||WV A||78.5|
|2||CCA||9-2||20.85||2||Andrew H.||Arc A||74.5|
|3||DN A||8-2||19.84||3||Raymond S.||CCA||65.67|
|4||WV A||6-4||20.76||4||Wesley Z.||CCA||57.71|
First off, I want to thank all the teams who came to this tournament despite the last minute schedule changes, and UCSD for running a really smooth and fun tournament. I also want to thank the writers of HFT, who I felt produced a fun, challenging, and yet accessible set for us to play on Saturday.
Now, to the analysis…
I feel like what this tournament proved more than anything is that SoCal hosts two different fundamental mentalities when it comes to how quiz bowl is played. The first is a strategy centered on conservative, yet extremely consistent gameplay, which leads to consistently low powers and negs, and a ton of tens. The other strategy, which is somewhat unique to SoCal, is the affectionately nicknamed “power cult” mentality, where the goal of a tossup seems to be “BUZZ BEFORE THEM AT ALL COSTS.” As you could probably guess, this leads to a super high power rate, but also a somewhat atrocious neg rate, and can result in some pretty hilarious upsets and comebacks on special occasions.
However, Arcadia A proved that aggressive play can net great results, when their high risk, high reward attitude translated to a dominant performance. The team managed a final stat line of 60/90/28, which was the most powers per game of any team in the field, as well as a PPB of 21.47, which was, again, best in the field. I honestly have very few comments other than just great job to Arcadia. Andrew was dominant on history as usual, Michael Huang is delivering consistently on literature, and Sean put up some seriously impressive stats on science. (Keep in mind this was all done without the help of one of, if not the best, science players in SoCal in William Shue.) If I had one comment, it would probably be that Arcadia needs a little bit more depth on fine arts, but it’s a minor setback for what is otherwise one of California’s most complete teams. With no exaggeration, if Arcadia plays like they did on this set at HSNCT, I think they can make the top ten, but they have to keep their momentum in order to pull that off. In addition to their dominant A team, Arcadia has some solid talent in their underclassmen to back up the seniors, with Ajay Manneth leading their C team to a solid sixth place finish.
This tournament really highlighted what the core of CCA has to bring to the table. Despite missing a fourth, they managed to claw their way into the finals with a 9-1 record. However, their display was far from the dominant performance we saw at triton fall a few months ago. CCA barely managed to squeak by Del Norte after a tiebreaker in round 2 and could have very easily lost to Westview if yours truly didn’t have such a massive neg problem (more on that later). They aren’t entirely clear right now, but there are definitely problems that need fixing on CCA’s side. It may be hyper-aggression, high neg rates, the lack of a unifying fourth scorer at the tournament, or most likely some combination of all three, but there are some obstacles that CCA has to overcome if they want to improve on their nationals performance from last year.
I think the secret to Del Norte’s success has largely been the discovery and subsequent embrace of their identity as a team. They are playing consistent, low neg, and just plain smart quizbowl by minimizing errors and mercilessly capitalizing on mistakes made by the opposition. Sure, their power rate isn’t great, but this is a young team with a lot of potentials and half a year to prepare for nationals. Del Norte has proven that they can fight alongside the best of them (they were just one tiebreaker away from finals, after all), and I’m excited to see how they finish the year off.
When it comes to Westview, and how we did at the last tournament, my feelings are… somewhat mixed. On the one hand, our pure stats were extremely good, with an excellent power rate and PPB in spite of missing two of our best in Junu and Rohan. On the other hand… 4 negs a round. Even considering the fact that we weren’t at full strength, there just isn’t any way a team can neg 39 times in 10 games and still expect to make finals. Once that particular issue gets fixed (and if I can help it, it will be) I think Westview will really start excelling.
Scripps Ranch is doing a lot of things right as of right now. Michelle and Jack are proving to be a solid double threat, and the team is proving they can excel by capitalizing on mistakes the same way that Del Norte is. My one concern is that Scripps Ranch lacks the breadth that they need in order to really stand out by playing that kind of quizbowl. There are noticeable holes in literature and science that need to get patched up before nationals, but if Scripps can find a way to cover those areas before HSNCT comes around, I have a lot of faith in their ability to make playoffs.
On the individual side of things, Westview’s derpiest derp to ever derp managed to take first prize (at the expense of an absolutely disgusting 2.5 negs per round, mind you), with Andrew Hoagland of Arcadia taking a close second and the CCA core Raymond and Wesley taking third and fourth respectively.
Thanks again to everyone who came, and I hope to see you all at SoCal states, which will be held on February 2nd at UCSD.
Written by Shahar Schwartz