Arcadia Sweeps Triton Winter with Perfect Record, Beats CCA in Finals

Teams Individuals
Rank Team Record  PPB Rank Player Team Prelim PPG
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

WV wins ACE XII, North Hollywood Qualifies for Nationals

 

Teams (Playoff Record in Parentheses) Individuals
Rank Team Record  PPB Rank Player Team Prelim PPG
1 WV 10-2 (4-1) 20.7 1 Shahar S. WV 83.57
2 NoHo A 8-4 (3-2) 21.6 2 Kaia Y. Oly A 63.57
3 Oly A 8-2 (1-2) 22.6 3 Raymond S. CCA A 58.57
4 CCA A 4-6 (0-3) 21.3 4 Brandon H. NoHo A 48.57

Arcadia hosted one of the more interesting tournaments of the season so far, as the varsity competition saw West….. I mean WV win in a disadvantaged final against North Hollywood. However, North Hollywood’s second-place finish ensured that they would qualify a team for nationals for the second year in a row.

WV’s victory solidly places them as a threat to win future competitions. However, the win doesn’t alleviate WV from their problems going forward. While the team led by yours truly did lead the field in powers, with a fairly solid 6.4 powers per game, they also came last in the playoffs in PPB, and had more negs per game (3.2) than everyone in the field except for CCA A. Hopefully, the addition of other strong players like Junu (11) and Rohan (11) can fix some of these issues, but WV still has a way to go before they become a top tier team.

Kinda like CCA, North Hollywood was somewhat infamous for their performance being much better on mACF than on NAQT style questions. Luckily, whatever problems they had last year seem to be dealt with, as the Brandon (11) and Ronen (11) led team put up some impressive stats in their HSNCT qualification run. The team did very well in most areas, but fell slightly short in powers, as the team only managed 4.4 per game. NoHo is a good team, but if they want to improve on their results at nationals from last year, they’ll have to gain depth in order to deal with the upgrade in difficulty they’ll face there.

Olympian dominated the prelims, winning seven in a row and leading the field in PPB, coming in a close third in powers, and having fewer negs than every team in the field except for their own B team. Olympian should be very proud of how they performed, but unfortunately, they were taken down by WV and NoHo, both games coming down to the last tossup. My only concern with Olympian is that they could fall victim to these “pop off” rounds very easily, and could end up getting knocked out of contention due to their unwaveringly consistent gameplay.

CCA is a very strong team. With a full team on mACF, they can obliterate national set records for powers and put most teams’ PPBs to shame. These conditions were not met last Saturday. The absence of Wesley Zhang (11) and Jonothan Hsieh (11) meant that the team was sorely lacking on NAQT core categories science and history. CCA A’s aggressive play also meant that, while they were second in powers per game, they were also first in negs per game, as they were the only team with more than 3 per game in the field. However, one shouldn’t make the mistake of discounting CCA A for next time. With a full team, the already solid core of Raymond (11), Alan (12), and Shreyank (11) can easily threaten a local NAQT victory this year.

While Santa Monica failed to make playoffs, they still had an incredibly strong showing. History specialist Josh Xu (10) in particular had a solid performance in playoffs, as he actually led the field in PPG while in the consolation bracket. We hope to see more of Santa Monica and wish them luck at future tournaments.

As for individuals, the dead weight from WV (11) somehow snuck back into the number one spot again, as the lit/sci specialist derped his way to over four powers per round. The runner-up was blossoming generalist Kaia Yager (12) of Olympian A, who led humanities specialist Raymond Song (11) from CCA A and generalist Brandon Hong (12) of NoHo A.

Thanks to Arcadia for hosting this tournament, and thanks to everyone who came to play. We hope to see you all at the next SoCal tournament at Del Norte High School on December 8th.

Written by Shahar Schwartz

 

CCA Wins Triton Fall in Disadvantaged Final Against Arcadia

 

Teams Individuals
Rank Team Record PPB Rank Player Team  PPG
1 CCA B 10 – 1 23.91 1 Shahar S. Westview 108.46
2 Arcadia A 8 – 3 21.82 2 Andrew H. Arcadia A 96.36
3 Scripps Ranch 6 – 3 17.59 3 Raymond S. CCA B 87.27
4 Del Norte A 5 – 4 19.40 4 Jack I. Scripps Ranch 62.22

With Triton Fall 2018 in the books, the players of SoCal got their first taste of mACF style questions, with exciting results. Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful people at UCSD, who I would like to thank for running the tournament this Saturday.

CCA B (which was made up of quite a few players expected to start on A team at nationals this year) won the day with an astounding 9.5 powers per game. The team was led by humanities specialist Raymond Song (11), with significant support from history and geo man Wesley Zhang (11), and a formidable science player in Jonothan Hsieh (11). If this is

Arcadia A came in at second despite beating CCA 440-230 earlier in the playoffs, which they managed to do with only two A team players from PPT. History main Andrew Hoagland (12) managed to lead the team to a solid finish even with half the normal A team being MIA. With a complete team, Arcadia has the ability to get revenge on CCA, but that will have to wait for another day.

Del Norte continues to show off just how much they’ve improved over the summer, with fine arts-centered generalist Kyle Ke (11) and science player Josh You (10) leading the charge. Even without core lit player Sofia Luengo (11), Del Norte A was able to make playoffs by pulling upsets (?) against Arcadia A and Westview. Del Norte’s main problem going forward is that while they hardly neg, which they did less than once per game, they also power somewhat rarely. If they can fix this, I can see Del Norte becoming a top-tier team by the time next year rolls around.

Scripps Ranch was led by generalist Jack Izzo (12), who carried the team to a third-place finish by upsetting Del Norte in the playoffs. While Scripps did play very well in the wake of the graduation of longtime captain Joon Lee, they still have some problems to deal with, as they were the only team in playoffs with more negs than powers. If Jack and company can figure out a way to transform those negs into consistent early powers, Scripps Ranch could emerge as a dark horse in this year’s tournaments.

It was also great to see teams from Mission Bay, Cathedral Catholic, and University City come to compete, and we look forward to competing with you more in the future!

In terms of individual awards, Scripps’ Jack barely missed the podium, with CCA’s Raymond taking third place, Arcadia’s Andrew taking second, and some random guy from Westview (11) getting first. The SoCal field is looking stronger than ever, with several young teams putting numbers similar to those of the top teams in the nation. With CCA, Arcadia, and Westview still yet to have a complete tournament with a full A team roster, I predict that the level of play from here on out is only going to go up.