This is the current Southern California high school tournament schedule for the 2020-21 school year. The dates and question sets are subject to change. The upcoming year is especially uncertain due to COVID-19, so many regional tournaments will be taking place online. Tournaments will be added as the situation develops. Contact email@example.com for more info.
My time organizing Southern California Quizbowl is coming to a close, and I just want to start by thanking everyone for the most amazing last few quizbowl seasons! Quizbowl has definitely become a community that I love and feel such a sense of belonging in, and it has definitely played a big role in shaping the last 3 years of my life. Our friend Rohan Venkateswaran will be directing SoCal Quizbowl next season. After summer, he will be our main person of contact for the HS and MS circuits for this upcoming season! He can be reached via Facebook and/or at firstname.lastname@example.org
With that being said, I would like the start getting the ball rolling for next year’s schedule. Let’s aim to have around one tournament a month for the high school circuit, and three tournaments total for the middle school circuit. We also should try to have 3 NHBB tournaments this season with one in OC, SD, and LA. Additionally, let’s do our best to avoid hosting tournaments on major holidays, SAT, and ACT dates. Two tournaments should not be hosted on the same day, whether it be NHBB+HS, HS+MS, or MS+NHBB. A shortage in staffers and/or buzzers would not be good.
If your school is interested in hosting a tournament, please reply to the forum post here and comment what date as well as a few backup dates that your school would be interested in hosting on. Prospective hosts, please keep in mind a few things for this season:
- If you are a school with a smaller quizbowl program, finding a sufficient number of staffers will be a challenge. Ideally, field sizes should be no less than 10-12, allowing schools and teams more opportunities to compete. Pulling staffers from non quizbowl programs (i.e. NHS, Key Club) is OK, but you MUST make sure they know the rules in and out before the day of the tournament, not the morning of.
- On the topic of field sizes, PLEASE be sure to DO OUTREACH. If you do not email teams, message people, post on the Facebook group, or announce your tournament at least 1.5 months ahead of time, you may struggle filling up your field. Announcing tournaments late and a lack of outreach harms the growth of the circuit as it makes it significantly more difficult for newer teams to register and prepare for a tournament last minute. Our circuit grows and thrives with new teams and bigger tournaments, please announce tournaments early and do outreach!
- Want to host a tournament but you’re unsure if you will be able to do it all? There are numerous resources on socalquizbowl.org for new and experienced hosts. Please be sure to refer to the tournament hosting guides as they have a lot of incredibly helpful and crucial information!
Feel free to contact me (email@example.com) with any questions, concerns or comments! I hope you all have the best season!
|1||WV A||9-1||21.03||1||Sam K.||La Jolla||78.5|
|2||SanMo “B”||7-3||23.49||2||Shahar S.||WV A||74.0|
|3||DN A||7-3||19.45||3||Alan Z.||CCA A||69.5|
|4||Scripps Ranch A||7-3||19.25||4||Rohan V.||WV C||64.5|
As usual, I’d like to thank UCSD for hosting a very well run competition last Saturday, as this year’s iteration of States ran incredibly smoothly. The quality of staff which UCSD was able to put together on such short notice was extremely high, and it made the competition flow near-flawlessly from start to finish.
There are, however, many factors which make this tournament somewhat tricky to analyze. For starters, because of some tomfoolery on the part of Santa Monica where the A and B teams were reversed, bracket B in prelims became crazily overpowered, and knocked a handicapped (but still effective) CCA out of contention for playoffs. Another oddity was the sheer number of teams that were missing players in some capacity. Arcadia was playing without both Andrew and Michael, Del Norte split their teams in an effort to double qualify for nationals, Olympian had a rare absence from an NAQT event, and 3/4 of CCA’s regular A team decided that they would rather mod than compete. Even the teams that did have the majority of their players on A were restricted in some regard, as Westview A was missing both Daniel Shaw and Rohan V. (Who decided instead to relegate himself to C) and Scripps Ranch A had to play without a fourth. Ironically enough, the only full strength A team was on Santa Monica B, which worked out for them as their silver medal would be enough to qualify for nationals. That being said, there are still many things to be learned, so let’s dig in.
I’ve joked about derping to victory before, but this time more than ever, it is literally the most accurate way to describe how Westview won on Saturday. The morning was a complete joke, with more negs than any other team and both Junu and I failing to make the top 5 individually. It was… how do I say this gently… an absolute garbage performance. But, despite our worst efforts, we went 4-1, which was enough to make playoffs. After that, Westview A managed to pull itself together to go 5-0 and keep under 2 negs a game. One of the more interesting things I noticed about this particular set was the disparity between the kind of gameplay that was rewarded in the morning vs. in the afternoon. Morning IS 183 rewarded patience and punished any and all frauds, whereas the afternoon rounds heavily favored hyper-aggressive gameplay and straight up denounced conservatism of any kind. Naturally, team power cult did better in the afternoon, much to the chagrin of anyone unlucky enough to face the reverse derp head on. What’s interesting is, despite our solid performance, we still had a relatively low power rate and PPB. However, I’m willing to attribute this to the fact that Junu and I have holes in our knowledge that are simply covered better by other players on the team who weren’t there on February 2nd, and that our coverage of the big three categories is good enough to succeed in most high-pressure situations even if we don’t have expertise of 100% of questions asked.
Santa Monica had a really impressive showing last week, taking the highest PPB prize by almost 2.5 points at the end of the day. These results are indicative of the somewhat absurd breadth of categories covered by the team. Santa Monica “B” was led by Sophmore and history specialist Josh Xu, who ended the day with 27 powers and over 60 PPG. SanMo’s other players were also extremely important to the success of the team, with the other three players putting up an average of over 20 PPG. These efforts resulted in a second place finish and, perhaps more importantly, a return to nationals. Undoubtedly, Santa Monica will want to improve on their performance at HSNCT last year and make it to playoffs, but there are some barriers they’ll have to cross first, the most important is a seeming lack of depth in categories that don’t begin in H and end in I-S-T-O-R-Y. If they can figure out a way to increase their depth on other categories before nationals, I can see SanMo easily going 7-3 or better in the morning rounds at nats.
Despite not directly qualifying their target two teams for nationals (which was admittedly a near impossible feat with only three slots available), Del Norte was still able to put up a solid fight and may have done well enough to earn a wildcard slot through the performance of their B team. One of Del Norte’s strengths is just how well everyone on the A team synergizes with each other, and their deep understanding of what their fellow teammates do and do not know in-game. The problem here is that, if the team does need to split, they are hit particularly hard by the holes in knowledge left by absent players. However, what I have seen from nearly every A team regular is a significant increase in depth of knowledge since the beginning of the year. Whether or not that depth will translate to nats level questions remains to be seen, but based on what we’ve seen from them at the past couple of competitions, Del Norte definitely seems to be on the track to success.
Obviously, the absence of arguably the best player in SoCal from Arcadia’s roster was bound to be a hit to their overall performance. However, Arcadia A still put up some very, very solid stats last week, leading the field in powers and coming only 0.03 PPB away from taking the silver in the stat at the end of the day with exactly 21. If this is the kind of breadth that a team led by William and Sean (two science specialists) can do, they pose a serious threat to almost everyone when at full strength. Normally, if a clue that is considered “common” is dropped in a tossup, there is generally one person on each team racing for it. What Arcadia proved last week is that everyone on the team is actually fairly likely to know an answer at the cliff, indicating that buzzer races between Arcadia and their opponents are actually consistently 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 on average, rather than the 1 to 1 showcased by most games. This means that Arcadia has a much higher chance of getting a tossup on a cliff probability-wise than almost every other team when they’re at full capacity and on a set like HSNCT, where difficulty cliffs are extremely commonplace, Arcadia could go very, very far.
Scripps Ranch had arguably their best performance so far this year at States, being the only team to successfully take down Westview all day, and putting some solid numbers up while doing so. Jack and Michelle complement each other really well on NAQT, with Jack handling most of the History/Geo/Ce/Trash and Michelle proving her ruthless efficiency on Literature and Science. One thing I’m still not 100% sure about is how well the team will scale up come nationals season. Jack and Michelle have depth, but the question now is whether or not that will hold when the questions get to HSNCT levels of difficulty.
Individually, the stats from the morning and afternoon seemed to shift around… a lot. In the morning, the top five players were, in order, Sam K (with 21 more points per game than his closest competitor), Alan Z, Rohan V, Jack I, and Kyle K. Weirdly enough, only Sam and Alan managed to stay in the top five in the afternoon, as monsieur derp returned with a vengence in the afternoon to get over 27 PPG more than the next closest player in Alan. (Yes I’m flexing, no you can’t stop me.) Rounding up the top five was Josh X in third, along with Sam in fourth and Jonathan H in fifth. At the end of the day, Sam took the first prize individually, but Rohan probably gets some kind of bonus points from being the first C team player to make the top five in this circuit individually… so there’s probably some memetic pride that goes along with that.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who came to States, and I hope to see you all again very soon.
– Written by Shahar Schwartz
|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
|Teams (Playoff Record in Parentheses)||Individuals|
|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