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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:44 pm 
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Location: Delaware, Ohio
These are not finalized.
http://hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/5754/

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Cortney Bird
OQBA co-director http://bit.ly/2xSif2d
QB Coach @ Olentangy Berlin HS 2018-Present
Statistician @ NE ITK league


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:38 am 
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So, there's been discussion about MS NAQT state, but not any talk/perspective on HS NAQT state. Let's talk about that for a little bit.

I'll preface by saying that I think Greg did an overall good job as a tournament director. Given the number of fires that needed to be put out, I think Greg did as superb a job as he could in resolving said situations and keeping the train rolling. Unless I'm not familiar with anything else that supposedly sprung up, it doesn't appear that any issues arose because of Greg's tournament direction/preparation.

I have some particular concerns about the hosting site and how the hosting site's logistics ran in general for the tournament. Part of why I'm making this call out is that these issues would have been averted on Cortney's end through better prepration and just flat-out better planning – and thus I don't want States 2020 to go through the same route it did this year. They are as follows...

Field Size, Readers Corps – They Depend on Another!
- So, I personally don't understand how the field cap was 32 (high school) and 18 (middle school) given that there were probably not 25 good, experienced and (not the least importantly) expeditious readers to be had in the first place. And states level-experienced means, at minimum, having done multiple pyramidal events. Sorry. It's true. And I also don't understand why there wasn't a true registration deadline, or, at the least, some attempt to have stemmed the high school field at 30 when there were apparent fluctuations at 29, 30, and 31 teams within a week of the tournament. A 32 team tournament with four preliminary brackets of eight can be done and isn't exactly problematic, but you have to have 16 thoroughbred horses that can pull the seven round cart to the finish line in a prompt fashion – reading super fast isn't what's important, its being able to get the round in and out by cutting out all the stops and reading at a States Level Pace and Quality. And, I guess, even if there are not 16 top-tier readers in the high school bracket (there weren't), the preliminary seven rounds could have been pushed through a lot earlier had there been well-thought out reading assignments made before the tournament, but that didn't happen because...

the reading assignments were done ad hoc, ten minutes before Round 1
by Cortney just going down the list of readers and pairing them to rooms just by going down the list of rooms. This can be somewhat permissible and practical if its a small local fall tournament with like 12-16 teams, although never ideal nor wise, but not a tournament with seven preliminary rounds on hard questions all-the-while hosting a field of 32 teams from all sorts of rather long distances traveled. And this backfired because, if you look at the list of readers (it's in the tournament updates sheet that is somewhere here), you'll notice that Alex Connor, Joe Bellas, Peter Bergman and I all had our names in order above and top another – the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth rooms on the list were the next ones that needed assigned – so four of the best six readers in the field ended up in the same morning bracket. So, given that other brackets weren't nearly as deep with reader promptness and strength, there was significant lagging between the conclusion of our bracket and the last bracket to finish up. Not good, for many reasons including the rebracketing and all of the stats/afternoon formation, but also because of the food situation...

which was bad, because some teams had to wait insufferably long times to eat the pizzas they ordered because supposedly it was miscalculated what time the preliminaries would be over – a snafu that is also obviously complicated by the fact its a massive order. This sort of begs the question on whether or not, in retrospect, teams should have even ordered pizza and instead made the ten minute drive to the food options off of the 36/37 exit for 71. Some teams apparently did not eat until 1:45-2pm – if indeed the case, that is Not Good, and the lunch arrangement (like the two other complaints above) doesn't fall on Greg's feet but rather Cortney's.

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Moore, T.

Unaffiliated; Reader, Southeast Region


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:43 am 
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Now that I have that out of the way, this tournament was a lot better ran than last year's. Greg did all-in-all a good job from what I observed. I do have one general concern/comment that isn't particular to this year's event but rather the general NAQT States structuring going forward.

The field for high school should be 24; the field for middle school should be 12. 'A' Teams only, unless necessary. Perhaps there should be established entrance criteria, too.
There are two angles to this issue. On one hand, we're starting to see some particularly disturbing box scores here these last couple years at NAQT States, and this is largely the product of both sub-varsity squads being entered in from both blue-bloods and newer faces to the Saturday circuit alike (not to mention New to Quizbowl schools) coming in and getting comfortably beat by middle-of-the-road teams before/after then getting hulk-smashed by the likes of Beavercreek, Miami Valley, Dublin Scioto etc. Of course, this isn't exactly a generally new phenomenon at NAQT States since there were blowouts in what I call the “IS-set era” - but it is however a trend that is becoming further pronounced and especially more grisly now that the state tournament is played on college-level questions, the D2 SCT set. Other attendants at this years' states, be it coaches, players and other readers, agreed with this conclusion as we yukked it up during and after the event.

The other plank to consider is union of “quality > quantity” and the fact of the matter that every field expansion of a factor of two (teams) necessitates additional resources and attention to not just those teams who registered but also the overall health of the tournament. The adages of “the tournament is only as fast as the slowest reader, the tournament is only as good as the most glaring shortcoming” apply most certainly. I'm really of the opinion that there are only 20-24 “ [HS]states-level” readers in Central/Western Ohio and because April is a busy month in both the quizbowl community (hs and college) as well as general people's lives, one should only expect to have 14 at most top-tier readers available for a Central Ohio NAQT State tournament before/after they have to start pleading coaches to read.

One possible resolution toward this cause would be to up the registration fee for NAQT States to somewhere between $80-90, that way the tournament director/hosting party (whoever it is) can be rewarded for the revenue/profit that could be lost with six-to-eight fewer teams that would've paid $55-60 on the face before discounts. It also would hold the tournament to a very high standard, and could even provide for compensation for readers – which maybe we (a community) should consider getting into the business of doing! I say that not to suggest I in particular would want to make money, nor anyone in particular would be “reading for money”, but I know that if I could use someone such as Joe Czupryn, Bob Kilner or Greg Bossick and their reading services/expertise I would want to at the very least personally compensate them for their mileage and time (and perhaps show them some monetary gratitude for their selflessness in expending a Saturday – of which there aren't many nice ones in April.) Not to mention that states should have entirely states-level readers.

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Moore, T.

Unaffiliated; Reader, Southeast Region


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:43 pm 
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A few words to continue the conversation:

1. Even with reader issues, I actually didn’t feel that either tournament ran too long based on how many rounds were played. If I remember correctly, the MS finals (round 9) wrapped up at around 3:30, and the HS finals (round 15) were done by 5:30 or 6? Neither of those times seem all that bad to me given the number of rounds, although I know that some game rooms were definitely running behind. For comparison, Miami Valley played a UMich tournament this year with the same format as HS state (7 games, rebracket, etc.) and we finished 12 rounds by 7:00. Not to say that finishing a tournament at 6:00 is ideal or an exemplar of speed, but it’s not the worst either. As an MS coach, I did appreciate the effort to arrange a separate pizza delivery for MS lunch, especially since the first tournament communication implied that the MS wouldn’t be able to take lunch until after the HS finished round 7. I also am mindful that Berlin is a new program with new infrastructure and hopefully some folks got some good experience (although Tom is right when he says that a state championship is not the optimal place to train new people).

Getting away from this year’s specific tournament, I absolutely co-sign Tom’s second post and would encourage the holders of next year’s state bid to incorporate them: 1) hard caps on field size at 12 and 24 and 2) monetary compensation for non-affiliated, experienced readers. A sub-field of point 1) is that the tournament shouldn’t need to take 15 rounds, which is a lot for a high school tournament. I’ll be at the OQBA summer meeting and I anticipate a good in-person debrief and next steps for NAQT State.

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Tyler Benedict
Coach, Miami Valley School Quiz Bowl
OAC Committee Middle School Representative
OQBA NASAT and Matt's Buzzers Liaison
Miami Valley School '09


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