What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

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What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Joshua Rutsky » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:45 pm

I'm looking at setting up our schedule for the coming year, and as the coach of a team with a lot of potential, I want to give my players the best opportunities to compete and see the best teams possible in action. With that in mind, what tourneys do you consider to be "best bang for the buck" events to attend? Why? Any thoughts are welcome.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby alexdz » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:46 am

FWIW, I'm not an active coach and have never coached a high school team, but I think there are some basic principles to look for in general:

1) How many games will you be guaranteed to play? - Exposure to good questions in a game atmosphere is critical, so the more your players are getting to play, the better. If an event costs a few more dollars but you're guaranteed 2 or 3 more games, that's probably worth it.

2) How can I find the most appropriate opponents? - Pitting a team of uber-talented players against a field of newbies may result in a guaranteed win, but it won't do the trick for improvement. Look for tournaments where you expect opponents to attend that will push your team just beyond their comfort level - some teams just above their skill, some just below and some similar.

3) What are the possible travel/logistical issues on any given weekend? - For example, if players (and their parents) are having to travel long distances weekend after weekend, you may get resistance or burnout. It can be worth skipping a weekend where not much is happening to rejuvenate everyone's energy to get back on the horse.

I'm sure people who do this more often will have much better and more specific advice to give!
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:43 am

As a player, I always liked variety. Playing the same teams over and over again in the same buildings got boring: it was cool when we traveled to a different part of the country and got to see new cities and new teams.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Geriatric trauma » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:01 am

Tournaments that have traditionally attracted very strong fields: Texas Invitational, the main site of Harvard Fall, New Trier Varsity

Thomas Jefferson and Richard Montgomery both return everyone from top-tier teams at NSC, so a DC-area tournament that features both of them is likely to be very tough competition.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby the return of AHAN » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:28 am

I'll cast a 2nd vote for Texas Invitational and New Trier Varsity (uber-competitive division) as tournaments with top-shelf quizbowl competition. Texas Invitational gives you slightly more bang for your overall trip since it features two collegiate-level tournaments in one weekend, including one conducted using NAQT rules and clock; great practice for HSNCT the following month.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:17 pm

(Doing my duty to sell Harvard Fall, but fairly:) the trip up to New England can be more expensive for non-East Coast teams, so you (speaking to some abstract "you") should decide for yourself if the value your specific team would get by playing that level of competition merits the cost of travel.

On the other hand, a lot of teams also like to do college visits around the area, so that can be a helpful sell for juniors and seniors willing to stay an extra day on Sunday or Friday (and a good way to also convince some parents to come along).
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby High Dependency Unit » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:42 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote:(Doing my duty to sell Harvard Fall, but fairly:) the trip up to New England can be more expensive for non-East Coast teams, so you (speaking to some abstract "you") should decide for yourself if the value your specific team would get by playing that level of competition merits the cost of travel.

On the other hand, a lot of teams also like to do college visits around the area, so that can be a helpful sell for juniors and seniors willing to stay an extra day on Sunday or Friday (and a good way to also convince some parents to come along).


There are also years when HFT is better than others -- the 2016 field was particularly strong thanks to Lehigh Valley making a 6(?)-hour trip and Southside, LASA, and Wayzata flying in, adding to a field of capable New England/NY teams. In most other years it will be a very strong field but perhaps not worth flying from Alabama -- it doesn't have the firepower that TI has.
Otherwise I would see where the best teams are for a particular year -- teams would have done well to come to even Yale's High School ACF Fall mirror in 2015 or Princeton's IS in September 2016. With Richard Montgomery, Blair, and TJ returning strong teams (even Blair B and TJ B/C made playoffs at HSNCT), plus the potential of solid squads from Wilmington Charter or other teams in the area, you probably want to find a DC-area tournament that those schools are attending.

Of course, if you have the money, play the biggest tournament in every regional circuit -- a variety of competition also helps.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Cody » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:32 pm

Flying to a tournament (or driving some insane number of hours [more than ~8 - 10]) + lodging has never represented an efficient use of resources outside of attending nationals. If this thread is about the "best bang for your buck", then those options are non-starters.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby AKKOLADE » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:43 pm

FRED MORLAN'S COMPLETE AND UTTERLY INFALLIBLE LIST OF TOURNAMENTS THAT YOU, AS A QUIZ BOWL TEAM, ABSOLUTELY MUST ATTEND

All tournaments that:
  • use good questions
  • are reasonably well organized
  • are close enough for you to travel to that you can afford the trip, so usually not ones that require hotels.
  • But hey! Sometimes they can require hotels, if you can afford that.
  • are on a day that your team can attend
  • your state championship! Unless there's a specific qualification procedure and you don't make it, but that's okay, because there's always next year
  • HSNCT and/or NSC, as long as your team will enjoy these events and aware of what they entail and they fit your team's goals (unless your only goal is winning a trophy, which is not a good standard)
  • NASAT, if you can similarly get that set up, which really isn't that hard generally speaking butalso is something that probably has a more limited appeal than even NSC/HSNCT, so hey, just do what you can, right?
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:16 pm

If you're really trying to improve, check out some of the college tournaments with similar difficulties to Nationals - i.e. MUT/EFT/EMT/D2 ICT/whatever. Their content will be slightly different due to audience (more philosophy/social science) and will probably be a bit harder on the whole, but college teams will also provide a strong source of competition (and different playstyles) that may be worth exposing your team to.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Mnemosyne » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:52 pm

I think your best option for something exciting will be a southern EFT mirror. There should be a mirror within a few hours drive, and there will probably be a mix of teams at an appropriate skill level (you won't have to worry about getting beaten down by really good college teams all day), assuming the turnout is like last year. (Edit: This applies to spring tournaments as well, but EFT is happening way sooner than the others)

After that, college tournaments will still be good practice, but you run the risk of their being too difficult/only having strong teams - you could always just ask the TD or others in the region, though. A strong Virginia, Illinois, or Texas tournament could both be drivable (10-12 hours) if you're that committed.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby 100% Clean Comedian Dan Nainan » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:25 pm

Mnemosyne wrote:I think your best option for something exciting will be a southern EFT mirror. There should be a mirror within a few hours drive, and there will probably be a mix of teams at an appropriate skill level (you won't have to worry about getting beaten down by really good college teams all day), assuming the turnout is like last year. (Edit: This applies to spring tournaments as well, but EFT is happening way sooner than the others)


Jumping on this, I would imagine that either one of the two Georgia programs will host it, or possibly WKU again, both of which should be <4 hours from Birmingham, so this seems to be a good "bang for your buck" in regards to expense + field + difficult question set.

EDIT: to add some HS tournaments that nobody has mentioned so far, Glasgow's season opener in August usually attracts strong fields (DCC, Dorman, Battle Ground + usual Kentucky circuit this past year), as does Ezell Harding's (TN) tournament in September.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:32 am

When you really want to break into that top bracket, your local Penn Bowl mirror. The local good teams always play that round these parts.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:12 am

There were high school teams at the EFT mirror at WKU last year, and whoever hosts it this year should probably also invite HS teams. College events at regular difficulty or below are a great way to play on tough questions to prepare for nationals, and usually feature tougher competition than the average HS field in many circuits.

I don't typically recommend flying around the country to the mega-tournaments for "elite" teams. That has always seemed like a waste of resources that could be better invested in local circuit events.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby browen » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:19 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:Tournaments that have traditionally attracted very strong fields: Texas Invitational, the main site of Harvard Fall, New Trier Varsity

Thomas Jefferson and Richard Montgomery both return everyone from top-tier teams at NSC, so a DC-area tournament that features both of them is likely to be very tough competition.


To add on to this thought, UVA's Cavalier Classic, Maggie Walker's GSAC, and any one of VCU's tournaments are fantastic to attend.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby wcheng » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:26 pm

browen wrote:
Granny Soberer wrote:Tournaments that have traditionally attracted very strong fields: Texas Invitational, the main site of Harvard Fall, New Trier Varsity

Thomas Jefferson and Richard Montgomery both return everyone from top-tier teams at NSC, so a DC-area tournament that features both of them is likely to be very tough competition.


To add on to this thought, UVA's Cavalier Classic, Maggie Walker's GSAC, and any one of VCU's tournaments are fantastic to attend.


If anyone is looking for a DC-area high school tournament to attend, the University of Maryland will be hosting our 2017 Maryland Fall next year. This set will be overseen by an experienced group of editors including Jordan Brownstein (lead scorer of the 2017 ACF Nationals-winning team and 2016 PACE NSC editor) and myself, and we intend to have a competitive field at our tournament.
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Re: What tournaments are "must-attend" events, and why?

Postby meebles127 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:26 am

Sorry to revive a dead thread but I went to Cave Spring Invitational in Roanoke, Virginia and it was extremely enjoyable and well-run.
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