Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

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Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:28 pm

I thought it was about time that I created a thread for pre and post tournament discussion of Northwestern's Junior Wildcat tournament to be held on February 21. Information about the tournament can be found here: http://groups.northwestern.edu/quizbowl ... index.html As far as I know, this is the first ever college-style (pyramidal questions with 3 part bonuses) quizbowl tournament for middle schoolers in Illlinois. The field for the tournament is now closed. Feel free to post comments, questions, predictions, and other pre-tournament banter now, and I will certainly look forward to comments and criticism after the tournament.

If anyone (colleges, high schools, middle schools) is interested in mirroring our tournament, please contact me (wehrman AT northwestern DOT edu). The questions are probably a bit easier than NAQT A-series but are more substantial. That is, the question canon is a bit more limited in certain subjects, but the questions are little longer containing a few more clues that will encourage learning and help them adjust to high school quizbowl. The questions would probably work for novice high school events, but some of the questions might have to be increased in difficulty (especially math questions).
Last edited by Awehrman on Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:44 pm

Looks like an interesting field! Do all of the teams know that we're not following IESA rules?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:02 pm

Yes, they should know that we are not using IESA rules. I mentioned the format in the tournament announcement and in several emails to the team as well as on the website. I expect to fully explain it again during the general meeting before the tournament, but they should know what they have signed up for. I think it should be a great event.

Coach Riley, do you how many students that you will be bringing to help read on 2/21?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Big Y » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:14 pm

I recently received this message via email:
I just came from a junior high match in Streator Northlawn where the students were learning NAQT format for the Northwestern U Tournament on 2/21. The coach at Northlawn is teaching her 8th graders 3 part bonuses and conferring during the reading of a question.


It sounds like Andrew has done his job giving a head's up with the format.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:54 pm

Interested to know, was that a high school coach? FWIW, it sounds like Nathan is running Mrs. Riss's practices! My kids played a meet on pyramidal questions last night, many recycled from the 2008 HAVOC and my kids did REALLY well. Buzzing with "Senate President Pro Tempore" on the mention of Robert Byrd as the current holder of this office; with "Michelangelo" on the first line , "Lesser known sculptures of his include Rebellious and Dying Slaves and Bacchus", and "Ganges River" on, "Its namesake plain lies to the north of the Vindhya Range and the Deccan Plateau", just to name a few. So I'm really encouraged by our early results!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Stephen Colbert » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:46 pm

Woody Paige wrote:Interested to know, was that a high school coach? FWIW, it sounds like Nathan is running Mrs. Riss's practices!

It would not be the first time another coach was credited for my handiwork. As I'll be accompanying Northlawn to Northwestern, I started introducing ACF-style bonuses last week. They were skeptical for the first twenty minutes, but by the end of practice they wanted to know why every tournament wasn't using the same format. Since Northlawn had an after-school match with Bloomington Jr. High (I'm assuming this is where the aforementioned e-mail came from), and both teams will be attending the Junior Wildcat, I was hoping to use the format for at least one of the matches to get a little match experience. But, Bloomington's coach did not want her players to confuse the formats and start talking during their upcoming IESA meets. Since our room finished a little early, she did give us permission to practice a few cycles of bonuses, and I was equally impressed by both teams' performances. I'm a little concerned about Northlawn's tendency not to spend at least a few seconds conferring, as they get a little overconfident and occasionally shout-out wrong answers a bit preemptively. I tend to think this is because of their over-excitement about the new format, and will hopefully subside with practice and experience. Don't get me wrong, I don't exactly have a problem with this, but taking a few seconds to reach a consensus probably wouldn't hurt either. Unfortunately, Northlawn's best player, a seventh-grader, has qualified for the county spelling bee the same day, and won't be coming to Northwestern. This probably dampens Northlawn's playoff hopes, which is a shame, because he's a mediocre speller at best. Any advice on changing his mind? Mrs. Riss has been pretty protective about his right to choose between the two. Anyway, I'm glad Northlawn will have the chance to play at such a high caliber tournament on good questions against quality competition and equally happy that the players are embracing the opportunity. That is, before they reach Streator High School, where their coach will preach the importance of playing on anti-pyramidal questions and starting petitions against the spread of ACF-style bonuses.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:22 am

Nathan: naturally, he should go for the greater good. :grin: A little guilt never hurts....

Andy: I'm having little luck so far; most people are tied up with Masonic Sectionals. I'll keep trying to find some other people who might be able to help out....have you asked Matt Laird or Tom Egan (though they might be busy)?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:36 am

I could probably help out and maybe get another BG student or two to help out. I will e-mail you with details when I know for sure.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:48 am

Yeah, scheduling our tournament at the same time as Masonics made good sense schedule-wise but limited the potential staff who could help. I did not know about the math tournament going on the same day. I could use 2 or 3 more expereinced moderators, but I have plenty of staff. The Illinois Institute of Technology is bringing 15 people to help. I am planning to use them as scorekeepers and runners, but in a pinch I could certainly recruit a couple of them to be readers. I would prefer to have readers with at least some quizbowl or scholastic bowl experience, though.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:43 pm

If one of those IIT students is Mark Haase, he's a former student of mine and could certainly moderate.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Stephen Colbert » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:13 am

Any suggestions on the optimal route to avoid traffic and/or construction? I'd like to be well-prepared as our bus driver has apparently never ventured into Chicago-land before. We're coming from Streator (likely on I-55). Northwestern's website suggests I-55 to I-90/94 to I-94W, while Google goes with staying on I-55 all the way to LSD. Or, is there the possibility of taking I-55 to I-294 and then cutting over on like Dempster? Thanks in advance. Oh, and bonus points for any route back that comes near an Olive Garden.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby JackGlerum » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:29 am

Northwestern is a big pain to get to from whenever you are because it's on the lake. If I were you, I'd go Stevenson-Kennedy-Edens and get off at Dempster.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby jonah » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:37 am

Stephen Colbert wrote:Any suggestions on the optimal route to avoid traffic and/or construction? I'd like to be well-prepared as our bus driver has apparently never ventured into Chicago-land before. We're coming from Streator (likely on I-55). Northwestern's website suggests I-55 to I-90/94 to I-94W, while Google goes with staying on I-55 all the way to LSD. Or, is there the possibility of taking I-55 to I-294 and then cutting over on like Dempster? Thanks in advance. Oh, and bonus points for any route back that comes near an Olive Garden.

Take I-55 to I-94, which will be the Dan Ryan, then the Kennedy (as 90/94), and then splits back into 90 and 94 separately. At the junction (Montrose), take 94 (the Edens) to Dempster. At Dempster, get off heading east; take a left at Forest, which will become Sheridan; head north on Sheridan until you hit Northwestern.

To get to an Olive Garden, go back on Sheridan, then take Forest until Dempster, and take a left at McCormick. There's an Olive Garden right by the intersection of McCormick and Touhy. After dinner, head west on Touhy until you hit the Edens interchange; take the Edens through the city (as it becomes the Kennedy and then the Dan Ryan) to I-55.

ETA: Okay, Jack beat me, but I thirtied the bonus he bageled.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby JackGlerum » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:50 am

Overachiever.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:19 am

Well, Jonah and Jack beat me to the punch. Google is telling you to take Lake Shore Drive, because it is the fastest way. It's the way I almost always take to get to Evanston from the south. It's also quite scenic, if you want to give the students a nice view of the city. Sheridan Road (once you get off LSD) has a lot of twists, turns, and stoplights, so it's easy to find yourself going in the wrong direction. I have recommended the 90/94 to Dempster route (294 to Dempster also works) since it is the most straightforward. Since you'll be coming in early Saturday morning, traffic should not be a problem.

I would go with Jonah's directions, but add on that Sheridan Road curves to the left around Fisk Hall (red brck building, there's big sign in front that says "Northwestern University: South Campus" or something like that). Turn off to the right onto Campus Drive instead of following the bend. From there you can drop off students or pull into one of the parking lots. Jonah's directions to Olive Garden are spot on, but there are lots of other restaurants nearby too.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:43 am

Tom Skilling wrote:Saturday:
28 12 Snowy/breezy through midday. Snowfalls may exceed 6 inches -- heaviest in counties next to the lake. Flurries in the afternoon and night. Lake snows shifting into Indiana snowbelt.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:57 am

What a wimp. :grin:
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:42 am

The tournament will go on. Northwestern never closes. Do you think that teams will cancel because of six inches or so of snow? Stupid February.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:47 am

Oh, I'm not planning to cancel, but if they drop a winter storm warning, I could see my bus company punking out on us. But I AM worried about the Bloomingtons, Rockfords, and Streators of the tournament arriving on time, if at all.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:29 am

Agreed. Hopefully the bus companies won't cancel out on them, but another worry would be the parents who get nervous if one flake of snow falls.....I'm not being flippant here, I've even had this experience with high school teams; IDOT can say the roads are clear and it won't make a difference.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:32 pm

David Riley wrote:Agreed. Hopefully the bus companies won't cancel out on them, but another worry would be the parents who get nervous if one flake of snow falls.....I'm not being flippant here, I've even had this experience with high school teams; IDOT can say the roads are clear and it won't make a difference.


Unfortunately this does happen. I had a couple tournament trips cancelled from minimal snowfall back in high school. I never forgave our A.D...
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Stephen Colbert » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:34 pm

Awehrman wrote:The tournament will go on. Northwestern never closes. Do you think that teams will cancel because of six inches or so of snow? Stupid February.

I will do everything in my power to make sure Streator Northlawn is there and on time. Obviously we don't want to mess-up the schedule or format by backing out or showing up late. However, 6-8 inches of snow may take the call out of my hands. I can assure you that we'll wait until early Saturday morning to make a decision based on how much snow actually falls and its effect on road conditions. If we do need to cancel or we're delayed on the way, is there a number we can reach you at? You can e-mail Mrs. Riss (priss AT ses44.net) or me (ralphus84 AT yahoo.com).
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby mrdcool » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:26 pm

We're leaving tomorrow morning and staying in a nearby hotel Friday night. Here's hoping weather issues are minimal not only for us, but for all the teams a little more local!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:58 pm

Actually, when I reflect on the respective routes teams will be taking, I could see Streator and Bloomington being LESS affected by the snow as their routes will be mostly interstate highways, which always fare the best during snowy weather. The AP secretary at my school assured me, before the winter storm watch was issued, our bus company will be waiting for me at 7 AM Saturday, and our route involves Lake-Cook Road, which is well taken care of during snowfall, in my experience anyway. I will cross my fingers! Besides, it's not like they're talking about an EPIC snowfall, right?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:39 am

The National Weather Service wrote:Issued by The National Weather Service
Chicago, IL
3:41 am CST, Fri., Feb. 20, 2009

... WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM CST SATURDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW... WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 11 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM CST SATURDAY.

SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN FALLING ACROSS NORTHEAST ILLINOIS AND NORTHWEST INDIANA LATE THIS EVENING AND CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. THE SNOW MAY BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES... WITH SNOWFALL RATES AS HIGH AS 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR POSSIBLE. STORM TOTAL SNOW AMOUNTS OF 6 TO 8 INCHES ARE EXPECTED BY LATE SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

I could cry. :aaa: :aaa: :aaa: :aaa: :aaa: :aaa:

Andrew,
You should consider an e-mail blast to all parties involved, ASAP, to let them know that the tournament will go on regardless.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:42 am

I just sent an email out to all teams letting them know that the tournament is still on. The only way we would cancel is if the vast majority of teams drops out. We ran our high school tournament with 7 teams this year, so we are not opposed to very small tournaments. Hopefully the snow will only cause a handful of teams to drop. We could split some of the larger teams to fill their spots. Some teams are bringing as many as 18 students for a single team, so I'm not too worried at this point about not having enough players and teams to fill out the tournament, but we may have to scramble to produce a new tournament schedule on the fly.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:55 am

Awehrman wrote:I just sent an email out to all teams letting them know that the tournament is still on. The only way we would cancel is if the vast majority of teams drops out. We ran our high school tournament with 7 teams this year, so we are not opposed to very small tournaments. Hopefully the snow will only cause a handful of teams to drop. We could split some of the larger teams to fill their spots. Some teams are bringing as many as 18 students for a single team, so I'm not too worried at this point about not having enough players and teams to fill out the tournament, but we may have to scramble to produce a new tournament schedule on the fly.

Andrew, what about adult supervision of teams? Is that an issue? I ask because I intend to bring 23 or 24 kids tomorrow and could conceivably fill out 4 teams without an issue, but I only have 1 assistant. I could make it work with responsible 8th graders as captains I suppose.
In other news, I've rescheduled Station's bus for to depart 10 minutes earlier. ALSO, since Barrington is hosting IHSA Swimming sectionals and IESA Wrestling regionals, it's going to have to get REALLY bad before they tell me I can't go, which would only happen if they canceled those events, too.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:07 am

I have had 2 teams drop so far. There will likely be more. I think that there will be enough adults around (we should have 2 staff people in every room, assuming they all can make through the weather) that it will not be a problem if some teams do not have a coach. We may just have to run a more casual event, and perhaps decrease the number of rounds. Who knows? Stay tuned.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:23 pm

So, who dumped?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:52 pm

The Crystal Lake teams (Lundahl and Beardsley) are the only definite drops so far.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby mrdcool » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:22 pm

We are in town and will definitely be there tomorrow! Hopefully the weather doesn't prevent too many more teams from coming. We'd hate to drive all this way and not have the chance to compete. Drive safe everyone - we don't care if the tourney starts late if need be, so if you're coming try to leave early and don't feel the need to rush!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:50 pm

It's going to have to be worse than advertised to get us to drop. Crystal Lake was a package deal, as they're a unit district, and I can see them dropping due to one administrator following the lead of another. Hopefully that will be all. I could easily, however, see the tournament being delayed a half hour or so as teams roll in late.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Stephen Colbert » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:12 am

Streator Northlawn is still a go as of 11:00 PM. The buzzers are packed, pencils sharpened, oranges peeled, pears sliced, apples shined, Mt. Dew iced, marshmallow Peeps doing whatever it is they do, practice questions for the bus printed and stapled, and my mittens, scarf, and stocking cap are toasting in the dryer. After five straight days of reading nothing but pyramidal toss-ups, my vocal cords have thrown in the towel. The snow has just started to fall in Streator. We'll meet quickly around 5:00 AM tomorrow and make our decision based on the weather conditions at that time.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:47 am

Before I go to bed, a quick update. The Bolingbrook teams are out as are the Rockfords and Joliet. Down to 23 at this point. We'll split a team to make it 24 if there are no further drops. It actually works out a bit better schedule-wise since we'll only need to be in one building.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:09 am

The forecast is improving! Only 'light snow' during our travel time, and <80% chance at that! :party:
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:45 pm

Hats off to Andy Wehrman and the outstanding Junior Wildcat Tournament today. The questions were THE best middle school tournament questions I've ever heard in 12 years of coaching. Thank you. My recent meet which used HAVOC packets prepared us and the Cary JHS team well, as both of our A teams won their pools. I think once the teams got used to it, the bonus format was a hit, though some teams were still getting confused about when they could talk as late as the quarterfinal round. Lincolnshire Daniel Wright B had a player talking to her teammates THREE times during the reading of a TU. That's just a lack of attention and am not aware of any of my teams being DQ'd on a TU.
I must also apologize to Mr. Dickendesher for not being able to dispatch a Barrington team to play an exhibition match like I thought would happen. When Prairie B told me of their 1-4 record, I just knew they wouldn't be advancing. Alas, they did with the 16 seed. Go figure. I hope you were able to find someone to get another match against. The lone, tourney-related complaint I heard was that one of the moderators read too fast. Seriously, he had impressive speed-reading ability, but it was a bit much for 12-14 year olds to comprehend. I'm pretty sure the first TU went dead because no one knew what he said!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Stephen Colbert » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:32 am

I’ve been up since at least three o’clock this morning worrying about the weather, and as our bus just got back into town under an hour ago, I’m exhausted and will try to keep this succinct. From the quality of the questions to the caliber of the competition to the competence of the staff, this tournament was simply awesome. Going back to the standard IESA format for the rest of the season, including the state series, seems sinful. If the IHSA continues its reluctance towards change, I assure you, change will come from the middle school level. Every team I witnessed today not only enjoyed, but also excelled on pyramidal questions and ACF-style bonuses. And, speaking only for my players, I truly believe it brought out the best in the team. That speaks volumes more than the score of any match or a trophy ever could. And it is precisely that, the ability of excellent questions to raise the level of their competitors—to serve as both a teaching tool and a pathway to knowledge—that outweighs any counter-argument. Tournaments like this have raised the bar of scholastic bowl in Illinois. Out or service to the hard work of these middle school students, the IHSA needs to respond in kind. Their first experiences as high school players should be, like today, another step forward into the world of good quizbowl. Again, thank you to Andy & his cohorts at Northwestern!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby at your pleasure » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:53 am

When will the set be posted? I would love to see what these questions look like and I think they might be useful for novice practices.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:32 am

Here are the brief results from the tournament. Barrington Station B was the winner defeating Barrington Station A in the final match. I'm sure that Station A was exhausted after a thrilling semifinal comeback victory over Daniel Wright A that was tied going into the last tossup on Jules Verne. Daniel Wright A defeated Barrington Station C in the 3rd place match. I will post more complete results later on. We discovered that SQBS does not work for middle school tournaments, because it only allows entries for 8 players per team. Who knew? So our statistics are not as complete as I would like, and I may have to compile them by hand, later, much later. Overall I was very impressed by the teams in attendance. Contrary to the results it was not just the Barrington Station show. Many teams put up impressive totals and gave incredible answers. We had 8 teams (from four schools) who did not make the playoffs stay until nearly 5 o'clcok scrimmaging each other in open rooms so they could finish playing out the set. It was a great site to see so many people excited about quizbowl.

I'll post more complete results and comments when I'm rested up. By I want to make a quick thanks to my wife Ellen, who held the tournament together in the headquarters room handling all the problems that came up. We couldn't have run it as smoothly as we did without the help of the crew from IIT who brought 12 readers and scorekeepers, as well as Evan and Shatanu from U Chicago. Jack Glerum and David Riley stayed until the end reading the 3rd/4th game and deserve a hearty thanks as well.

Please do not talk about specific questions here. I would love to hear your thoughts over email, though. Because the tournament went so well and people seemed to enjoy the questions, I think they deserve to be played on by more people before I post them online. If you have any interest in mirroring this event for middle schools or freshmen/sophomore level high school, please contact me, so we can make arrangements. I will also make a post within the next week giving advice to colleges on running middle school tournaments. It was a real learning experience, but there's a huge untapped market there.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:57 am

Awehrman wrote: We discovered that SQBS does not work for middle school tournaments, because it only allows entries for 8 players per team. Who knew?


You can create an individual entry for "Team X Players" and put in all tossup stats that way; then you will have complete team stats through SQBS and will only have to do individual stats manually rather than all of them.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby JackGlerum » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:56 pm

Props to Andy and Northwestern, this tournament was sweet. I had uber-low expectations given my limited middle school quizbowl experience, and I was blown away by the level of competition and quality of questions. Despite some difficult questions, there were several rounds in which the teams I moderated for converted 90% of the tossups and thirtied several bonuses. I believe it was Shantanu who said that this tournament "hit the sweet spot" of middle school pyramidality, accessibility, and difficulty.

Secondly, Barrington Station is awesome. Andy is right that there were many other solid teams, but three of the final four teams from the same school? Crazy. It's a testament to having a coach who knows what the hell he's doing. Mr. Price uses good questions in practice; they perform well at a tournament with good questions. Doesn't seem complicated to me.

Re: Andy's future post about how to run a middle school tournament--something I'll point out before I forget:

Mr. Riley commented that many of the coaches seemed to adhere to the "everybody wins" ideology where they bring gobs of kids to tournaments and substitute people in and out at every timeout/halftime they can. Indeed, in round 6, I read for a team that had a roster of 18 players on a 5-player team.

To solve this, simply tell them in the invitation letter that there is a maximum of 6 or 7 kids per team and that they are allowed to register several teams if you have a large program. That way, they can get their "everybody wins" fix because nobody is riding the bench the whole day but they can also "play to win" because their best people are not subbing out at every timeout.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby mrdcool » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:01 pm

This was an outstanding tournament, and I'm very grateful for the invitation to attend. The experience will prove very beneficial to my kids as we look to improve our performances here at home. I really enjoyed the questions and the format - too bad we don't do anything close to that around here. Thank you to Andy and Jeff for helping me get my trip organized, and it was nice meeting both of you.

8 teams stayed around to play exhibition matches: the 2 Sandusky teams, 2 Holy Cross teams, St. Raymond, and Liberty, which divided their 2 teams into 3 so we had an even number. We quickly wrote up a schedule so each team could have 2 more matches, and I thank those coaches and players for agreeing to hang out a little longer.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:06 pm

Stephen Colbert wrote: ... And, speaking only for my players, I truly believe it brought out the best in the team. ...

Understatement of the year! Just 7 days earlier, my Station team beat Streator Northlawn, 218-88 at the Metcalf Tourney using the usual questions, and Billy and Noah were non-factors, getting benched in the 2nd half by Mrs. Riss. At NU, those two (I think I have the ID's correct) were beasts, earning 2 of the Top 10 scoring awards, and leading their team to a 6-1 mark, with that lone loss happening on the last bonus part of question 20 of their quarterfinal game. But for that, Northlawn would've had some well-deserved hardware. We talk about change occurring from below and Northlawn's success yesterday could lay the groundwork for winning over their high school coach if they keep asking him to take them to NAQT tournaments starting next year.
Jeff Price, Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:14 am

Second all that's been said. A great tournament :party: :party: :party:

I hope it continues as an annual event, and I haven't had anywhere near the middle school experience that Mr. Price has, but hopefully this will cause a positive ripple effect toward change in IESA and IHSA.

Speaking of IESA, I was told something by a respected coach at one point that IESA rules "outlaw the use of LINED PAPER".
:w-hat: ???!!? Is this true? Please give me a reason why this rule exists, if it indeed does.......let's get rid of these silly behavioral rules!!!!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby the return of AHAN » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:46 am

Mr. Riley, The IESA State Series rules essentially call for completely blank paper so that teams don't try to pull a fast one by having tiny printed facts on the page, or by having a tablet of pre-printed paper with facts buried on the back pages and such. Usually, a rule like that comes from someone actually doing it and the offended party complaining. It's so NOT likely that such information could ever be of use in a match, but there it is. No reasonable coach would harp on someone having a blank sheet of notebook paper, but there's no real difference (that you could easily put into rulebook language) between that and customized, lined paper like, say, Schaumburg High School uses. But, hey, the Junior Wildcat made no pretension of faithfully executing the IESA by-laws so such a coach really can't complain. Which team's coach are you referring to, BTW?
Jack, Thanks for the compliment! Really, I got the idea of spreading things out by witnessing what I call "The Loyola Method" of entering multiple teams, even if some might get crushed. It was a bit of an accident that B and C were THAT good. I honestly wasn't trying to stack teams to hoard trophies. The C team All-Star that had a great day was an 8th grader playing in his first tournament ever and would've been on my bench for the A team (my battle-tested vets), while the 6th grader that had a huge day for the B team was just that; a 6th grader playing his first tournament. Obviously, I'll be realigning my teams for the next tournament! But for the miraculous comeback, Daniel Wright A could've easily won that tourney, and when Andrew posts the SQBS stats, you'll see their bonus conversion was probably the best of any team there.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:17 pm

David Riley wrote:Speaking of IESA, I was told something by a respected coach at one point that IESA rules "outlaw the use of LINED PAPER".

hahahahahhahahahhaha
haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahah
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Awehrman » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:24 pm

Thanks for all the high praise! It really was my pleasure to see the event work out as well as I did. We had 10 teams drop out of the tournament due to weather concerns on Friday and Saturday, so I was scrambling to get a tournament schedule written up at the last minute, since I was not sure who was actually going to show up. We ended up with 24 teams after splitting up a few of the larger teams to get a good number. We had to start about an hour late. I'm very pleased to say that I did not hear any complaints about the late start or the fact that we did not get students off to lunch until after 1 o'clock.

Very rough SQBS stats are located on the tournament website for now: http://groups.northwestern.edu/quizbowl/juniorwildcat/2009/Junior%20Wildcat_standings.html. These were the stats we had going during the tournament. The individual stats are not accurate. We compiled the all-tournament team by hand. I'm missing some scoresheets for the playoff and other rounds, which I assume our stats person picked up, so hopefully we will have full stats available later in the week. The anomaly in the stats (aside from the individuals) was that we had two teams who were not in the same pool play each other during the preliminary rounds. We counted both affected games as ties (we had neither the time nor the questions to properly fix the problem and run the matches over), and avergaed the teams' points in their other games to give them their playoff seeds. It was not an ideal situation, but I think we handled it as best we could. The most accuarate stat you can gather is the bonus conversion. We did use rebounding bonuses, so that inflated the totals somewhat, but I am pleased that several teams got over 20 ppb, about half were above 15ppb, and the lowest were right around 10.

This leads me to Jack's suggestion:
Mr. Riley commented that many of the coaches seemed to adhere to the "everybody wins" ideology where they bring gobs of kids to tournaments and substitute people in and out at every timeout/halftime they can. Indeed, in round 6, I read for a team that had a roster of 18 players on a 5-player team.

To solve this, simply tell them in the invitation letter that there is a maximum of 6 or 7 kids per team and that they are allowed to register several teams if you have a large program. That way, they can get their "everybody wins" fix because nobody is riding the bench the whole day but they can also "play to win" because their best people are not subbing out at every timeout.


Since I had not been to a middle school quizbowl tournament since I was in middle school, there were quite a few things that happened that I did not expect. One was that the fact that the teams were so large. I think the average number of players per team was somewhere around 12. We had to pack these huge teams along with coaches, parents, and on-lookers into tiny Northwestern classrooms. Those rooms are fine for high school or college tournaments, but I wouldn't use them again for middle school (again, I didn't hear any complaints other than that the rooms got hot).

I understand what you are saying about the "everybody wins" philosophy, but I'm not sure it's entirely applicable. To me, middle school quizbowl seemed like a different sort of animal, a different kind of culture. I'm not sure that many of those kids could have held up the entire day without rotating in and out. The teams seem to maintain their focus that way, and I didn't see any student frustrated or upset that he or she was told to sub out. It was a strain on our facilities and scorekeepers, but I think that was more our fault than the teams' fault. Schools that did not have extra coaches were reluctant to split up teams (as was I), since they would not have any direct adult supervision. I allowed a couple teams to split and did not require them to have coaches. This worked ok, but the big gaffe in the tournament probably would not have happened if every team had a coach. One of the teams that was scheduled to play in the flawed game room saw two other teams already in the room and just sat in the hallway rather than finding a tournament official or interrupting the match. Without a coach they did not know what to do. In the future I would encourage teams to bring extra coaches and parents so that teams could split into multiple teams, but I would be reluctant to put a hard cap on the number of players per team. I think the last thing we want to do is restrict awareness and participation in quizbowl. To a large degree, I think all of the substituting left many players and coaches wanting more, and I think that's exacly what we want at this level.
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby David Riley » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:41 pm

I should perhaps clarify my "everybody wins" stance. I think it's great that some schools have such large programs. But since I see quiz bowl as a competition, even in middle school, I don't understand why a coach would pull ALL OF HIs/HER STARTERS after QUESTION #5 in order to give all of their students a chance to play. I would have either entered multiple teams, or worked it out such that the students played within several rounds (not within a round). I will concede that perhaps middle school students don't have the energy to last nine rounds, though the students I saw in the afternoon were all pretty energetic!
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:47 pm

David Riley wrote:I will concede that perhaps middle school students don't have the energy to last nine rounds, though the students I saw in the afternoon were all pretty energetic!

But isn't the argument that they looked pretty energetic precisely because of how they were rotated? Or do you mean kids who didn't substitute?
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Re: Junior Wildcat at Northwestern 2/21

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:12 pm

I dunno, middle schoolers are an unfortunately squirrely bunch.
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