Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

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Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Strongside » Thu May 15, 2014 8:18 pm

It was interesting to read about Brian Weikle's experiences on the University of Minnesota quiz/college bowl team. Quiz bowl has obviously changed, and Brian made a great point in emphasizing how good my generation has it.

A variety of things have gotten me back into thinking more about quiz bowl recently, so I decided to talk about some items that might be of interest to others.

A lot of the most active and enthusiastic players are in or approaching their late to mid 20s, and some of us (like me), are not playing as much as they used to.

I felt this post would be a good recollection of the past 9-10 years of quiz bowl in Minnesota. For this terms of this post "Minnesota" will refer to the quiz bowl community, as opposed to the school (which will be referred to as the University of Minnesota).

I do want to preface it by saying that my time as a member of the Minnesota quiz bowl scene was a special experience, and one that I am grateful to be a part of. Looking back on it, I was spoiled to be surrounded by others with such a passion for quiz bowl.

Quiz bowl offered me some unbelievable opportunities in high school, college, and after college, and has played an important role in shaping my life.

There are three topics that I want to cover.

2005 NAQT State Championship

Back in August of 2008, Andrew Hart posted this on the forums in a 2008-2009 collegiate preview thread.

It's about the coolest thing that I can think of that four kids from the suburbs of Minneapolis who started playing quizbowl four or five years ago and graduated high school within a year of each other are in this position of "wildcard contending team." Who would have ever thought that four players who combined to go 5-64-25 at the 2005 Minnesota NAQT State (first pyramidal tournament for Rob, Gautam, and me; third for Brendan!) would be here?

Here is a link to the stats from that tournament.

http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... nt_id=1793

This was an IS set. It was the first pyramidal tournament for Andrew, Rob, and Gautam, and Trevor. It was my fourth, and Carsten's third. It was the first time any of us had played on an IS set.

Here are our stat lines in the preliminaries. 6 rounds of 20 tossups each.

Brendan 1/34/15
Andrew 2/8/7
Rob 2/15/2
Gautam 0/7/1
Trevor 0/17/2
Carsten 0/12/0

Out of 720 tossups heard we combined to go 5/93/27.

To be clear this means that we combined to power .69% of the tossups.

Out of 720 tossups heard, we combined to get 98 tossups for a 13.6% conversion rate.

If you throw out my stats as I had the most quiz bowl experience at the time, the line is 4/59/12. That is a 10.5% conversion rate.

Andrew, Rob, and I were juniors, Trevor and Gautam sophomores, and Carsten a freshman.

My only power of the tournament was on the city of Fargo off of a Roger Maris clue.

I wanted to repost and expand on this so other people could realize that even players like us were not putting up impressive stat lines when we started playing pyramidal questions.

2006 State Tournament

The 2006 League State Tournament was a memorable experience. Looking back on who was involved, makes it even more memorable.

This was the last year the tournament was played on Patrick's Press, and the last year that 8 teams advanced instead of 16.

In the quarterfinals my team matched up against Eden Prairie (which included Trevor Davis, Gautam Kandlikar, and Michael Wright).

We played a close and competitive match. I remember I had what I felt was a very strong round, and my Mounds Park Academy team was able to pull win the intense match.

I believe I played against Gautam and Trevor six time in high school.

The next night my team was matched up against Chaska in the semifinals of the state tournament. Chaska featured Rob Carson and Andrew Hart. My team had gone to a couple of the same tournaments as Chaska, but this was the first I had every played against Andrew or Rob.

We played a four quarter format.

The first quarter always started out with 5-10 current events questions. These current events questions were not current events in the traditional sense of anything in the past 5 years, but anything in the past week or so. There would also be questions about local current events.

The round was timed, and the tossups were normally worth ten points, although I believe that might have varied. Chaska had a big round and ran out to a large lead. I want to say it was about 100 points.

The next round consisted of tossups with 20 point bonuses. Tossups and then corresponding bonus would be asked. I know that we got all four tossups in this segment, and converted some of the bonuses. This round also consisted of a spelling tossup on onomatopoeia, which I managed to spell correctly.

At halftime my team was down by five, which turned out to be a perfect scenario.

The third quarter was a lightning round. The team trailing would pick a category and have 60 seconds to answer 10 quick questions. Each question was worth 10 points, with a 20 point bonus for getting all 10.

My team got the first pick and picked world capitals. The category named a country and we had to name the capital. I remember we swept this category, but I think I came somewhat close to stumbling on Phnom Penh.

Chaska picked next. I do not remember what category they picked or how many correct answers they got. I want to say they got 5, and we got 3 back for a net gain of 20 for them, versus 120 for us, or something like that.

The fourth quarter was next. It was similar to the first quarter, except some of the tossups were worth 15 or 20 points, and the round lasted longer. Chaska was down by about 95 going in, but made a furious rally. Chaska got the last two questions to win by 5 points (450-445). I cannot remember the last tossup, but I think the second to last tossup was on Dean Rusk, and Rob got it.

It is worth noting that Chaska answered about 15 more tossups than my team, yet it still came down to the final question.

The rounds were timed, but the timer was not available for us to view. The pace moved fast, there were not timeouts, and it was hard for players keep an exact running score. This was also broadcasted on a local cable access show.

This was before Robert Hentzel ran the Thursday meets, and he was at the tournament as an observer and was the scorekeeper for this round. I remember when he announced the final score of Chaska winning by 450-445, I remember agonizing over not being able to pull it out.

I hope that Rob and Andrew will be a be able to fill in some more the details of this match.

I only played against Rob and Andrew twice in high school. The other team was at a meet on an NAQT IS set where Chaska defeated me playing solo in the semifinals of the tournament (275-225).

The other interesting thing about my two match ups against Andrew and Rob in high school, is that it featured 3 players in the top 30 of the 2011 all time greatest quiz bowl players list.

One question I have is has there ever been a non all star non open high school quiz bowl match that featured 3 of the top 30 players of all time (using the 2011 list and/or a hypothetical updated 2014 list)?

Why the summer of 2007 was important


In the summer of 2007, Andrew Hart decided to organize weekly practices at his home.

A bunch of us would spend Tuesday evenings in his basement, hanging out and playing quiz bowl questions. Andrew was able to get copies of past PACE NSCs, and that was our primary practice material that summer.

These practices were a can't miss event for me.

It is kind of crazy to think we were practicing primarily on high school questions that summer, and as far as I can remember we rarely if ever played anything that was collegiate regular difficulty or harder.

Looking back on my years involved with quiz bowl in Minnesota, I feel that the summer of 2007 was the turning point.

A lot of what one could call the modern Minnesota's quiz bowl "luminaries" attended these practices, and it gave me a chance to get to know some of them better.

In addition to Andrew and I, other Minnesotans who attended these included Rob, Gautam, Trevor, Carsten, Bernadette, Michael Wright, Sam Peterson, Quentin Roper, and Igor Luzhansky.

I hope what us Minnesotans did can inspire future generations of quiz bowlers.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Strongside » Mon May 19, 2014 7:59 pm

I have a follow up to my previous post.

This post focuses more on high school than college, so I apologize in advance if this is too off topic for this sub-forum.

Some of the stuff that I talk about in the post and the previous post is otherwise not written down, so this can also be a way to help preserve some history.

This obviously might not interest people outside of Minnesota as much, but it has some general things that might be of interest.

I talked about how I felt the summer of 2007 helped transform our quiz bowl playing ability to the next level, and how it was the most transformational calendar year for us.

Here is one example of why.

In October of 2007, I was talking to Andrew Hart about the possibly of the University of Minnesota hosting a mirror of Titanomachy (regular difficulty mACF event). Andrew told me he wanted to host it, but he could not get rooms at the University of Minnesota for the day.

I was disappointed because I wanted to play the tournament. I had only played two ACF tournaments up to that point, and had not played an mACF tournament. I somewhat casually suggested hosting the tournament at Chaska High School (his alma mater). Andrew made it happen (with a field of 5 teams, and about 12 players).

This was also around the time where Andrew had just head edited Deep Bench, worked on ACF Fall, and was a week before his first literature tournament was played on. Going out of the way to host Titanomachy was a great example of Andrew going beyond what is necessary to promote good quiz bowl.


So what I consider the start of the modern era of Minnesota high school quiz bowl started in October of 2003.

The first ever high school NAQT meet was on an A set on October 25, 2003. I remember our team was going to go that tournament, but our coach canceled because no one else other than me could go. I was not at the point yet where I would play solo.

I was okay with that because
1. This was not a tournament I desperately wanted to go to.
2. I had no idea how good I could or would become at quiz bowl.
3. I had a fantasy basketball draft that day with some of my high school classmates.

So there you have it. I was participating in a fantasy basketball draft the day the first ever high school pyramidal quiz bowl tournament was held in Minnesota.

During the 2003-2004 school year there were 3 NAQT meets, and in 2004-2005 there were 4 NAQT meets. There were only two meets on IS sets (as opposed to A sets) prior to the 2006 calendar year.

The first Minnesota team to attend HSNCT was Robbinsdale Armstrong in 2004. They were the only Minnesota team to attend that year. In 2005 Robbinsdale Armstrong attend HSNCT again, and were the only Minnesota team to make the playoffs. They went 6-4, and lost their two playoff games.

2007 was the first year that a Minnesota team attended PACE NSC (Eden Prairie).

The 2005-2006 tournament had six NAQT meets (excluding a meet only open to schools from an athletic conference).

I attended all six of those NAQT meets, the Thursday league meets, and a couple of tournaments on non-pyramidal questions, plus Faceoff Minnesota (more on that later, but I do not count it as a traditional tournament).

I want to go more in depth about the 2005-2006. I originally considered going over every meet I attended, but instead decided to include those anecdotes in other places.

2005-2006 was a unique season for several reasons.

1. It was the heart of the transition from exclusively non pyramidal questions (2002-2003) to exclusively or almost exclusively pyramidal questions (2006-2007).

2. It featured (probably by far) the most concentrated future talent in Minnesota quiz bowl history. Me, Andrew Hart, Rob Carson, Trevor Davis, and Gautam Kandlikar played quiz bowl this season. Carsten Gehring and Michael Wright were also active.

This was before Bernadette Spencer, Joe Hansen, Chris Carter, and Sam Peterson played any NAQT.

Edit: Bernadette did play Faceoff Minnesota.

3. It was the only year that Faceoff Minnesota was held.

I want to rank the top ten teams in the state from 2005-2006.

I will separate the teams into three tiers, listed in alphabetical order.

Tier 1. 2 teams

Chaska

St. Thomas

It will work best to describe these two teams together. From 2003-2006 (my four years in high school), Chaska and St. Thomas played in the state championship every year. Not only did they play in the championship, but they also were 14-0 when they played against each other in the championship matches all four years.

These two schools have been contenders since 2006, but have combined to win only one of the past 8 state championships (Chaska in 2009).

So in 2005-2006 these teams traded winning many of the tournaments, including all of the major ones.

St. Thomas defeated Chaska in the finals of the Thursday League Tournament, the finals of Faceoff Minnesota, and the semifinals of NAC. St. Thomas also won the State Knowledge Bowl Tournament, with Chaska finishing second.

Edit: I meant to say Chaska defeated St. Thomas in the semifinals of NAC.

Chaska won several regular season quiz bowl events such as TOMCAT, Run for the Roses, and SAVANT. St. Thomas won SNOWCAT.

St. Thomas ended up losing in the finals of NAC, and made the playoffs of the HSNCT, while also winning two matches. As Andrew, Rob, and Chaska's other top player Andrew Guyton lamented on the forums back at the time, they were unable to attend HSNCT.

My Mounds Park Academy team went 0-3 against Chaska A, and 1-1 versus St. Thomas A during the season, with our only win coming against St. Thomas in the playoffs of HSNCT.

Tier 2. 3 teams

Eden Prairie. This was a strong Eden Prairie team with Trevor Davis, Gautam Kandlikar, and Michael Wright, that would break through and have even more success in 2007 and 2008 (those two teams still have the highest bonus conversions in the HSNCT prelims among Minnesota teams). We went 3-3 against Eden Prairie throughout the year.

I remember the first time we played Eden Prairie was at TOMCAT. I did not know much about Eden Prairie at the time, but I knew it would be a tough matchup.

This tournament had some logistical issues which included various delays throughout the tournament. This resulted in my team going undefeated in the prelims and failing to advance to the playoffs much to my dismay and disappointment, in part due to our final match running late or something like that.

This was also the tournament that had a logistical delay between round 1 and round 2, and I went back to the tournament headquarters to figure out what was going on, and a coach of another team suggested I go "sit in the corner." or something to that extent.

This meant my first ever match against Trevor, Gautam, and Michael in a hallway at Macalester College on short speed check questions that I still have a copy of. Tossup 2 read, "What disease is also known as the kissing disease."?

Edit: This was actually the second time I played Michael Wright.

I talked more about the match against Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals of the Thursday state tournament. I sadly can't remember much more about that match other than I answered a 20 point tossup on Parson Weems.

Minnetonka. Minnetonka was another strong team, that my team went 1-3 against. I remember it felt like a major accomplishment when we finally beat them after losing to them three times. We played Minnetonka in the finals of two tournaments, SOCIAL, and GINVIT. We blew a roughly 200 point lead in the finals of SOCIAL only to lose in overtime. They handily beat us in the finals of GINVIT. They were 5-1 at HSNCT, and narrowly missed the playoffs by losing their last four games. Their top player, Sean Litsey, is Andrew Hart's cousin.

Mounds Park Academy. My team consistently did well at the local meets, piling up several second and third place finishes, but could not break through to win a meet. We broke through to finish tenth at HSNCT. In hindsight, the reason my team did so well at HSNCT in 2006 was due to my teammates making some good buzzes in my weaker categories, and the fact that I was a better player on bonuses and harder tossups (which I would not really learn until later in college).


Tier 3. 5 teams

Cretin-Derham. Upset Minnetonka to make it to the semifinals of Faceoff Minnesota. Went 5-5 at HSNCT.

Orono. Went 11-1 in league, and made it to the semifinals of league.

Saint Anthony. More focused on knowledge bowl, but did win a tournament held at Minnetonka.

This is also the same tournament where seven teams advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Since that is an odd number, there was a drawing for one team to get a bye to the quarterfinals, which my team managed to get drawn. This was also the same tournament we we needed overtime to win our round of 14 match, got that bye to the final four, and then ended up getting second place even though we lost in the semifinals of the tournament.

Saint Paul Academy. Went 11-1 in league. They also made it to the championship of NAQT states before losing to Eden Prairie.

Wayzata. Good team that we had some close matches against. Played at HSNCT.

Knowledge Bowl. The short version of knowledge bowl can be summed up by Andrew Hart suggesting that it would make Matt Weiner's head explode.

The weird thing about knowledge bowl is that it co-exists, yet is somewhat separated from quiz bowl. Some teams do both, some teams do quiz bowl, and some teams do knowledge bowl.

Minnesota can be separated into two parts, both in terms of geography, and quiz bowl activity. There is the Twin Cities metro area where the majority of the population lives. There is then outstate Minnesota. Outstate Minnesota is a strong knowledge bowl stronghold.

I know that Robert Hentzel and others have made efforts to get teams from outstate Minnesota to participate in quiz bowl, but spreading quiz bowl to these areas has proven to be very difficult. It is worth noting though that teams from Western Wisconsin come to NAQT meets on a somewhat regular basis.

Some of the best knowledge bowl teams in the state are in the Twin Cities, and do not do quiz bowl.

So there are two tournaments that deserve a mention.

Thursday League. I already talked about this, but will expand. This was similar to how Thursday league is currently run. Matches are held Thursday evenings. There are four divisions, and each division meets three times, and plays four matches each day, for a total of 12 matches for each team. The top two teams would advance to the quarterfinals, and only one team from each school could advance. 16 teams advance nowadays to a double elimination format.

My division included Minnetonka, St. Paul Academy, and Wayzata.

After 8 matches, Mounds Park Academy, Minnetonka, and St. Paul Academy were 7-1, and basically in a circle of death. Mounds Park Academy had defeated St. Paul Academy, who had defeated Minnetonka, who had defeated Mounds Park Academy.

I remember the tournament director announcing before the final games of play that if there was a three way tie, there would be a tiebreaker round. The tiebreaker round would have consisted of the teams going into three separate rooms, and being read questions (don't know how many) against "empty chairs." The team with the lowest score would be eliminated.

Making the league playoffs was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me, and I would have been very disappointed if we had missed. I had made the league playoffs my freshman year as our fourth scorer, and did not want to miss my senior year when I felt we had a better team.

So that Thursday night in league play, I am pretty sure we were playing with only three people.

Our toughest match that day was against Wayzata A. We were very close at halftime, but we swept the lightning round, and pulled away a bit in the fourth quarter. I do remember answering a current events tossup about one of the killers of a St. Paul police officer.

So going into the last match Mounds Park Academy, Minnetonka, and St. Paul Academy were 10-1.

This was back when one match from each round would be taped to be shown on tv. Generally every A team would play one match against another A team once per Thursday. These matches would take longer, and my team's final round was not televised. After our match ended, I went into the waiting room to watch the Minnetonka-Wayzata match on tv. I knew it was a close match. I remember when they read the final score. Wayzata 325, Minnetonka 320. This gave Minnetonka two losses and put us in the playoffs.

2006 SAVANT. This was a tournament held in 2006 on an IS SET. I am of the opinion that this is the best tournament in the history of Minnesota quiz bowl. Outside of the 2005 NAQT States championship, and Faceoff Minnesota, it was the only time, me, Andrew, Rob, Trevor, and Gautam played in the same pyramidal tournament.

The stats are here.

http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... nt_id=2030

Comparing to stats from 2005 NAQT States, it was obvious all 5 of us had improved quite a bit.

9 of the top 10 teams in my ranking of the top 10 teams in the state were at this tournament, so there was a high concentration of talent.

This was the tournament where me playing solo lost to Chaska in the semifinals. This was also an example of Andrew Hart demonstrating his earth science knowledge by answering a tossup on the Canadian Shield.

Faceoff Minnesota. This was a 16 team single elimination tournament that was broadcast on local TV (PBS).

I do not know if the videos of these matches are available online, but there is this.

Edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RiNfnDp1nE shows a video of one of the matches. Minnetonka vs. Cretin-Derham. The questions were basically A set questions.

http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/c ... opup=yes#7

Edit: The part about quiz bowl starts around 33:00.

So over the course of the year teams qualified to play for this. Ken Jennings came to St. Paul to moderate for the tournament.

The teams were seeded 1-16, like a regional in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. There was no reseeding if there was an upset. To qualify to play in the TV rounds with Ken Jennings, you had to win a non-televised match. My team won our round of 16 before losing to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals.

2006 was the only year Faceoff Minnesota was held.

I want to finish this by going back to 2006 HSNCT. Through various odd coincidences, we had only played St. Thomas A once before HSNCT (contrasted with Chaska who had played them a bunch). The one time we played them was me playing solo at NAQT states (the video I posted shows that match).

So at the 2006 HSNCT, my Mounds Park Academy team and St. Thomas Academy both went 6-4 in the prelims, and were the only Minnesota teams to make the playoffs. Based on our Points per 20 tossups heard we matched up in the first round of the playoffs. This meant that the winner of this match (which ended up being my team), was the first team in Minnesota history to win a match in the playoffs of HSNCT, or the playoffs of any pyramidal tournament for that matter.

A good way to summarize how far quiz bowl bowl has come in Minnesota.

If you would have asked me in May of edit: 2004, to

1. Describe a pyramidal quiz bowl tossup.

2. Explain the difference between a pyramidal quiz bowl tossup and a non pyramidal quiz bowl tossup.

I do not think I could have done either, and I am probably not alone among some of the other top quiz bowl players to come out of Minnesota.
Last edited by Strongside on Tue May 20, 2014 9:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue May 20, 2014 4:57 am

Strongside wrote:St. Thomas defeated Chaska in the finals of the Thursday League Tournament, the finals of Faceoff Minnesota, and the semifinals of NAC. St. Thomas also won the State Knowledge Bowl Tournament, with Chaska finishing second.

Chaska won several regular season quiz bowl events such as TOMCAT, Run for the Roses, and SAVANT. St. Thomas won SNOWCAT.

St. Thomas ended up losing in the finals of NAC, and made the playoffs of the HSNCT, while also winning two matches. As Andrew, Rob, and Chaska's other top player Andrew Guyton lamented on the forums back at the time, they were unable to attend HSNCT.

As stupid as our nationals-attendance decision that year was, I'd be remiss in not setting the record straight here--we beat those military school motherfuckers in the NAC semifinals and lost to Nate "the karma changes when I walk in the room" Mattison's Byram Hills team in a characteristically Chippy finals match in which, SOMEHOW, "Mr. Art and Music" was gifted a classical music lightning round. Perhaps my omnipresent sunglasses and Andrew Hart's St. Thomas-mocking uniform offended Chip's sense of quizbowl aesthetics.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Important Bird Area » Tue May 20, 2014 11:50 am

Strongside wrote:This post focuses more on high school than college, so I apologize in advance if this is too off topic for this sub-forum.


The history of high school quizbowl is welcome and encouraged here.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Strongside » Tue May 20, 2014 9:18 pm

I had a few factual errors in my previous post, so I am reposting with those errors fixed so this can be more accurate.

Some of the stuff that I talk about in the post and the previous post is otherwise not written down, so this can also be a way to help preserve some history.

This obviously might not interest people outside of Minnesota as much, but it has some general things that might be of interest.

I talked about how I felt the summer of 2007 helped transform our quiz bowl playing ability to the next level, and how it was the most transformational calendar year for us.

Here is one example of why.

In October of 2007, I was talking to Andrew Hart about the possibly of the University of Minnesota hosting a mirror of Titanomachy (regular difficulty mACF event). Andrew told me he wanted to host it, but he could not get rooms at the University of Minnesota for the day.

I was disappointed because I wanted to play the tournament. I had only played two ACF tournaments up to that point, and had not played an mACF tournament. I somewhat casually suggested hosting the tournament at Chaska High School (his alma mater). Andrew made it happen (with a field of 5 teams, and about 12 players).

This was also around the time where Andrew had just head edited Deep Bench, worked on ACF Fall, and was a week before his first literature tournament was played on. Going out of the way to host Titanomachy was a great example of Andrew going beyond what is necessary to promote good quiz bowl.


So what I consider the start of the modern era of Minnesota high school quiz bowl started in October of 2003.

The first ever high school NAQT meet was on an A set on October 25, 2003. I remember our team was going to go that tournament, but our coach canceled because no one else other than me could go. I was not at the point yet where I would play solo.

I was okay with that because
1. This was not a tournament I desperately wanted to go to.
2. I had no idea how good I could or would become at quiz bowl.
3. I had a fantasy basketball draft that day with some of my high school classmates.

So there you have it. I was participating in a fantasy basketball draft the day the first ever high school pyramidal quiz bowl tournament was held in Minnesota.

During the 2003-2004 school year there were 3 NAQT meets, and in 2004-2005 there were 4 NAQT meets. There were only two meets on IS sets (as opposed to A sets) prior to the 2006 calendar year.

The first Minnesota team to attend HSNCT was Robbinsdale Armstrong in 2004. They were the only Minnesota team to attend that year. In 2005 Robbinsdale Armstrong attend HSNCT again, and were the only Minnesota team to make the playoffs. They went 6-4, and lost their two playoff games.

2007 was the first year that a Minnesota team attended PACE NSC (Eden Prairie).

The 2005-2006 tournament had six NAQT meets (excluding a meet only open to schools from an athletic conference).

I attended all six of those NAQT meets, the Thursday league meets, and a couple of tournaments on non-pyramidal questions, plus Faceoff Minnesota (more on that later, but I do not count it as a traditional tournament).

I want to go more in depth about the 2005-2006. I originally considered going over every meet I attended, but instead decided to include those anecdotes in other places.

2005-2006 was a unique season for several reasons.

1. It was the heart of the transition from exclusively non pyramidal questions (2002-2003) to exclusively or almost exclusively pyramidal questions (2006-2007).

2. It featured (probably by far) the most concentrated future talent in Minnesota quiz bowl history. Me, Andrew Hart, Rob Carson, Trevor Davis, and Gautam Kandlikar played quiz bowl this season. Carsten Gehring and Michael Wright were also active.

This was before Joe Hansen, Chris Carter, and Sam Peterson played any NAQT.

Bernadette Spencer did play Faceoff Minnesota.

3. It was the only year that Faceoff Minnesota was held.

I want to rank the top ten teams in the state from 2005-2006.

I will separate the teams into three tiers, listed in alphabetical order.

Tier 1. 2 teams

Chaska

St. Thomas

It will work best to describe these two teams together. From 2003-2006 (my four years in high school), Chaska and St. Thomas played in the state championship every year. Not only did they play in the championship, but they also were 14-0 when they played against each other in the championship matches all four years.

These two schools have been contenders since 2006, but have combined to win only one of the past 8 state championships (Chaska in 2009).

So in 2005-2006 these teams traded winning many of the tournaments, including all of the major ones.

St. Thomas defeated Chaska in the finals of the Thursday League Tournament, the finals of Faceoff Minnesota. St. Thomas also won the State Knowledge Bowl Tournament, with Chaska finishing second.

Chaska won several regular season quiz bowl events such as TOMCAT, Run for the Roses, and SAVANT. St. Thomas won SNOWCAT.

Chaska also beat St. Thomas in semifinals of NAC.

St. Thomas ended up losing in the finals of NAC, and made the playoffs of the HSNCT, while also winning two matches. As Andrew, Rob, and Chaska's other top player Andrew Guyton lamented on the forums back at the time, they were unable to attend HSNCT.

My Mounds Park Academy team went 0-3 against Chaska A, and 1-1 versus St. Thomas A during the season, with our only win coming against St. Thomas in the playoffs of HSNCT.

Tier 2. 3 teams

Eden Prairie. This was a strong Eden Prairie team with Trevor Davis, Gautam Kandlikar, and Michael Wright, that would break through and have even more success in 2007 and 2008 (those two teams still have the highest bonus conversions in the HSNCT prelims among Minnesota teams). We went 3-3 against Eden Prairie throughout the year.

I remember the first time we played Eden Prairie was at TOMCAT. I did not know much about Eden Prairie at the time, but I knew it would be a tough matchup.

This tournament had some logistical issues which included various delays throughout the tournament. This resulted in my team going undefeated in the prelims and failing to advance to the playoffs much to my dismay and disappointment, in part due to our final match running late or something like that.

This was also the tournament that had a logistical delay between round 1 and round 2, and I went back to the tournament headquarters to figure out what was going on, and a coach of another team suggested I go "sit in the corner." or something to that extent.

This meant my first ever match against Trevor, Gautam, was in a hallway at Macalester College on short speed check questions that I still have a copy of. Tossup 2 read, "What disease is also known as the kissing disease."?

I talked more about the match against Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals of the Thursday state tournament. I sadly can't remember much more about that match other than I answered a 20 point tossup on Parson Weems.

Minnetonka. Minnetonka was another strong team, that my team went 1-3 against. I remember it felt like a major accomplishment when we finally beat them after losing to them three times. We played Minnetonka in the finals of two tournaments, SOCIAL, and GINVIT. We blew a roughly 200 point lead in the finals of SOCIAL only to lose in overtime. They handily beat us in the finals of GINVIT. They were 5-1 at HSNCT, and narrowly missed the playoffs by losing their last four games. Their top player, Sean Litsey, is Andrew Hart's cousin.

Mounds Park Academy. My team consistently did well at the local meets, piling up several second and third place finishes, but could not break through to win a meet. We broke through to finish tenth at HSNCT. In hindsight, the reason my team did so well at HSNCT in 2006 was due to my teammates making some good buzzes in my weaker categories, and the fact that I was a better player on bonuses and harder tossups (which I would not really learn until later in college).


Tier 3. 5 teams

Cretin-Derham. Upset Minnetonka to make it to the semifinals of Faceoff Minnesota. Went 5-5 at HSNCT.

Orono. Went 11-1 in league, and made it to the semifinals of league.

Saint Anthony. More focused on knowledge bowl, but did win a tournament held at Minnetonka.

This is also the same tournament where seven teams advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Since that is an odd number, there was a drawing for one team to get a bye to the quarterfinals, which my team managed to get drawn. This was also the same tournament we we needed overtime to win our round of 14 match, got that bye to the final four, and then ended up getting second place even though we lost in the semifinals of the tournament.

Saint Paul Academy. Went 11-1 in league. They also made it to the championship of NAQT states before losing to Eden Prairie.

Wayzata. Good team that we had some close matches against. Played at HSNCT.

Knowledge Bowl. The short version of knowledge bowl can be summed up by Andrew Hart suggesting that it would make Matt Weiner's head explode.

The weird thing about knowledge bowl is that it co-exists, yet is somewhat separated from quiz bowl. Some teams do both, some teams do quiz bowl, and some teams do knowledge bowl.

Minnesota can be separated into two parts, both in terms of geography, and quiz bowl activity. There is the Twin Cities metro area where the majority of the population lives. There is then outstate Minnesota. Outstate Minnesota is a strong knowledge bowl stronghold.

I know that Robert Hentzel and others have made efforts to get teams from outstate Minnesota to participate in quiz bowl, but spreading quiz bowl to these areas has proven to be very difficult. It is worth noting though that teams from Western Wisconsin come to NAQT meets on a somewhat regular basis.

Some of the best knowledge bowl teams in the state are in the Twin Cities, and do not do quiz bowl.

So there are two tournaments that deserve a mention.

Thursday League. I already talked about this, but will expand. This was similar to how Thursday league is currently run. Matches are held Thursday evenings. There are four divisions, and each division meets three times, and plays four matches each day, for a total of 12 matches for each team. The top two teams would advance to the quarterfinals, and only one team from each school could advance. 16 teams advance nowadays to a double elimination format.

My division included Minnetonka, St. Paul Academy, and Wayzata.

After 8 matches, Mounds Park Academy, Minnetonka, and St. Paul Academy were 7-1, and basically in a circle of death. Mounds Park Academy had defeated St. Paul Academy, who had defeated Minnetonka, who had defeated Mounds Park Academy.

I remember the tournament director announcing before the final games of play that if there was a three way tie, there would be a tiebreaker round. The tiebreaker round would have consisted of the teams going into three separate rooms, and being read questions (don't know how many) against "empty chairs." The team with the lowest score would be eliminated.

Making the league playoffs was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me, and I would have been very disappointed if we had missed. I had made the league playoffs my freshman year as our fourth scorer, and did not want to miss my senior year when I felt we had a better team.

So that Thursday night in league play, I am pretty sure we were playing with only three people.

Our toughest match that day was against Wayzata A. We were very close at halftime, but we swept the lightning round, and pulled away a bit in the fourth quarter. I do remember answering a current events tossup about one of the killers of a St. Paul police officer.

So going into the last match Mounds Park Academy, Minnetonka, and St. Paul Academy were 10-1.

This was back when one match from each round would be taped to be shown on tv. Generally every A team would play one match against another A team once per Thursday. These matches would take longer, and my team's final round was not televised. After our match ended, I went into the waiting room to watch the Minnetonka-Wayzata match on tv. I knew it was a close match. I remember when they read the final score. Wayzata 325, Minnetonka 320. This gave Minnetonka two losses and put us in the playoffs.

2006 SAVANT. This was a tournament held in 2006 on an IS SET. I am of the opinion that this is the best tournament in the history of Minnesota quiz bowl. Outside of the 2005 NAQT States championship, and Faceoff Minnesota, it was the only time, me, Andrew, Rob, Trevor, and Gautam played in the same pyramidal tournament.

The stats are here.

http://www.naqt.com/stats/tournament-te ... nt_id=2030

Comparing to stats from 2005 NAQT States, it was obvious all 5 of us had improved quite a bit.

9 of the top 10 teams in my ranking of the top 10 teams in the state were at this tournament, so there was a high concentration of talent.

This was the tournament where me playing solo lost to Chaska in the semifinals. This was also an example of Andrew Hart demonstrating his earth science knowledge by answering a tossup on the Canadian Shield.

Faceoff Minnesota. This was a 16 team single elimination tournament that was broadcast on local TV (PBS).

I do not know if the videos of these matches are available online, but there is this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RiNfnDp1nE shows a video of the Minnetonka vs. Cretin-Derham match. The questions were basically A set questions.

http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/c ... opup=yes#7

The part about quiz bowl starts around 33:00.

So over the course of the year teams qualified to play for this. Ken Jennings came to St. Paul to moderate for the tournament.

The teams were seeded 1-16, like a regional in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. There was no reseeding if there was an upset. To qualify to play in the TV rounds with Ken Jennings, you had to win a non-televised match. My team won our round of 16 before losing to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals.

2006 was the only year Faceoff Minnesota was held.

I want to finish this by going back to 2006 HSNCT. Through various odd coincidences, we had only played St. Thomas A once before HSNCT (contrasted with Chaska who had played them a bunch). The one time we played them was me playing solo at NAQT states (the video I posted shows that match).

So at the 2006 HSNCT, my Mounds Park Academy team and St. Thomas Academy both went 6-4 in the prelims, and were the only Minnesota teams to make the playoffs. Based on our Points per 20 tossups heard we matched up in the first round of the playoffs. This meant that the winner of this match (which ended up being my team), was the first team in Minnesota history to win a match in the playoffs of HSNCT, or the playoffs of any pyramidal tournament for that matter.

A good way to summarize how far quiz bowl bowl has come in Minnesota.

If you would have asked me in May of 2004, to

1. Describe a pyramidal quiz bowl tossup.

2. Explain the difference between a pyramidal quiz bowl tossup and a non pyramidal quiz bowl tossup.

I do not think I could have done either, and I am probably not alone among some of the other top quiz bowl players to come out of Minnesota.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Gautam » Wed May 21, 2014 8:11 pm

Strongside wrote:This meant my first ever match against Trevor, Gautam, was in a hallway at Macalester College


The Macalester mezzanine! You seem to imply there was a 2006 TOMCAT... and I have no recollection of this. I'll take your word for it. R's MQBA pages have the stats for the 2007 tournament only.

Strongside wrote:In the quarterfinals my team matched up against Eden Prairie (which included Trevor Davis, Gautam Kandlikar, and Michael Wright). We played a close and competitive match. I remember I had what I felt was a very strong round, and my Mounds Park Academy team was able to pull win the intense match.


The only memory I have of this, If I recall correctly, is that your lightning round had a question on Texarkana, and that was the first time I'd ever heard of it.

Again, if memory serves right, I have to thank either Lekan Wang or Kirk Walton for taking the initiative to take us to the 2005 NAQT state tournament. It was prom day for Lekan, Rony, and Kenny, who where the seniors on our team (and Kenny wasn't at the tournament), and I think they had to butt out of the tournament before we could play the consolation match against Minnetonka.

The two sets I enjoyed the most in HS were SnowCAT 07 and the IS set that was used for Deep Bench. Maybe it was because I was able to actually answer things then. They probably beat the KB State/MNHSQB State/NAQT State trifecta of '07. Good times.

There were some random people who were pretty good who kind of disappeard. Joe Vaccaro - I remember playing some really close games against him as late as the 2007 NAQT State tournament. There was the dude on St. Thomas who wasn't Josh/Jack who was really fast on mathy and sciency things. Sean Litsey - Brendan already talked about. Dude from CDH who I think attempted to host a random collegiate tournament in Iowa on an IS set...? well, whatever.

Thanks again, it was an entertaining read.

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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Thu May 22, 2014 12:06 am

Gautam wrote:Dude from CDH who I think attempted to host a random collegiate tournament in Iowa on an IS set...? well, whatever.

Bob Jameson! Founder of the brief candle that was the Mount Mercy team. He was a nice guy.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Holla! » Sat May 24, 2014 2:03 pm

This was a fun read, Brendan. Thanks.

I had the good fortune to compete for Simley HS through middle school and high school and experienced the transition from Patrick's Press to NAQT for the MNHSQB League on Thursday nights. Man, I miss that CE first round. In 8th grade, I started a match against Blake A, then a better team (who had beaten us badly earlier that year at their home tournament), by picking up all but one of the CE questions cribbed from that morning's Strib (including a first-line of "olive oil" or something like that off "heart health"). We proceeded to lose by a few hundred, but that first round was awesome.

That transition, though, was awesome for Minnesota Quiz Bowl. Grouped with the Andrew Hart practices and the commitment of the U of M and other schools to hosting pyramidal tournaments, it likely sparked the vibrant QB community in the Metro.

I had a few questions and comments after reading, as well:
[*]Does anyone remember the Blake (or maybe it's Breck) teams of the early-mid aughts that were powerhouses? I seem to remember a few stompings at their hands.
[*]Who, besides R and the people Brendan listed, were some of the coaches and leaders in bringing pyramidal to MN? I have to think there's an award out there at some point for some of them.
[*]St. Thomas was always the gold standard in the SE Metro. Especially having to compete against them yearly for the Toad in the Classic Suburban championships (losing in the finals 4 straight times before winning in '07 and '08), it was clear that competing with them was the first step on the road to even being competitive against the South and West Metro squads. Their coach, Jamie Jurkovich, is now coaching their middle school team, which recently competed at the MSNCT. He's been a phenomenal boon to competition out in my neck of the woods. I mean, I can't stand STA, but they were Simley's gold standard for my first five years in quiz bowl.
[*]I took a number of whippings at the hands of Trevor, Gautam, and others at the Burnsville site of MNHSQB while I was an underclassman. Those, while humbling, really were an example of how learning and practicing pyramidal quiz bowl pays off in the long run.
[*]When did the first seedlings of established pyramidal middle school quiz bowl pop up in the Metro?

Again, thanks for a great read. Fun to think back on those days.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Strongside » Fri May 30, 2014 8:53 pm

I want to respond to a few things Gautam and Cory said, and add a few other thoughts.

I know that I played against Trevor and Michael at the original TOMCAT, but I am not sure if Gautam was on that team or not.

I remember we won that match 16-13. One of the turning points of that match was when there was a tossup on cul-de-sacs and Michael buzzed in, but Trevor accidentally gave the answer, allowing us an easy point.

As for the original TOMCAT, it was the only one not held on NAQT questions. It was originally held at Macalester, then changed the name to RAT-RACE when it moved Roseville, and then moved to Rosemount last year.

The interesting thing about TOMCAT/RAT-RACE is that it has always drawn at least 40 teams, and in some years between 70-80 teams.

I do not know much about the Blake program of 2000 to 2004.

Blake used to host a Saturday tournament. I know that I attended that my junior year, but did not my senior year as I believe it was the same day as an NAQT tournament.

As for middle school quiz bowl, the first tournament in Minnesota was April 2, 2011. I do not know what exactly prompted NAQT or R. to start running middle school tournaments, other than they presumably wanted to expand their market. The expansion of quiz bowl to middle school has been awesome.

As for pyramidal quiz bowl, I think that R. decide to run a few tournaments when he moved to Minnesota, and then it took off.

I don't want this to come as bragging, but I feel people should know how good Minnesota quiz bowl was in 2005-2006. It is important to emphasize what we had to work with, and that it was the second year playing on pyramidal questions for a lot of who would go on to become much better players.

As I mentioned, Faceoff Minnesota seeded the teams from 1-16. My Mounds Park Academy team was seeded 6th. We ended up getting 10th at HSNCT three weeks later. Although we only went 6-4 in the prelims, our prelims PP20TUH was 10th, and our prelims points per bonus was 6th.

One might argue that we were underseeded, but of the top five seeds.

St. Thomas and Chaska were clearly the top two teams in the state. Eden Prairie, us and Minnetonka were fairly evenly matched, but as I previously mentioned we went 1-3 against Minnetonka A during the season, and Eden Prairie won NAQT states and beat us 450-160 in the quarterfinals of Faceoff Minnesota.

As an aside, Minnetonka had a freshman named Alex Friedman who has some very deep politics and current events knowledge. He never played in their A team in 2005-2006, but he was the top scorer on the Minnetonka A team that qualified for the HSNCT playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The other team ahead of us was St. Paul Academy who went 11-1 in league, finished second at NAQT states and averaged 19.64 points per bonus on an IS set in the first NAQT tournament they ever attended.

There were only two high school tournaments on IS sets in Minnesota prior to 2006. SAVANT in 2006 was the 4th.

The aforementioned 2005 NAQT State Championship featured 9 teams with a bonus conversion of 15 or more.

The important thing to remember is that quiz bowl was different in 2005 and 2006.

NAQT was the only way to play pyramidal questions in Minnesota, and there were very few high school tournaments posted online in 2005. I do not think there were any outside of some of the New Trier Scobol Solos, and a few other stray high school tournaments. This was before PACE posted all of their past NSCs online.

There were few if any college tournaments on non-NAQT questions in Minnesota.

My main material for studying and improving at quiz bowl in the summer and fall of 2005.

The questions from the 5 NAQT tournaments I had played.

A quiz bowl study guide I ordered off the internet.

The weekly Patrick's Press practice material booklets.

The Stanford Culture Guide.

John Campbell Quiz Bowl Books.

Some questions from the late 1980s and early 1990s written by Independent Buzzer Association.

I used these sources plus the internet to make a lot of lists, and did a lot of my studying off of those.

While it worked, this is not what I would recommend to current high schoolers attempting to improve at quiz bowl.

Another random observation about the 2006 Thursday match against Chaska that I talked about. While I do not remember as much as I would like from that match, I do remember using the restroom before the match and that "A Long December" by the Counting Crows was playing. This is actually somewhat fitting since the low the following day was -13, and it was the coldest low of that winter.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby kiestosuccess » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:18 pm

I'd like to throw in here, as one of those "military motherfuckers" as Rob Carson so eloquently stated, from St. Thomas, is that Jamie Jurkovich retired from coaching two years ago now. And our current coach, "Pistol" Peter Wynia is moving to the middle school. We've always been good at least in MN, but choked hard at HSNCT almost every year. The two years I went to HSNCT we lost games at that would have gotten us in the playoffs, and always seem to underperform. We never put in the work to achieve that much, except for our top scorer this year Walker, who read things online a lot. The only studying I ever did was watching tv and movies so I could do well at the pop culture tournament. (the only one we have won in the past couple years, thank you very much) We have a pretty douchey reputation in MN, which isn't surprising. We go to Knowledge Bowl state in full Class A military uniforms, act like dickheads to everyone, and make a lot of excuses when we lose. I tried to avoid that reputation by joking around with people and being friendly with all the U of M people like Andrew and Rob. I'd like to think I did a fair to middling job at that, at least. It looks like we may suck next year, our group of Seniors and Juniors blow, but our Freshman now Sophomores are solid and dedicated to getting better. The cream is still Eden Prairie and Wayzata, with St. Thomas, Chaska, and Central somewhere around there.

If I fucked up being an ok person at quiz bowl tournaments, let me know, I may keep doing it at Wisconsin this year.
I'm from the great white north, the land of 10,000+ lakes, where we should be better at quiz bowl, but we aren't. We got second at Knowledge Bowl State, but we don't talk about that.

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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:00 pm

To clarify, that was meant entirely as an expression of the love/hate relationship we had with our biggest rivals than as any sort of condemnation of the current team!
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby kiestosuccess » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:44 am

I get it, I don't think I was very clear with the intended sarcasm. Silly written words are hard to interpret sometimes. If it's any consolation, my brother taught to hate Chaska specifically because they are the worst at everything. So there. Simley we perceived as a joke because we beat them in football all every year, but I hate all of those schools less than Sibley. I hat those guys.
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Re: Quiz Bowl in Minnesota

Postby Gautam » Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:04 pm

Strongside wrote:
I remember we won that match 16-13. One of the turning points of that match was when there was a tossup on cul-de-sacs and Michael buzzed in, but Trevor accidentally gave the answer, allowing us an easy point.


Oh, I remember this. I think the tossup, in typical antipyramidal fashion, started "It means bottom of the bag..." I believe this was the event which had a random trash packet as a consolation at the end, no? But I recall very little about everything else.
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