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Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:21 am
by cchiego
I figure since the school year's about to start here for everyone we might as well get this going.

First of all, some good news on the Academic League front: Sweetwater's League chose NAQT questions as their providers for this year and several of the coaches that I spoke with today from that league were quite enthusiastic about attending other tournaments in the region. I suspect we'll see not only the venerable Eastlake program continue to do well down there but a number of new schools should come onto the scene. I'm continuing to try to work on the other leagues and there's some (slow) progress taking place. But kudos to Sweetwater for taking such decisive action.

I was intrigued by the number and quality of Canyon Crest folks who came to our summer practices. The traditional Torrey-RB battle in North County may well be complicated by CC's emergence, provided they continue to come to tournaments. Westview also looked promising last year and seemed to improve each tournament that they attended. La Jolla's a bit depleted, but had a good crop of JV people last time and Erica's a superb lit player. Several of the top players in the region who've been playing for years have departed for collegiate pastures, leaving lots of room for former understudies to step up and take over. David at RB will likely be on the top individual list at most tournaments and Anthony at Canyon Crest remains a threat.

North Hollywood had a fine crop of fairly young players last time, but seemed hampered by budget woes (perhaps they should host a tournament up there?). University loses a lot of their scoring and Irvine seems to be in rebuilding mode as well. Arcadia will continue to send the most teams to tournaments and likely have the best C team west of Texas. I sincerely hope our outreach efforts through SoCalQB will pick up some new teams in the OC/LA/Imperial County areas, but I don't expect miracles.

There aren't too many tournaments on the agenda right now in the area, so any programs wanting to host in Nov./Dec. should find some free dates.

Re: Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:57 am
by DoWon.Kim
You mentioned that Sweetwater changed to NAQT style questions - what is the current status of changing entire NCAL league to pyramidal?

Re: Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:18 am
by LucasBrown
I'd estimate the probability of a move to pyramidal questions this year at approximately ε due to the slightly-increased interleague peer pressure; it's not much, but at least it's better than 0.

Re: Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:11 am
by cchiego
North County doesn't appear willing to change this year, but they're moving in the right direction. I'm meeting with the City League folks tomorrow and tracked down some contacts in the East County League, so we'll see how things progress with those.

Another issue with Academic League is the geographic division alignment, which puts 3 of the top teams in all of Southern California into the same division (San Dieguito, Canyon Crest, and Torrey Pines). Considering those are likely in the top 5 in the county, it's a pity only one will even advance to the intra-league finals.

While we haven't seen too much this year in SoCal, it seems like Arcadia A will be the team to beat with many of the usual suspects (RB, LJ, TP) just behind and several newcomers (Irvine, Bishop's, Canyon Crest, Westview, and San Dieguito) also fighting for the top bracket. Out of all the other teams, I'd put San Dieguito as the team most likely to break up the triumvirate; they're balanced and have deep knowledge across a wide range of areas. None of these teams really seem like national contenders yet though; it remains to be seen if someone (or two) will go on a studying binge and advance to a truly elite level. There was also a good bit of raw talent on several other teams--El Capitan, Santana, and Francis Parker could all get into the thick of things if they put in the work and many of the Sweetwater teams seem determined to get better on good questions.

Re: Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:12 pm
by cchiego
Update: We got the San Diego City League coaches to vote on whether or not to go with pyramidal questions this year and they voted to reject the idea. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but it sounded like they didn't like that the NAQT curricula was "national" while they wanted questions that reflected local and state curricula (possibly more mathcomp?).

I suspect it's more of a matter of familiarity than anything else. Once they see these kinds of questions in action and the effect that they have on their students, I hope that they'll come around. We're certainly extending an open invitation to all these schools to come and try good, pyramidal questions at our tournaments, but this is going to take some time.

Re: Southern California Discussion 2011-2012

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:34 pm
by cchiego
I'll necro this thread here with an update seeing as there's been little other discussion here. I just had a very informative meeting with the East County (Grossmont) Academic League this week. Although the meeting went well, there were no guarantees of changes other than another promise for a gradual shift towards pyramidal questions.

At this point, I have now met with all the Academic Leagues and the ITV producers. All of them are aware of quizbowl, the advantages of pyramidal questions, the logistics of switching to pyramidal questions, etc. I have not, unfortunately, been able to attend a coaches' meeting in the East County and in the City, which I think would go a long way towards allaying concerns in those leagues. Repeated emails and phone calls directly to coaches have been moderately successful, but have also taken up a great deal of time.

To help lay the ground work for next year, I highly encourage the high schoolers in the SoCal area to step up and start hosting more tournaments like what Westview did this past weekend (a superbly run tournament for a first-time host). More options at more locations can be nothing other than a good thing and quizbowl needs to keep generating a buzz at more schools in more social networks.

The seeds have been sown and I suspect that it's a matter of time before more leagues make the switch. But it will require continual pressure from players and coaches plus additional outreach to more schools and players. The people who read these boards aren't the ones who need convincing, but they are the ones who need to step up on the outreach end. If you want to make Academic League a fair pyramidal experience, you're going to have to work to get more schools into pyramidal questions and quizbowl in general before change will come.