One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

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Matthew Bonnan
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One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Matthew Bonnan »

In my few years of quiz-bowl experience, I have come across a plethora of great teams. The most astonishing thing is that the top-tier teams—the ones I have competed against—all seem to have, more or less, one individual that provides the infrastructure of the squad—you know, the one averaging 140 or so PPG while his teammates cumulatively average less than half of that. Conversely, the other three are not imbeciles by any means, which somewhat undermines my claim, but it remains obvious that the captain is heavily relied on. The select "juggernauts" I have seen are very apt in nearly all subjects, give or take a handful, and can buzz like nobody's business. But is this the optimal team?

So, quiz-bowl world, I am curious as to what you think.

Would you rather have a one-man powerhouse or a subject-based group that is evenly distributed?
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Have you played or seen a national championship before?
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

The latter, with no questions asked. Though single-person vehicles often dominate in local areas, virtually every national-winning team has been from a more balanced set of four with the ability to really set multiple people to specialize in their subjects. When I was a very good player in high school, I was able to do extremely well locally, but would always fold to the real national-contender teams with three or four active individuals playing on them. The seeming exceptions to this rule (2006 Richard Montgomery led by Chris Ray, 2009 Wilmington Charter led by Henry Gorman) still had huge amounts of support from their teammates, who combined for about half the points.

Furthermore, when it comes down to the wire, if you have multiple people really in the zone and able to buzz on questions, it means a given individual player can have an off-game, or an off-day in which they do worse for whatever reason (set writing, illness, outright absence, whatever) and still have other people to pick up the slack and remain utterly dominant of everyone else.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Matthew Bonnan »

Horned Screamer wrote:Have you played or seen a national championship before?
I am geographically ignorant—if that makes sense. So to answer your question, no, I have most certainly not.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Francis the Talking France »

JoshuaDuncan wrote:
Horned Screamer wrote:Have you played or seen a national championship before?
I am geographically ignorant—if that makes sense. So to answer your question, no, I have most certainly not.
I am assuming that you're basing your post off of what you've seen out of Enloe (basically one manned by Natan) and Christiansburg (Matt Moschella). Most teams with the exception of Centennial that will most likely finish in the top 10-20, have at least two kids that balance most of the scoring, with two others being specialized players. Almost every good team you'll see will have some order of balance between players. It is not always obvious though, what someone will get over another. I'm sure if you put some of these kids that are in these top teams on a lesser team, they would provide most of the scoring.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis »

I think the others have covered it well enough, but to reiterate one more time, a balanced team is always better.

However, since extremely good teams are rare, this means that extremely good, balanced teams are even rarer. Thus, I find that decent but one-man teams are more commonplace (just look at the top teams in Illinois-- virtually all the second-tier top teams are rather one-mannish), and the teams that are balanced tend to not be that good. It's really not that hard to find one player with the motivation and ability to become good, but finding three or four of them is. A "one-man juggernaut" can quickly lead a team to respectability, but in order to truly be good, there is pretty much no other option aside from having a team with balanced scoring, for all the reasons presented above by other people.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Charles Martel »

Besides Centennial, the next one-man team I can find is New Trier, at #20. To be imbalanced, a team has to have a certain level of skill, but there is a limit to the rate one person can learn, so they'll be surpassed by teams with two players studying at over half the rate, or teams with three players studying at over a third of that rate, etc. So the best teams will inevitably be well-rounded.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan »

Well having a GOOD well rounded comes from having a good program. A good program starts from having good players. Those good players in turn motivate, teach and mentor the lesser players so that the entire team becomes good. Look at LASA and Hunter.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by tintinnabulation »

This year was the first year that I had teammates that balanced out the team instead of me having to try to be the "one man" (or woman). I can testify that having a well-rounded team is not only a more successful team, but it is also far more relaxing.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by AKKOLADE »

I think having good players makes you a good team in quiz bowl.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by Kilroy Was Here »

DCC has had it's one man teams and has had it's well rounded teams in the past. A Brett Harrison led team finished fourth at HSNCT, and more well rounded teams won nationals in 2001. So it really depends on the player and the field he competes in. Although I must say, having played 3 years of quizbowl in a well rounded group of people, I'd say it's preferable to distribute between four people. There is a lot less stress on you as an individual to get every tossup, as you can trust in your team mate's ability to answer tossups in their subject.
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Re: One Juggernaut or Four Well-Rounded Individuals?

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling »

The latter is superior, generally speaking (Adam Silverman is an extraordinary case). IMSA and Hunter exemplify this. Also, define well-rounded. Do you mean 4 people who can each buzz in on every category or 4 specialized individuals?
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