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Introduction

Welcome to Reach Scores!

This is Reach Scores, a place to find out about, well, “Reach” scores.

Many Canadian high school students played, watched, or otherwise heard of “Reach for the Top”. It began as a CBC television program in the 1960s, left the airwaves, and returned as the classroom-based “SchoolReach”. Lists of alumni and champions are readily available on the web.

But what about scores? Unlike, say, high school sports, scores of Reach games are not easy to find. The Reach for the Top organization publishes results of tournaments they manage (Nationals and some provincial championships), but the pickings are slim for regional or historical results. Every now and then you’ll find a YouTube video or a news archive of a single game from a tournament, but it is often in the context of a school tooting its horn, rather than providing a larger scope of gameplay and competition for a region or time period.

I’d like to change that. I have already uploaded some tournament results on a wiki-style site (use this index of tournaments as a start) for historical interest. People ought to be able to find results without needing to dig through an internet or library archive, and I hope to make it more convenient for them. I will use this blog for updates, including planned recordings of games. I will probably also add analysis (such as my “R-value”) and opinion. Contributions, results or otherwise, are welcome through the contact methods listed on this site.

Thank you for visiting!

Carleton Nokomis Tournament

Over the moon

The Carleton Nokomis Tournament ran yesterday using the Canadianized NAQT set that was used in Toronto last month (see the post about that tournament here). Five teams, representing Lisgar CI, Glebe CI, and Colonel By SS, attended.

Lisgar A and Glebe B finished the round-robin at 6-2. Lisgar took both their losses to Glebe, while Glebe picked up a loss each from Colonel By and the other Glebe team. The top two teams played a final in which Lisgar prevailed 395-225. Results of the tournament are found here.

This was Glebe’s first event using “A-team” players, and it looks like they have still kept up their strength from last year (despite the final loss). Their bonus conversion (a metric that can be used to compare teams regardless of opponent or field) was similar to UTS and Westmount, though none of the major teams playing this set ran their expected top four-person lineup. The Lisgar set in February will probably be the next chance to see how Glebe (absent from the UTS and UBC sets) stacks up against other provincial competitors.

More generally, the stats of this tournament should dispel notions that quizbowl is too intimidating on the difficulty. At both sites, over 90% of the tossups read were answered, and the lowest teams still answered more than half of the bonus questions they were given. Yes, this set was one of the easier ones that a quizbowl company will produce, but it could have been a great opportunity for teams to get some more playing time with manageable questions.

I’m pretty sure this was the last event until the new year. If I receive any announcements, I’ll be sure to let you know, but otherwise, enjoy the holidays!

Toronto mirror of UBC

East meets West

The University of Toronto hosted a mirror of the set originally played at UBC last month. Alumni in Ontario edited the set, including an expansion of the final three rounds to the Ontario playoff extended format.

The University of Toronto Schools went undefeated and won the tournament. Toronto Montessori Schools made it to the final by pulling off (what could be considered) upsets over Abbey Park A and a certain anonymous team from Etobicoke. The frequently-anonymous “Montcalm” was shorthanded but still finished fourth. Original results from the organizers are kept here, and the converted R-value results are found here. Again, because of slow hosting issues, a screenshot of the R-value table is included below.

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A brief analysis suggests that UTS, “Etobicoke”, “Montcalm”, and Abbey Park are still contenders for the top provincial spots. TMS improved upon their results from the UTS tournament last month, and the playoff results suggest they are still managing well after the graduation of their previous top player. Assumption CSS is once again getting above-average underlying stats, but can’t break through yet to a top flight. The addition of the Toronto results impacts the original UBC site: as a comparison, the top team at UBC (Churchill) now has a 103% R-value.

This will settle down most results for the calendar year. There is still a quizbowl tournament at Carleton University in December (mostly for Ottawa-area teams), but more results will likely wait until the Lisgar event in February and the start of regional leagues.

Quizbowl results

Bonus coverage

Two quizbowl tournaments happened over the past two weekends.

Last weekend in Toronto, a Canadianized NAQT set was played among six teams. UTS A and Westmount A took a win each from each other during the round-robin, then UTS claimed two final matches to win the tournament. Neither team ran at full strength, but both were enough to clear the rest of the field (anonymous & B teams). Results are found here.

Yesterday in Ottawa, Lisgar CI hosted the SCOP Novice tournament. This event was intended for newer players, so true A-teams were absent. Lisgar B swept the eight-team (actually nine with an exhibition team) field, with Notre Dame A coming second with one loss. Notre Dame was fourth last year regionally in their first season of SchoolReach, and will probably be more active this year. Results are found here.

The most-attended event this past weekend was the Toronto mirror of the UBC independent tournament, but I will report those results once I get them and consolidate them with the BC stats (and possibly the Alberta stats next week as well).

November announcements

More stats, less chats

Two high school tournaments are coming up next weekend.

On Saturday, the University of Toronto will use the set originally played at UBC in October. Ontario Reach alumni contributed to the construction of the set to make sure it is around the level of the other independent sets. This will also be the first opportunity to see how different regions compare to each other – there is an additional mirror in Alberta expected later this month.

Secondly, Lisgar CI is hosting the SCOP Novice quizbowl set on Saturday. This will likely be a smaller field with only junior players, but it does give novice competitors a chance to shine as a preview to their later senior years. I’ll be at this event.

There is also a general update for this site. You may have noticed posting becoming more sporadic. I had a major and abrupt change to my work schedule, making regular weekend writing more difficult. I will continue to report tournament updates and results (ie: “Reach Scores”) as soon as possible, but Sunday morning banter is going to decrease (though some may appreciate that…).

Good luck to the competitors this month!

2019 UTS and UBC results

Doubleheader weekend.

Last weekend saw two tournaments to kick off the season for many teams. UTS held their annual fall tournament, attracting 24 teams from across Ontario and New Brunswick, while UBC dipped their toes into tournament writing with the first independently-produced set outside of Ontario.

The UBC tournament brought in six teams from Vancouver. After a double round-robin and final matches, Sir Winston Churchill SS prevailed. It is still early in the season and they did pick up a few losses along the way, but Churchill has put up notice that they will be provincial challengers. St. George’s School came second with Eric Hamber SS close behind despite splitting their talent across two teams. University Hill SS and Windermere SS also participated. The results page is found here, but because of the sluggishness of the web host, I have provided a screenshot of the table at the end of this report.

The UBC set has been planned for mirrors in Alberta and Ontario later in the year, so contact Max (through me if needed) if you would like to make use of the tournament. Interestingly, the hosts tracked individual scoring during the tournament. I would take individual scoring with a grain of salt in a format that permits consulting before buzzing: the scores of a designated answerer can be inflated by this. Also, individual results will not be disclosed here as part of my general policy of not releasing names of students still in high school.

UTS held their fall tournament as well in what is probably the flagship independent event of the year. UTS has held tournaments for several years now and it has evolved to become a good barometer for the Ontario provincial tournament. Because of its early position in the season, it also can bring out surprises that put teams on the radar for future events, like RSGC’s run to third in 2015 or Westmount overcoming an underestimated seeding in 2017.

Lisgar CI won their second consecutive UTS event, in a 530-220 final over Martingrove CI. Westmount SS trounced through the prelims and made their mark as early-season favourites, but got caught by a 10-point loss in the semis to Martingrove. UTS managed to finish fourth despite not starting most of their “A” team for staffing and writing purposes. The results page is found here, and as mentioned earlier, a screenshot will be provided at the end. The set may find use at later points of the season, so I won’t discuss content.

The UTS event has some previews for the season ahead. Martingrove’s 2018 “rebuild” was short-lived, and they are back among the favourites, with the second-best R-value and a B team that also made the top bracket. Despite the loss in the final, they have probably usurped Lisgar’s position among the provincial top three; Provincials is usually a stronger event for MCI over LCI compared to independent events. UTS was quite strong against the university teams at the Early Fall Tournament, but we will need to wait a little longer to see how they fare against their fellow high school teams. Further down the field, Abbey Park and Michael Power have held on well after their provincial playoff appearances last year, while Assumption CSS and Ursula Franklin Academy outperformed their seeds and may deserve some notice as the season progresses. Both of those teams were originally seeded worse than they finished, and UFA had a particularly rough road because their “B” team ended up being stronger than “A”, making a tough pool D (shades of Abbey Park’s atrocious SOS last year en route to 9th?).

Now that the dust has settled, teams will be waiting for their next fix. Lisgar’s independent event in February is the next major Reach-style tournament, but in the meantime, your region may want to try mirrors of either of these past two sets. Also, Ontario teams probably want to check out the ONQBA’s calendar of events for quizbowl competition.

Congratulations to all the teams that participated over the weekend, and thanks to the organizers and writers that made them possible!

UBC tournament results table

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UTS tournament results table

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Upcoming October tournaments

Up ‘n autumn!

A short update to make sure I’ve covered my bases for promoting tournaments coming up next month. Some clubs haven’t started up yet for the season, while others are off to the races.

Next week (October 5) is the Early Fall Tournament at the University of Toronto. Normally, I wouldn’t publicize an event on the university quizbowl calendar, but already UTS and Westmount have signed up to start the year in the deep end. The tournament is intended for university clubs, but is open to high school teams as well.

October 19 will be the big opener on two fronts. UTS’ independent tournament will be held using their own produced question set. For the last few years, this has been the largest buzzer competition of any kind in Canada other than the Ontario SchoolReach championship, and is usually a good preview for Ontario provincials. Six of the 2018 and seven of the 2019 Ontario playoff teams began their year at the UTS event, so competitive teams should take this opportunity if they can.

October 19 is also the date of UBC’s tournament. Some graduates from recent BC squads are writing the first set produced outside of Ontario, and potential National contenders from the Vancouver area will be competing on it. I believe the set will be made available later in the year for other sites, potentially in the form of swapping sets with another location.

Please note that I am not directly posting contact information for the above events. They have publicized through their own usual channels, but if you would like information for any of these sites, I can pass it along if you contact me through reachscores – at – gmail.com.

Best of luck to those of you getting your season started!

2019-20 season preview

2020 vision

Students are back at school, and that also means some clubs will be starting up soon. Ambitious groups tend to get going in September, while some schools wait until the second semester.

2020 will have some interesting circumstances. Last year pretty much confirmed that a team must be active on the independent circuits to perform well at (Ontario) provincials and Nationals. Alberta and BC started joining in on the routines that Ontario and New Brunswick have, and hopefully the last few provinces can get on board too. More activity from elsewhere in Canada may be a counterweight to the lopsided Ontario results of the last few years.

For these previews, I have the obvious disclaimer that I am not an oracle or the declarer of your fate. Teams will continue to fly under the radar, but it is becoming more advantageous to have a known presence for the purposes of tournament seedings and schedules. I am also more hazy on the details outside my geographical vicinity. By province:

British Columbia

Max from UHill gave a preview of the province earlier this summer. I am not well-versed on his Southridge scoop, but St. George’s, Eric Hamber, and Sir Winston Churchill should continue to be challengers for Nationals spots. The top teams in the area will probably run a few tournaments off of the available independent sets, thanks to the help from UBC and the UHill team. BC was almost at the level of the Ontario teams last year, so we’ll see if they can make the jump come spring.

Alberta

Alberta put up one of its best performances in recent decades by getting two teams in the top six (by my classification) nationally. Renert and STS will take some hits from graduation, but there is still a good group of younger players that competed for the junior provincial championships. Webber (returning most of their team) and Old Scona should also be in the mix.

Manitoba

I’m in the dark about Manitoba. The large number of teams clustered around Winnipeg should be a fertile ground for a couple tournaments, but it hasn’t broken through yet. The province as a whole has not kept up relative to the others since their peak around 2010, and national prospects don’t look great for the coming year. Unfortunately, it’s a long drive to Alberta, Ontario, or Minneapolis if a team is looking for a dance partner for a competition.

Ontario

The elephant in the room in Ontario is the coming teacher labour dispute. Teachers are currently out of contract, and the political climate points towards some form of protest after the federal election is over. An outright strike last happened in the fall of 1997, but work-to-rule occurred in 2000/01 and 2012/13, which may be more likely to happen. Work-to-rule would drop school support of clubs, leading to either abandoned seasons or student-led squads operating under pseudonyms. The year could be difficult, and it would have quite an impact on all the independent events that originate in the province. UTS and Lisgar are expected to not be seriously affected because of their circumstances (though their tournaments may be emptier), and a few other private schools and dedicated public teams will pull through. Details on Ontario may wait until either the contract gets settled or we see how teams fare in the UTS tournament (October 19) and Lisgar tournament (February 8). In Ottawa, assuming teams go ahead, Lisgar and Glebe will continue to be provincial playoff threats, but Bell will drop off after losing that debut squad to graduation.

Quebec

As I say every year now, I can’t predict Quebec.

New Brunswick

KV still rules the roost, and they filled the junior tournament last year with players ready to move up for this season. Fredericton was the best non-KV junior team last year, but the second New Brunswick national team is actually not an easy prediction because it can be fairly competitive for that spot. New Brunswick plays several events over the course of the year, and KV usually travels to independent tournaments, so the province will be fresh competitively.

Nova Scotia

Cobequid’s return to the quarterfinals last year was some welcome news after several years of poor showings from the province, but it will still be a struggle to keep up. There are very few teams on the provincial scene, and they may need to tap into the New Brunswick schedule if they want to remain active. Another quarterfinal run this year would be a tough, but possible, goal.

Nationally

Ontario will still be the big threat, especially with UTS active regardless of any circumstances. Martingrove, Central, and Glebe could be national threats if the season is stable; if not, Lisgar and Westmount will have the experience of getting through logistically difficult campaigns. BC is probably the best chance to break through that top 3 stranglehold, but KV and the Alberta teams will be in the mix too.

In summary, take all of this with a grain of salt. Things will become clearer once tournaments are actually played; for now, teams should focus on just starting up and shaking off rust. I do hope I can be proven wrong on this preview, especially if it means that new faces start appearing. Good luck in the coming season, have fun, and learn lots!