2017 Ottawa Regionals Preview

Where do the Gatineau teams go?

Ottawa SchoolReach league competition starts tomorrow. It is probably due for a preview.

The Ottawa league has been around since the early 1990s, and has historically fielded strong competition. Six national titles have come out of the league, more than any other (though Toronto is split into multiple leagues). Ottawa schools also took two titles in the CBC era. The league’s heyday was probably the turn of the millennium, when veteran Bell and Gloucester teams would take on the new challengers in Merivale and Lisgar.

Competition has dwindled somewhat today. Past champions Bell, Gloucester, Hillcrest, and Rideau no longer compete. Former league winners Ridgemont and Colonel By are also gone. Attendance has also dropped since the mid-2000s peak, which threatens the number of qualification spots.

One of those provincial qualification spots will likely go to Lisgar. It has since 2001, an active qualification streak longer than any other Ontario team. Don’t count chickens before they hatch, however – 2016 title favourite UTS failed to get out of their region last year.

The remaining spot (or spots, the number changes each year) will probably see the most competition. Glebe, Merivale, and Nepean have all qualified in recent years. Mother Teresa has almost always been in the city playoffs since the school was built. St. Paul and Sir Wilfrid Laurier have also just been within reach recently.

I will be at the competition. Unfortunately, arrangements will not be made for recording audio, but I will still have written updates. A lot of other Ontario regions are underway or will start soon; any results I can get will also be published.

Lisgar tournament audio wrap-up

An experiment in recording

Lisgar’s annual Reach-style tournament was held two weeks ago. First of all, my results table is found here. More significantly to me, it was the trial run of recording audio of games.

Recording and production was, thankfully, pretty straightforward. I used a recording app on my iPad and placed it in front of me. In an effort to muffle/anonymize the players, I put a folder between the iPad and the players to dampen their voices. It turned out that players could be understood most of the time, but I don’t think they could be individually identified unless you actually knew the person. What I should have done was find a way to put the iPad between myself and the question papers; I was slightly muffled, and the page turning was the clearest sound in the recordings. The buzzer sound was not overpowering, but I placed a sweater over the speaker to make it quieter. Production was done in Audacity; I didn’t need to edit out identifying names, so I just normalized the audio and faded in and out. In the future, I may add more recording time before and after the reading so that there is more room to fade. Finally, I made the mp3s and uploaded to a free host.

I was satisfied with how these first recordings came out. I had done similar work back in 2005/06 for a VETO tournament, but this was taken a little more seriously. To respect the fact that most players are minors, I guaranteed anonymity, no video or images, and no monetization of the recordings. Most students in the Ottawa school board signed a year-long media waiver to allow things like appearing on the news if a camera crew comes by, but I thought it best not to take any chances with privacy issues. In terms of audio quality, it is okay for a free effort. I am reluctant to invest money for better sound at this stage, lest I end up in a tailspin where I need to start finding ways to get money to sustain the project.

Anyway, here’s what you came for – all 10 rounds of the tournament I recorded:

  1. Kennebecasis Valley vs Lisgar “B” (post) (audio)
  2. Glebe vs Lisgar “A” (post) (audio)
  3. Almonte vs UTS (post) (audio)
  4. Colonel By vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  5. UTS vs Merivale (post) (audio)
  6. Lisgar “B” vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  7. Almonte vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  8. UTS vs Glebe (post) (audio)
  9. Merivale vs Colonel By (post) (audio)
  10. Almonte vs Merivale (post) (audio)

My next effort will be Ottawa’s regional tournament. I’m not sure what will happen after that. If you have audio of games (and permission from associated parties to air it), I’d be glad to either link to it or run it on Reach Scores Audio.

If you have any questions or comments related to these Reach Scores efforts, feel free to contact me at reac5hscores@gmail.com (remove the number). Enjoy!

Reach Scores Audio #9

2017 Lisgar tournament, Merivale vs Colonel By

We have a rematch! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 9 match has Merivale HS against Colonel By SS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #4

2017 Lisgar tournament, Colonel By vs Merivale

Squeezed this one in today. From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 4 match has Colonel By SS against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Unfortunately, a fair bit of dead air in this episode, through a combination of counting down time, doing my own scorekeeping, and having sleepiness start to kick in. The last “what am I?” took one and a half minutes (partly due to clarifying what was sought)!
  • In case the sarcasm wasn’t obvious, I am not a fan of J.M.W. Turner’s works. The frequent use of clouds and coloured skies don’t appeal to me, but it makes him famous, such as in Rain, Steam and Speed.

Thanks for listening!

2017 Lisgar Independent Tournament preview

A yearly event without a name.

Lisgar CI hosts their “Reach-style” tournament on Saturday. Lisgar has hosted these events off-and-on since 2007, and annually since (I think) 2013. They are “independent” in that the questions are not written by SchoolReach and the results have no bearing toward a Reach national title… but more on that later.

Most of the teams will be from the Ottawa area, but two regular visitors are University of Toronto Schools and Kennebecasis Valley HS. They have 7 Reach titles between them and at least one of them has appeared in the final in 10 of the past 11 seasons (though interestingly, never against each other). As visitors, they are invaluable for “sizing up” the strength of different regions, and together with UTS’ events, paint the picture for the Reach season ahead.

Lisgar wrote all the questions this year. This was the case in earlier years, but 2015 and 2016 had an arrangement to modify NAQT’s television packs into questions that resembled the Reach format. A consequence of Lisgar writing this year is that the A-team, as authors, won’t be playing. It’s a disappointment to not see potential national clashes, but necessary for the running of the event. Lisgar B (and C, and D…) are no slouches, though, and will likely carry the Lisgar banner to the top 3.

There’s an interesting coincidence between Lisgar’s tournament and Reach. The second-place team at Lisgar has gone on to win the Reach national title (Lisgar in 2015, KVHS in 2016). The winning team at Lisgar in those two years failed to make provincials (Colonel By in 2015 by boycott, UTS in 2016 by regional semifinal upset). The latter is rather unlikely this year (unless Lisgar “B” wins and doesn’t represent Lisgar at provincials), but watch out for the national champion coincidence again!

I will be reading games. It will be my first attempt at recording audio at this level (I did some university games back in 2006), and a trial run before Regionals. Stay tuned to find the (edited) matches in the near future.

Good luck to the teams!