Surprise results

UTS takes a loss?

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The last regional tournament, Ottawa, finally concluded this week. After a final round robin between the top 4 of Lisgar CI, Glebe CI, Nepean HS, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS, Glebe won all three matches and won the region. This is Glebe’s first regional title in the SchoolReach era. Glebe, Lisgar, and Nepean were invited to provincials.

The results are found here. Additionally, the table kept by the coordinators is found here. The Ottawa results boosted the set PPG overall for regionals, making Glebe’s 192% R-value the new overall leader of reported results. Glebe “benefited” from a very tough strength of schedule where they faced top teams over and over again, but they managed to earn lots of points in those matches, including a sweep in the final round robin. There has only been one instance so far of a team reaching 190% in regionals and not making it to Nationals, but calling Glebe “nationals-bound” would be an unexpected surprise. Nevertheless, Glebe has made Ontario playoffs in all of their provincial appearances (a better record than UTS, Lisgar, Martingrove, et al), and even before regionals I considered them provincial playoff level.

Lisgar and Nepean put up R-values of 180% and 159%, which feel more reasonable. Lisgar will probably be a second-tier playoff team, while Nepean seems just outside the playoffs in the 11-20 range.

For the Ottawa region, there is definitely concern about attendance. While many signed up at the start of the year (perhaps automatically by school secretaries), the final day ended with ten teams. Three provincial invites is quite rich for that level of participation, even with the historically strong record of Ottawa teams. Considering that there are more populous regions out there with fewer invites, I would not be surprised to see future cuts to the Ottawa portion of the provincials field.

Last week also saw the downtown Toronto History Bowl qualifier. Results are in this PDF. UTS A won the senior final over Royal St. George’s College, though earlier in the day, RSGC handed UTS their first competitive loss this season (from a team other than UTS B). History Bowl is definitely RSGC’s forte, and a back-of-napkin calculation has RSGC at 145% “R-value” in the field compared to 139% for UTS A. History Bowl is not SchoolReach, however, and UTS is probably more well-rounded in the other subjects. At the other end of this spectrum, Westmount is not as strong in History Bowl, but an 89% R-value is surprising. One of Westmount’s losses was to Abbey Park, so perhaps keep an eye out for them at provincials.

Almost all the useful information I can expect to get before provincials has been gathered. All that is left is the Hamilton mirror of Lisgar’s independent tournament, which can be used to measure some GTA teams against provincials-bound UTS, Lisgar, Glebe, and Almonte. I have pretty much settled on my Ontario playoff predictions, but the release will wait until early May.

Quick updates

NB & IHBB

Here are some quick updates for the week:

Kennebecasis Valley HS continued their lengthy run of success on the New Brunswick circuit, with their senior team sweeping the field to victory at the Nackawic leg of their regional tournaments. Fredericton HS came second, while KVHS also won in the junior division.

From a few weeks ago, Royal St. George’s College comfortably won the southern Ontario site of History Bowl. Their closest margin of victory was 70 points, and they swept the field of “Central Richmond Hill”, Westmount, and Chaminade. A member of RSGC also won the individual History Bee at that event. Ottawa’s site will be next on the agenda on March 3.

If anyone was curious about the recordings from Lisgar’s Reach tournament, they won’t be released until at least after Westmount uses the questions. The questions may possibly be used elsewhere as well.

Calgary and Lisgar

13 Nats appearances in past 3 years in this post

After some wait, I finally have results tables again.

First up is the Calgary-Foothills SchoolReach regional tournament. This region has produced four National appearances in the past two years from Renert School, Rundle College, and Webber Academy. The tournament is still in progress with the two Renert teams still undefeated; results are found here. I don’t have a schedule of matchups that have occurred so far, so I can’t give R-values yet. The set PPG of 181 (probably closer to 200 when factoring out some forfeits) feels low for a regional tournament – they have been in the 230-250 PPG range in recent years. Considering that there are Nationals-bound teams in the field, this doesn’t look good for high points scores in other upcoming regions.

This is in contrast to the scoring blitz that was the 2018 Lisgar Reach tournament. UTS and Kennebecasis Valley once again joined the Ottawa-area teams in a tournament that has become a preview of Nationals. Results of the senior division are found here. UTS “A” won the tournament with a tidy points haul, losing only to UTS “C”, who finished second. Lisgar and KVHS rounded out the top 4 bracket. In the junior division, Glebe went undefeated and gave second-place Ashbury their only losses, while two KVHS teams tied for third.

The senior field at Lisgar was stacked. UTS “A” picked up almost 60% of the points available and only had an R-value of 144%. In the past, the junior division used essentially the same set as the seniors, so their results could be included too. For this year, there was enough difference to require separating them. This means there were no “weak” teams in the field to make UTS look relatively stronger. The bottom two finishers, Glebe and Almonte, are expected to end up in the top 20 at Ontario Provincials, while 4th through 9th were covered by a 55 PPG difference. In fact, the whole field can be circled as:

  • Almonte won against Glebe
  • Glebe won against Colonel By
  • Colonel By won against UTS B
  • UTS B won against Lisgar B
  • Lisgar B won against Lisgar C
  • Lisgar C won against KVHS
  • KVHS won against Lisgar A
  • Lisgar A won against UTS C
  • UTS C won against UTS A
  • while UTS A won against Almonte

Also, I made recordings of matches at the tournament, though I think I should withhold releasing them until a decision is made about using the questions at another site (TBD).

History Bowl also began their Canadian leg yesterday, but I don’t have results from Hamilton yet.

Other regions are starting up soon, so there are busy times ahead!

Back in action

A Nationals preview?

After a hiatus for exams and holidays, tournaments are coming back on the schedule. SchoolReach regions will start soon, if they haven’t already, and a few other events are returning.

Lisgar’s independent Reach-style tournament will be held next Saturday. It doesn’t bring in the crowds of UTS’ event, but it is a surprisingly good preview for national championships: for the last three years, the Reach Nationals winner came second at Lisgar’s tournament. KV and UTS will be back, so it is quite possible for the national champion to again emerge from here. Lisgar will not be as much of a factor because strong players will be in hosting duties. Locally, Colonel By probably has the best chance of being the top Ottawa team (even with their situation of not playing SchoolReach), though Glebe will use this event as prep for SchoolReach regionals and a potential provincial qualification. I will be at this tournament, and I will hope to record some matches like I did last year.

History Bowl is returning to Canada. First up is the Southern Ontario site in Hamilton also next Saturday. UTS will not be attending (going to Lisgar), but they will get another qualification shot at a later Toronto site. Royal St. George’s and Westmount will be the favourites among the field to qualify, and with UTS away, RSGC has the potential to put in some incredible scores with a squad that is now in their senior year together. History Bowl’s Canadian championships will be held at RSGC in late April.

One more week until some new results! Good luck to all the teams!

Views from IHBB Nationals

This tournament is history!

The Canadian History Bee and Bowl happened today at Lisgar CI. I don’t participate in IHBB events any longer, but I decided to drop by for some observations.

This event was probably the only real chance to preview Ontario teams before Ontario Reach provincials. It’s not the best comparison because the tournament is single-subject and uses a different question style, but there is enough to give qualitative impressions of teams.

In the senior division, UTS defeated Bayview SS in the final, and Royal St. George’s College beat Lisgar for third place. As far as I could tell, these were “A” teams, though UTS rotated through substitutes regularly. Bayview’s appearance in the final was quite a surprise after upsetting the #1 seeded RSGC in the semifinal.

RSGC earned that #1 seed, though. The competition was strong and they earned an important win over Lisgar in the round-robin. I was uncertain about the team going in, having no information available, but RSG proved themselves and should be a formidable opponent in the SchoolReach season. A drawback is that they are very dependent on a single player, so an off-game from that player can lead to upsets like the one seen today. Nevertheless, RSG deserves a good seed for Reach (I said that last year, but that’s another story…).

UTS thoroughly earned that championship, too. Their route to victory required beating Lisgar twice, who would have been entering the tournament as favourites. I am not sure if the UTS team prefers history and that gave them the edge, or whether they have improved in all subjects since Lisgar’s February tournament. I would consider UTS the #1 pre-provincials team.

Westmount was the other Ontario school in the senior field. They have a good knowledge base and they surprised me with some difficult answers they earned, but they are just a tier down from the top teams that participated today. I still think they would be on the bubble for Ontario Reach playoffs, like most past Hamilton representatives.

Finally, another impressive characteristic of the senior field was the performance of grade 11 players. If the teams were that good this year, imagine 2018!

Canadian History Bee & Bowl

For when players are stuck in the past.

Four regional tournaments are being played today for the Canadian division of the International History Bee & Bowl. Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver all have events today, with Montreal and Saint John scheduled later.

The IHBB is the international branch of History Bee & Bowl in the US. It was established by former Jeopardy! champion David Madden, and holds competitions in several countries. The Canadian regional sites lead to a national championship (held in Montreal for 2017), and many top participants qualify for a History Olympiad in the summer.

The team event is the History Bowl. Two teams face off to compete in a four-round game. Three of the rounds are variations on quizbowl’s tossups. The third round is a unique lightning round where each team selects a category they prefer, then get exclusive access to answer as many snapper-style questions (up to 10) that they can in one minute.

The individual event is the History Bee. Usually, 4-8 players compete on the same buzzer set, with multiple rooms occurring simultaneously to accommodate everyone. Everyone competes individually to answer from 30 multi-clue tossups worth one point each. If a player reaches 8 points, they step aside (“shootout” style) and get some bonus points based on how quickly they reached 8 points. The preliminary phase usually has several rounds, with players shuffling between rooms to vary the competition, and the players with the highest combined point totals proceed to playoff games.

Canadian History Bowl has hit off best in the GTA, bringing in the biggest fields and attracting teams that don’t even play SchoolReach or quizbowl. Other cities still struggle for attendance, but get by.

For today, Lisgar should win the senior division in Ottawa. They will probably also get the JV title, but few teams are competing for it. Toronto will be a clash between UTS, Royal St. George’s, and Westmount. I will respect player anonymity, but the Toronto Bee will likely preview two top contenders for the 2018 Reach for the Top national title.

Good luck to the participating teams!

Disclosure: I received money from IHBB for tournament directing services in 2015. I no longer participate in IHBB events.