2017 UTS fall tournament results

Let the season begin!

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The University of Toronto Schools held a fall Reach-style tournament on October 28. UTS has held several independent tournaments in the past, but this is their first under new management (and the first where I have full results).

Traditionally, the UTS tournament attracts many southern Ontario teams, and occasionally has visitors from other parts of the province and the well-traveled KVHS team. Because of the wide variety of Ontario teams (and its original April date), the UTS tournament had been a good measuring stick for Ontario SchoolReach provincials.

This year’s tournament attracted 32 teams from 20 schools. The top four teams from 2017 Nationals and top six teams from 2017 Ontario provincials were in attendance. Teams were split into four pools of 8, but only completed five of the round-robin games for the morning preliminaries. This left an uneven schedule for some teams, as will be seen later. For the afternoon, the top 8, next 8, next 8, and bottom 8 teams were separated into “elimination” brackets, though all teams continued playing to resolve every rank from 1 to 32. Martingrove CI won the tournament, with a 410-280 victory over London Central SS “A” in the final.

The stats, including the R-value, are found at this link. The initial pools were divided as follows:

Pool A (313 PPG) Pool B (282 PPG) Pool C (253 PPG) Pool D (293 PPG)
  • Agincourt
  • Assumption A
  • Chaminade B
  • Central B
  • Richview
  • UCC A
  • UTS A
  • Westmount
  • Assumption B
  • Centennial CVI
  • Bethune A
  • Lisgar
  • Central A
  • Michael Power
  • TMS B
  • UFA A
  • Assumption C
  • Chaminade A
  • Bethune B
  • Martingrove
  • Oakville Trafalgar B
  • TMS A
  • UFA B
  • “Hat team”
  • KVHS
  • Oakville Trafalgar A
  • Oakwood
  • St. Michael’s
  • UCC B
  • UFA A
  • UTS B
  • White Oaks

I’ll look at the champions, Martingrove, first. Despite having the second-highest points haul, they only ended up with a raw R-value of 123% (7th overall for that stat). Their R-value was hurt by their extremely easy schedule, in which they faced the lowest-recorded strength of schedule for a complete tournament. Not only did the strength of schedule lower their R-value, but I suspect their points haul was lower than expected for at least one of these reasons:

  • With easy opponents, games were settled fairly early, allowing Martingrove to ease off.
  • Martingrove could play more loose and risk mistakes and wrong answers

Once the playoffs rolled around, they reverted back to their usual strong persona. If their playoff games were incorporated into their total R-value (which I don’t do, because of the significant play difference between prelims and playoffs), their R-value becomes 172%, which is closer to expected.

Central and UTS’ secondary players put up their usual strong performances. UTS A was part of a lions’ den in Pool A, which gave a large boost to those teams’ strength of schedule and R-value. Considering UTS’ result, this bodes well for when they bring in their true “A” team.

Hands up if you said Westmount would have the highest R-value. I knew they would be a decent team this year, but the curse of Hamilton’s strength of schedule struck again: Westmount’s SOS was at least 10% higher than any other top-flight team, including almost 60% tougher than Martingrove’s. They had to play full-throttle to keep up with all their opponents, and the combination of lots of points and a tough schedule created a perfect storm for a high R-value. Westmount deserves notice this year, but I don’t think they are yet at the echelon of UTS or Martingrove.

KVHS is probably disappointed with their final placement. They went undefeated in the morning, and as a reward, had to face UTS A in the first playoff game. They only lost to the UTS teams that day.

Lisgar had a completely new lineup from their previous national championship squad. The deep Lisgar program still produced a team that can put up the points, but three consecutive losses to Central, Martingrove, and KVHS settled their fate and gave them a good gauge for how they stack up in the national picture this year.

Chaminade is a school I know little about. They went to a few UTS events, but my only record of them is 15th at the 1999 Ontario provincials. They ended up in the top flight thanks to being the “best of the rest” in the Martingrove-dominated Pool C. I suspect the “Hat team” in that pool was an exhibition group to replace a strong team that had to drop out suddenly, but it ended up leaving the pool weak overall. Chaminade, like many other GTA teams, will have a tough go to get out of regionals with all the strong established Toronto teams.

The biggest outlier is Upper Canada College. They had an R-value of 144% and crushed the third flight, but statistically, they should have been vying for a top 8 finish. Being stuck in Pool A didn’t help, and even if they hypothetically beat Agincourt, they still would have only ended up in the second flight. I know it can be hard to judge team strength at the beginning of the year, but placing four 2017 ON playoff teams (and the B team of a fifth) together gave the unsurprising outcome of a stacked pool. Hopefully, UCC will get another tournament before provincials to see if they can do better.

I noticed an interesting comparison with the two Oakville rivals White Oaks and Oakville-Trafalgar. They were placed in the same pool with almost the same SOS and identical point tallies. Their round-robin match was decided by 10 points. They met again in the playoffs, with a 350-300 victory for White Oaks to determine 13th place. For several years, these two have faced each other regionally and provincially; it looks like it will be a paper-thin margin between them again this year.

Overall, I got the impression that this was a good tournament by UTS. The schedule issues are mostly nitpicking at this stage; for an early-year tournament, the most important thing is to see how the other teams are doing, rather than worry about final rank. There will be other Reach-style opportunities at Lisgar and possibly Westmount.

Finally, McMaster held a tournament yesterday, but I will recap that after Lisgar runs their event with those questions next week.

2018 Previews

Still waiting on Newfoundland.

I’ve been away for the start of the school year, but with tournaments underway, I’d better get back in the saddle.

The 2018 season is going to be very talented. A lot of teams have been able to keep strong players who will now be entering their senior year, including the four national semifinalists from last year. Some highlights (from an Ottawa-centric view):

Locally (Ottawa), the starting point is the 2017 champs. Lisgar CI is losing almost everyone to graduation, except their Nationals MVP. However, that player will have less support and interest this coming year. I don’t think Lisgar is going to be in National contention this year, though they will still be good enough to continue their provincial qualification streak. Their main local threat will be Glebe CI, who see most players return. Interestingly, Glebe has reached Ontario playoffs each time they have qualified for provincials, so they should be kept on the radar. Beyond Lisgar and Glebe, I think there’s a drop-off with respect to Reach; Colonel By SS, however, will be a contender in other quiz events.

Provincially (Ontario), we seemed destined for a very deep playoff field. UTS is the early favourite – they have several players returning and have a full complement of supporting players in the younger grades to bolster the strength of the team. They will hope to do one better than their finals loss last season. The other National qualifier from last season, Martingrove CI, is another deep squad that always excels in the provincial tournament; they will probably take one of Ontario’s qualification spots again. The third Ontario spot (presuming the system remains the same) will be hotly contested. Lisgar and UCC will probably be weaker this year, but could survive the playoffs. London Central SS has been a mainstay since their 2007 run, and usually finds a way to at least the third round of playoffs. Royal St. George’s College has been on my radar for four years; they have proven themselves through UTS’ independent tournaments and History Bowls, but somehow always struggle at Provincials. If they can get that monkey off their back, they should be a team that breezes through the Nationals style of play. Westmount has been slowly getting better each year ever since their coach came to the program, and they should make playoffs, but I think they still have one more year to go before their big season. I don’t know enough about Assumption’s, PACE’s, Centennial’s or the Oakville teams’ composition to judge how they’ll do yet, but they round out the “usual suspects”.

Nationally, KVHS is the other team to watch out for. They are another deep team like UTS or Martingrove, and should win New Brunswick, if not sweep it altogether. Their advantage over any of the remaining national teams is their constant tournament participation. Ontario is miles ahead of the other provinces, not necessarily because of population, but because of the very active scene of independent tournaments held throughout the year. Development is much better against other teams on fresh material than sitting in a lunchroom with old questions you’ve heard before, and there appear to be gradual changes afoot at Reach that will favour teams that broaden their knowledge base. I know that there have been attempts at tournaments over the years in BC and Alberta, but the staying power in Ontario (and to a lesser extent, New Brunswick) is the factor that will keep certain provinces on top.

A major tournament has already been held, UTS’ fall tournament. It’s too early for me to have any details, but the four National semifinalist from last year were in attendance, and other contenders like Central, Westmount, UCC, and Assumption will make their early mark on the measuring stick. I’m not convinced that the format will do a good job of ranking teams, but I hope to eventually get the raw numbers for a deeper look.

Finally, do not be demoralized if I haven’t mentioned you. Lots of things get overlooked in the early season, and the picture doesn’t become clearer until as late as the provincial tournaments. If you’re an Ontario team, there are plenty of opportunities to gauge yourselves; if you are elsewhere, try to get an event going (2017 National attendees were offered the 2017 Lisgar tournament set for holding a local competition; though if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been spoiled on content from the earlier recordings…).

Best of luck for 2018!

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 #10

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs Merivale

The last round of the day! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 10 match has Almonte DHS against Merivale HS. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Since audio does a poor job of portraying what happened with the Titanic/Avatar answer: An Almonte player buzzed in, then two players on the team gave answers. “Avatar” was said by the buzzing player and “Titanic” was said by the other teammate. I was hemming and hawing not about what I’m supposed to do, but whether I should apply rules strictly in the context of the importance of the game (lower bracket playoffs). I decided to follow rules and deem that the “Titanic” answer was consultation after the buzzer.
  • A wrap-up post with links to all games and some overall recording notes will be written in the near future – probably the weekend.

Thanks for listening!

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 #8

2017 Lisgar tournament, UTS vs Glebe

Sorry about the hosting issue, but it’s back up with new links and still free. From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 8 match has UTS against Glebe CI. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • We’ve got Glebe for three games in a row and their fourth overall. Nothing against Glebe, but the scheduling didn’t give as much team variety as it could.
  • Questions on the “Trudeau cabinet shuffle”: “Which one?” Because all high school students know the portfolio maneuvers of Pierre Trudeau…
  • “Which one?” reappears as a joke on the plots of Taken films. And now if you ask about the audio host, I can say, “which one?”
  • Liam Neeson was not in Les Miserables. Didn’t affect the player getting the right answer, though.

Thanks for listening!

Reach Scores Audio #7

2017 Lisgar tournament, Almonte vs Glebe

Fun with foreign phrases! From the 2017 Lisgar Reach-style tournament, this round 7 match has Almonte DHS against Glebe CI. Moderating and production by Ben Smith.

Here is the link to the episode.

Notes:

  • Foreign words/names/phrases come up in questions; that’s normal. It’s okay if a reader struggles through it if it is part of the context of a larger question where the players can figure out roughly what was said. Translating foreign phrases is tricky, though. Many foreign languages have critical pronunciation differences that aren’t necessarily obvious to an English speaker. When a question simply asks for a translation of a foreign word, an actual speaker of said language (ie: someone who should be very knowledgeable) can be confused when a reader mispronounces. This is why direct foreign translation questions should be frowned upon.
  • My clarification of consulting during questions is correct. SchoolReach and Reach for the Top allow consulting at any point in the question except when your team’s buzzer is lit (you are also, perhaps foolishly, permitted to consult while the opponent’s buzzer is lit). Any talking during a team’s lit buzzer – except for the correct answer from the buzzing player – is ruled incorrect (including fixing a mistake partway through delivery of an answer). Quizbowl forbids consulting during tossups, but most quizbowl rules allow some fixing of your answer before you have completed saying it.
  • A Glebe player left mid-game. Interestingly, they came from behind and took the lead after that…

Thanks for listening!