2018 Ontario Provincials preview

Lisgar’s attendance streak is old enough to vote.

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Roughly 40 teams from across Ontario will gather next week to determine the provincial SchoolReach champion. It is the most-attended Reach tournament of the year and is usually a springboard for the eventual national champions.

The format should still be similar to that of previous years. Five pools of eight teams will run a round robin to produce ten playoff teams. The pool winners will go through, followed by the best winning records and point totals. The ten playoff teams then play a modified elimination bracket to qualify the three Ontario teams heading to Nationals.

Like last year (see the 2017 preview post), I will give an assessment of the contenders. I group them into tiers of five; it is difficult to give a clear single rank to teams with most data unavailable, and the tiers would suggest that each pool should have one team from each tier. There is likely some bias towards teams that have reported results – I couldn’t predict the 11th place team from Windsor last year, for example.

Here are the contenders, listed only in alphabetical order within tiers:

Tier 1 (should win pool)

London Central SS

  • 2017 provincials result: 5th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2007, 2009, 2014)

Central has results from the UTS fall tournament (2nd, 149%) and a mirror of the Lisgar tournament (1st, 115%). They may have lost to Martingrove in the fall, but have handily got past any other contenders they have faced. They haven’t faced the main UTS team, though, and that will probably stop them from claiming another provincial title. They are in a good spot for a Nationals qualification.

Martingrove CI

  • 2017 provincials result: 3rd
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2013, 2015-16)

Martingrove will be vying for an incredible (for Ontario) sixth consecutive Nationals qualification. They won the “provincials preview” UTS tournament (1st, 123%) and breezed through their region (1st, 183%). Their underlying numbers are not as strong as some earlier years, though, and they may be vulnerable in the playoffs.

University of Toronto Schools

  • 2017 provincials result: 1st
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2001-04, 2008, 2012, 2017)

There’s no skirting around it, UTS is the favourite. In Reach and quizbowl, they haven’t lost to another school, and their only statistically measured result with the main team, the Lisgar tournament (1st, 144%), is miles ahead of anyone else. They will have a heavy dose of substitutions during the prelims and early playoffs, but the B team’s equally impressive results during the year will keep the wins coming.

Upper Canada College

  • 2017 provincials result: 4th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2016)

UCC has quietly grown to a semifinal lock in recent years. I only have their UTS tournament (17th, 144%), but I think they were victims of the very unbalanced morning pool situation – they got the points, but had to face all the contenders. Hopefully, the provincial pools will be more stable and give them another high seed.

Westmount SS

  • 2017 provincials result: 8th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 7th (2004)

Westmount has been the busiest team all year, playing any tournament they can find. They did well at the UTS tournament (4th, 179%) and regionals (1st, 184%) but got four losses to Central at the Lisgar mirror (2nd, 104%). In quizbowl, they were regularly second to UTS, but didn’t do well in History Bowl. Westmount will be hoping that all this practice makes perfect, and they have an outside chance of being the first Hamilton team at Nationals since the early 1990s.

Tier 2 (should make playoffs)

The Academy for Gifted Children (PACE)

  • 2017 provincials result: 7th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2013)

I actually don’t know if PACE qualified, and have no results for them. This is entirely a rank based on their reputation; the years they make provincials, they almost always make the playoffs. In the event that PACE didn’t qualify, the regional representative (such as Newmarket) would probably take their place in the tiers.

Glebe CI

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 8th (2015)

Glebe has never been eliminated in the provincial prelims, therefore, they will make playoffs. More seriously, they have been somewhat of a middling team all year, including at the Lisgar tournament (9th, 83%), but produced a surprise at regionals (1st, 192%) with the best R-value of the year that has been collected. Glebe’s other provincial runs were surprisingly good compared to their regular season performances, so perhaps they are attuned to pure SchoolReach format.

Lisgar CI

  • 2017 provincials result: 2nd
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2008, 2015, 2017)

Lisgar’s lineup is entirely different from last year’s national champions. They have been active this year as usual, but fall short to other busy contenders like UTS and Westmount. Their lineup appeared at UTS (7th, 135%) and regionals (2nd, 180%), but was split over the B and C teams at their hosted tournament. Lisgar has enough strength to get through the first day, but they will likely have to meet a team in the playoffs they have lost to earlier in the year.

Royal St. George’s College

  • 2017 provincials result: 9th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 9th (2017)

RSGC predictions always burn me. They have not yet been able to convert their dominance of History Bowl into Reach success. I’ve had them as potential national qualifiers in the past two years, but they only made playoffs once in that time. This year, I am putting them in the second tier range; they still have their best player, but a lot of his supporting cast from previous years have graduated. RSGC could also desperately use a provincials set that isn’t relying on recycled material from past years.

White Oaks SS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 11th (2015)

White Oaks has never made provincial playoffs before, but they look like the best of the midfield. At the UTS tournament (13th, 120%), the only teams with better R-values than them are already higher on this list. They pulled off an impressive 390PPG during their regional playoffs, but I don’t count elimination playoffs in R-value calculations (it messes up strength of schedule – they would be listed at 221% otherwise!).

Tier 3 (could make playoffs)

Abbey Park HS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): no appearance

Abbey Park beat OTHS to be the other Halton representative. They put up higher scores than White Oaks in the regional playoffs, but lost the final. Abbey Park has never been to provincials (the school is younger than my records), but the good regional run and some History Bowl preparation could lead to a nice provincial debut for the team.

Michael Power – St. Joseph HS

  • 2017 provincials result: 26th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 15th (2013)

MPSJ once again got through regionals (2nd, 131%) ahead of other teams with higher R-values, but their result at UTS (15th, 95%) still suggests they could pull off a top 15 finish. They haven’t made it to the playoffs before, however, so they will need to give their best performances of the year during the prelims to achieve that.

Nepean HS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 23rd (2016)

Nepean should do better than their single previous appearance, when they were thrown into the 2016 pool of death. While they finished behind Glebe and Lisgar at regionals (3rd, 159%), they will still put up competitive numbers to justify Ottawa’s three qualification spots. Nepean was probably equal with Glebe up until the regional tournament, and could be a worthy opponent to a team in a higher tier.

The Scarborough winner

  • 2017 provincials result: N/A (Neil McNeil was 14th)
  • Best provincial result (on file): N/A

I don’t know who won Scarborough, but the region should produce a team in these tiers. Agincourt at UTS (10th, 102%) gives the best estimate of where a Scarborough team might finish.

Toronto Montessori Schools

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): no appearance

TMS is another first-timer that could make a good provincial debut. This team has grown quickly from an exploratory visit at Lisgar two years ago to a regional winner. They put up mid-tier numbers at UTS (11th, 82%) and the Lisgar set mirror (3rd, 84%), but winning the York region over traditional favourites like CHAT and Bayview should now put them on other teams’ radar. They have demonstrated an ability to get wins even with lower PPGs, but I don’t think they’ll make it to playoffs.


There is a fair bit of stability at the top, with the only teams from last year’s playoffs not mentioned being Assumption (did not qualify out of Halton) and Merivale (did not participate in Ottawa).

Some other teams I considered, but didn’t select, are Centennial CVI (12th and 77% at UTS), Glenforest SS (the Peel winner over teams like Heart Lake and Mayfield), Almonte DHS (10th and 69% at Lisgar), and teams from Waterloo or Niagara. I don’t want to place them in a fourth tier, though, because at that level you run into lots of teams with no results to use.

Overall, UTS, London Central, and Martingrove look like the contenders for the three Nationals spots. There could be a surprise playoff appearance by a team not on my radar, but as last year’s preview showed, provincial results are becoming more forecastable.

I will be at provincials this year without attachment to any team. This will give me some flexibility to find games I want to see. This blog will not be updated with any results until I return, but I will try to give some reports on my Twitter feed.

Good luck to all the provincial competitors!

Return of the contenders

Familiar faces in action

All of the top four teams from Reach Nationals last year were in action this week.

First up, the regional tournament for Etobicoke was settled. Martingrove CI handily beat the field to take yet another local title, with Michael Power-St. Joseph HS making a steady habit of finishing second over the years and getting the other qualifying spot. The Chaminade team, which is becoming quite active after a long dormancy, only managed third and did not qualify. The results are posted on the database. Martingrove’s 182% R-value (on small sample size) is similar to the 190% they put up in last year’s regional, and, along with a good win at UTS’ fall tournament, they are in good position for another nationals run.

New Brunswick held their last regional tournament before provincials. Only four teams from three schools (Kennebecasis Valley HS, Bernice McNaughton HS, and Fredericton HS) participated in the senior division, though. KV took another undefeated run and will be the favourites for the provincial title, but the second representative from New Brunswick seems very much up for grabs.

While not expected to be a contender, Lockerby Composite School won the Sudbury region this week. Sudbury has seen quite a variety of teams representing the city this decade, and Lockerby will make their first appearance since 2010.

The Ontario Quizbowl Association held their provincial championships on Saturday. Chaminade, Lisgar, UTS, White Oaks, and certain teams from Hamilton and Richmond Hill attended. Stats are here. UTS A won every match except one against their junior team, reminiscent of the Lisgar tournament. Their victory gives them the first ONQBA title awarded to a team outside Ottawa. The Hamilton contender put up surprisingly close numbers to UTS, and beat Lisgar twice to earn a solid second place and consideration for a strong run at SchoolReach provincials. Lisgar is definitely noticing the absence of last year’s players, but they should be good enough to make playoffs in May. White Oaks, the other team yesterday that could be in the Reach provincials field, is a step down and once again looks like they’ll be stuck a win or two below playoffs. Impressively, though, White Oaks gave UTS A their closest match that didn’t involve their own school.

Lots of regions are wrapping up (though Ottawa hasn’t even started yet…), and I’ll try to put up whatever results I am provided. I’ll be off next weekend but should return with hopefully a clearer picture of the remaining events of the year.

2017 Etobicoke Regionals results

Small but powerful

Thanks to Isaac’s contribution, I have the Etobicoke league results. I have uploaded them to the database, and have also updated the set PPG for the other regions, which slightly affects R-values.

Etobicoke is a small league, but it is the toughest so far with the highest average scores. This is partly attributed to Martingrove CI having a larger footprint than Lisgar CI in Ottawa or Westmount SS in Hamilton, but the other teams in Etobicoke also put up strong numbers. In the end, Martingrove won and Michael Power-St. Joseph HS finished second and qualified for provincials.

Martingrove’s R-value of 190% is pretty good. In a fair provincial tournament, it should be a Nationals-bound value, unless some other teams like UTS or London Central SS also put up amazing numbers. Martingrove is definitely within striking distance of Lisgar, and could beat them if they met in the playoffs (or heaven forbid, a pool).

Michael Power’s R-value of 129% is on par with about the lower limit of provincial qualifications that aren’t awarded simply by winning a region. It would be a struggle to make Ontario playoffs at that level, but if they get themselves in an easy pool with only one team stronger than them, they might get the needed 6-1 record. In recent history, they have finished with a rank in the teens.

A little bit of history: Michael Power occupies the building that used to house Vincent Massey CI. That was the team that won the title twice in the CBC era. Their first title was the first national season of Reach for the Top, and their second was in the 1978 national championship. The 1978 team played still-participating Richview CI in the first regional round, and that Richview team featured a young Stephen Harper.

Once again, thanks for the results, and I’ll be on the lookout for more!