2018 UTS Fall results

The season opener.

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Last Saturday, 32 teams got their start on the 2019 season by attending the UTS fall tournament. Most teams were from southern Ontario, but Lisgar CI and Kennebecasis Valley HS also made the trip. Lisgar won the tournament by defeating UTS 300-230 in the final.

The results table is now up. Every team had their bracket played out to determine the ranks from 1 to 32. A few lower bracket playoff games are missing, but nothing that affects R-values.

The schedule definitely stood out. Like last year, only the first five rounds of 8-team round-robins were played. This meant that each team missed out on two of the opponents they would be ranked against for determining afternoon placements. Depending on the relative strength of those missed opponents, a team’s strength of schedule could be much further from average (1.0) than what you’d find at, say, Ontario provincials. The most surprising example was that the team with the easiest schedule (Martingrove) and toughest schedule (Oakville-Trafalgar A) came from the same pool! A few contending teams like St. Michael’s and Abbey Park got burned by facing all the tougher teams and missing out on the top tier despite beating a top-tier-bound team that faced weaker opponents.

The organizers want to insist on a 32-team schedule to allow the three bracketed rounds in the afternoon. For a fairer schedule, the four initials pools of eight should be broken into two pools of 6 and four of 5 – the 6-pools do a round-robin, while the 5-pools pair off and have a team play all five teams in the paired pool (eg: pools C and D have 5 teams, with C1 playing D1 to D5, C2 playing D1 to D5, D1 playing C1 to C5, etc.). Once everyone has a 5-game record with a (hopefully) diverse range of opponents, rank the records for the whole field to split teams into the playoff tiers.

That being said, the initial pools were also uneven, and was noticed before the tournament began. Pool A had four teams from last year’s top ten playoff in Ontario (UTS, Lisgar, White Oaks SS, and Abbey Park), while Pool D had none (though that pool had KVHS). While it is true that it is difficult to seed the first tournament of the year, especially if team composition changes over the summer, the two Oakville teams should have been noticed. Abbey Park finished with the highest R-value thanks to that tough pool, and easily won the second tier. Also interestingly, Pool A had teams that finished 1 & 2, Pool B had teams 3 & 4, Pool C had teams 5 & 6, and Pool D had teams 7 & 8 (though the distribution below that was spread more evenly).

Despite the schedule, this was still a good preview for Ontario. There is a fairly clear cluster of teams with R-values over 100% that should be vying for provincial playoff spots. St. Michael’s looks ready to fill the void in Toronto representation left by RSGC. TMS and Abbey Park will build off their solid provincials debuts last year and contend for Monday games come May. While I don’t wish to imply that all teams’ fates are set, my early prediction is that eight of the ten Ontario playoff teams participated last week – the absences being Glebe CI and a potential Waterloo or Peel team. Hopefully many of these teams will take a crack at another tournament later in the year.

Speaking of which, the tournament schedule carries on. Lisgar hosts a novice quizbowl tournament next weekend, and Carleton will host an event on December 1 open to all levels of high school teams. Those tournaments will likely only have the eastern Ontario teams, but I’ll have reports after their conclusions.

Congratulations to all the teams that played at UTS last week, and good luck in your future tournaments.

2018 Ontario prelims

How I failed to predict properly.

I’m trying to get this done mostly on mobile, so bear with it.

Excuse the short-form team names, but the Ontario preliminary rankings are found here. Two pools had 7 teams, resulting in teams sorted by total losses rather than total wins.

The playoff teams:

  1. Martingrove (139%): Probably benefited from, once again, having the lowest SOS to accumulate a lot of points for the ranking tiebreaker after losses. Should be stronger than the R-value might suggest.
  2. Westmount (140%): Like Martingrove, Westmount had an easier pool for picking up more points. They may face a tough road to the semis with the playoff jumble, though.
  3. London Central (143%): Central is stronger than their R-value. They allegedly spent the afternoon scoring as few points as necessary after news of the UTS loss, so as to avoid a top seed that would have to face a “bottom” UTS in round 2 (which happened last year). This might backfire.
  4. RSGC (131%): RSGC squeaked by Glebe by 10 points en route to sweeping their pool. Unfortunately, their reward is to take a seed that has to face a strong loser.
  5. Banting (137%): The 13th place team from last year and regional runners-up to Central should have been noticed by me. They got the upset win over UTS, but will have to face them again in the playoffs.
  6. UTS (167%): The strongest team in the prelims didn’t substitute players well against Banting and, like last year, created a very unusual playoff situation. UTS is not going to have any easy games in their playoff run with a worse seed than expected.
  7. Lisgar (147%): Lisgar put up their best performance of the year. The opening-match loss to Central meant they had to spend the rest of the day getting as many points as possible. This is another out-of-place seed in the playoffs, but other teams vying for Nationals can keep in mind that Lisgar will decline any qualification they get.
  8. White Oaks (118%): After years of finishes in the teens, White Oaks gets their first playoff appearance. Barring any further minimalism from Central, White Oaks will probably take a first-round exit.
  9. Cameron Heights (117%): I actually dismissed them in my pre-tournament considerations. They were in a pool that didn’t have a clear second-tier team, but still put up the eleventh-best R-value overall. Not bad for a first provincial appearance. They get a rematch with Westmount in the first round.
  10. Abbey Park (135%): Another first-timer making the playoffs. Incredibly, the highest-scoring two-loss team came from a pool with a UTS steamroller (although this also happened in 2013). A 4% difference to Martingrove may look like upset potential, but I think the perennial contenders will be too much for the Oakville team. A good showing by the Halton region, nonetheless.

Playoffs commence later today.

2018 Ontario Provincials preview

Lisgar’s attendance streak is old enough to vote.

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!

More scores

Filling up the provincial fields.

Since my last post, we’ve had a bunch of results leading up to provincials.

Bernice McNaughton hosted the last New Brunswick regional tournament before provincials. Kennebecasis Valley HS won all their matches again to take the victory. Oromocto and Bernice McNaughton were the other schools in the senior division. Hopefully, the provincial tournament will bring out all the other New Brunswick teams; even if a KV title is a foregone conclusion, there is still another nationals spot for the province.

Almonte DHS got through the TV playoffs of Valley Reach and qualified for Ontario provincials again. They have done so several times this decade, but have usually finished mid-field. Despite low finishes when they come to Ottawa, they are taking the time this year to get the extra competition in against strong teams, and this group is one of their best.

Vincent Massey SS won the Windsor-Essex region. Massey is no stranger to provincials, and made the playoffs during the TVO years, but they are probably looking at a midfield finish.

The Halton mega-region wrapped up this week. White Oaks SS and Abbey Park HS (both from the Oakville sub-region) made it through the top 16 elimination playoffs. The summary with playoff scores is found here. Despite their large size, the Halton region still depends on waiting lists to get more teams in; Oakville Trafalgar HS and T.A. Blakelock HS are the semifinalists hoping for some declined provincial invites. White Oaks is a regular attendee at provincials, but has not yet made it to the playoffs despite several finishes in the 11-20 range. They will be knocking on the door this year. Abbey Park has earned their first qualification.

Hamilton also finished with a rare, but statistically valuable, bracketed playoff. Westmount SS built on their good performances throughout the year and handily swept the region with almost double the PPG of any other team. Results are here. There will be further adjustments after results from late regions, but Westmount’s R-value of 196% sits as the third best regional result (after Lisgar 2017 and 2007). Westmount will be neck-and-neck with Martingrove CI (updated to 195%) and will be vying for a nationals qualification.

Most regions are finished, but Ottawa hasn’t even started yet. Ottawa’s schedule and invitations will be a bit of a mess as it leads up to provincial qualifications, but that will be the primary coverage of Reach Scores in this lull before provincials.

Congratulations to all the qualified teams and good luck in your provincial tournaments!

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.

Ontario goings-on

Qualifiers!

Here are some SchoolReach regional updates as leagues start determining who gets to move on to provincials.

I know of four qualifiers so far. Cameron Heights CI (Waterloo), Glenforest SS and St. Joseph CSS (Peel) and Stratford Central SS (Huron) have earned their invites. Other than St. Joseph – though even then, I may be confusing them with the dozens of “St. Joe’s” in Ontario – the remaining schools will be attending for the first time in my records (mostly back to 1999). Waterloo CI, Heart Lake and Mayfield, and F.E. Madill, respectively, had been the “usual suspects” of those regions.

Valley Reach has Carleton Place HS, Almonte DHS, Renfrew CI, and another school (unknown to me) in their top four. Games will start being televised this week, so please don’t phone up your grandmother in Pembroke for answers!

The Windsor-Essex region has Assumption at 9-0 and Vincent Massey at 11-1 with results still to come, though the qualifier will likely be one of these two with a large gap back to third place St. Joseph’s (11th at 2017 provincials).

The ONQBA provincial championship will also be held next weekend. Chaminade, Lisgar, the anonymous Richmond Hill school, UTS, Westmount and White Oaks will be sending teams to Toronto for the quizbowl title. UTS A is the favourite and will be looking to take the title away from Ottawa for the first time ever. Lisgar and Westmount should be close and act as a preview of how well they can do at Reach provincials. White Oaks had a high R-value at UTS’ fall event despite a low placement, and while they probably won’t be at the strength of those top 3, it will be a measuring stick to see if they’re good enough to make their first jump into Ontario Reach playoffs, after years of finishing in the 11-20 range.

Congratulations to the Ontario qualifiers so far, and good luck to the remaining teams!

Super Saturday

Three events to wrap up 2017

Yesterday saw a small flurry of tournaments to end the 2017 calendar year. Teams got one more chance to test their skill before most circuits start their SchoolReach regionals in late January and February.

In actual SchoolReach, Kennebecasis Valley HS hosted their leg of the New Brunswick tour. Younger divisions were well-populated, but the senior level drew just 5 teams. Oromocto HS and Bernice McNaughton HS made their first senior appearances of the year. KV’s “A” team once again swept the field, and they finished with a 260-220 final over Bernice McNaughton. The New Brunswick circuit reconvenes in February.

U of T’s “novice” NAQT event was the big draw of the day. Despite the title, all levels of teams participated. Chaminade, UTS, Westmount, White Oaks, and several anonymized clubs made up the 12-team field. UTS A handily won the tournament, with their closest match coming against their own B team, who finished tied for second. An anonymous school from Richmond Hill (they have a lengthy tenure in GTA tournaments), Westmount, and a solo player from upstate New York rounded out the top five. Stats from the Toronto event are here.

Carleton also hosted an event using the question set from Toronto. Seven teams from Almonte, Ashbury, Colonel By, Lisgar, and Nepean participated. This was Ashbury’s first appearance in true quizbowl, though in the past they had played SchoolReach and History Bowl. I had to leave early, but Lisgar’s MVP made his first appearance this year and helped the A team to convincing wins. Stats from Carleton are now available here.

Hamilton is also starting up their SchoolReach regional league, but the championship won’t be decided until spring.

Now that there is a competition down-time for holidays and/or exams, I will again go on a short hiatus. I will probably get one post each in December and January before the season restarts.