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New High School - New Team

Discussion of quizbowl topics not related to specific tournaments
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AScroggins
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Location: Jefferson High School - Festus, MO

New High School - New Team

Post by AScroggins » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:21 am

I have 10-15 students who are interested in starting a quiz bowl team. I teach at Jefferson High School which is a brand new high school south of St. Louis in Festus, MO. We only have freshmen this year.

I have no funding. I have limited experience (I was on quiz bowl my junior and senior years of high school). It seems as though there are many different opinions as to how quiz bowl should be organized... and just as many organizations that promote the different formats. What I do have is interest. Where do I start? What do I need to get started?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Amy Scroggins

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Charlie Dees
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New High School - New Team

Post by Charlie Dees » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:59 am

Hello! It's wonderful to hear you are starting a new team, and welcome to the boards.

Since you have no funding, you are lucky because a lot of the best things in quizbowl are currently free. Check out the website quizbowlpackets.com. There you can find hundreds of games worth of questions that are free for public downloading. On top of them being free, they are also some of the highest quality questions around. If you were to read only those questions to your new players, I guarantee that you will see some very positive results within a semester, because the questions are extremely clue dense and educational. They are what is called pyramidal, since they start out hard and get easier by the end to reward all different levels of knowledge. I can say from experience that focusing on pyramidal questions is how all teams that end up nationally competitive get there, so if you start young with your freshman, in four years there is no telling how good they could be.

To get funding, the way most people do it is hosting tournaments. There should be some ways for you to reserve rooms in your school on a Saturday, and you could probably get some of your fellow teachers, your students, and the parents of your quizbowlers to help you staff. The Missouri Quizbowl Alliance is always interested in getting more tournaments in state that use pyramidal questions, so if that sounds like something that would interest you, check out moqba.org and get in contact with us, because we are always glad to provide different resources to you. Up on that website is also a guide for coaches that you would probably want to check out.

As for tournament attendance, as long as you have the money. I would recommend going to as many pyramidal tournaments as possible. I think the results of top teams bear out in the past that these kinds of tournaments really do help teams improve, and if your freshman get this experience soon they will be much better off for it. If you are scared that they will get scared off by playing in varsity tournaments, then I would suggest just making it very clear to them what to expect and then letting them decide if they still want to go for the experience. Also, don't be surprised if they do better than you expect, because fortunately for you, Missouri is not a particularly strong state so it should be easy for your team to quickly rise if you have dedicated players taking notes and studying. Check out the tournaments at Villa Duchesne, Parkway Central, Wash U, and Missouri Sci and Tech in particular, these should be very good events.

Best of luck, and I'm delighted to see a new team out there.

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DeckardCain
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New High School - New Team

Post by DeckardCain » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:48 pm

Welcome to the board! I agree with everything Charlie said and have little to add, other than that it couldn't hurt to let tournament directors know that you're paying out of pocket when signing up for tournaments. I have given discounts to teams in similar situations for my Missouri S&T events in the past, and I can't imagine I'm alone in this regard.

Best of luck with your team this season. Please do let us know if you have any more questions.

AShoaib
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New High School - New Team

Post by AShoaib » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:33 pm

Festus High School has a team, so you can contact them. The QuizBowl community is pretty chill-- we're all for helping each other out. I'm pretty sure a nearby school would be willing to lend you their buzzer system as long as you don't damage it. Charlie Dees already mentioned most of what I was going to say. The most important thing, I think, is to keep it fun for the freshmen. Great thing about freshmen-- they've got 4 years to improve.

As for funding-- Charlie mentioned running a tournament. That's a great idea. A lot of local boys wouldn't mind driving down to help run it. We just do it for kicks (no monetary compensation, typically just a pizza lunch). However, plan early, because tournament dates fill up fast.

Uh, yeah, that's it really.

Abdullah

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PenforPrez
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New High School - New Team

Post by PenforPrez » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:36 pm

To echo something that Charlie said, building a competitive quizbowl team takes time. It's not a one-year or shorter process. It takes a lot of time and a lot of commitment. You are fortunate in that you're starting with a core of freshman who will have all the time in the world to improve. Start with them and keep recruiting new players as you go. Be patient and persistent, and it will pay off over time. :) Good luck!

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Jeffrey Hill
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New High School - New Team

Post by Jeffrey Hill » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:37 pm

Welcome to the board! It's great to see another team starting up!

Everyone else has most everything covered, but I just wanted to point out that there are a couple of novice-level sets on quizbowlpackets.com that might be a good place to start -- the 2008 and 2009 HAVOC sets.

Direct links to HAVOC novice sets:
2008: list of individual packets
2009: list of individual packets, or download them all in a zip file

Good luck to you and your team this season.

AScroggins
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New High School - New Team

Post by AScroggins » Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:23 am

Thank you for all of the wonderful information. I met with 11 students today and set up two weekly casual practices. We read through a small portion of a packet that I had printed from one of the links posted and the kids really enjoyed themselves. They are very excited about being able to compete this year. We think we should try to stick to JV tournaments until we all understand the rules and what to expect. I have a couple of questions regarding tournaments.

Do all tournaments cost money? How do you go about signing up to participate in a tournament? Does the AD make arrangments or the coach?

Are you required to provide your own buzzer system at each tournament?

Thanks again for all of the responses!

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Charlie Dees
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New High School - New Team

Post by Charlie Dees » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:02 pm

Almost all tournaments will cost between $50-$80 per team, with some discounts given for things like buzzers and travel. As Matt said, some tournaments will also allow you to delay payment if your team has no funding.
To sign up for a tournament, you can just email the tournament director. You don't have to do anything through your AD as far as that goes.
As for just attending JV tournaments - as far as I know there is only one JV tournament in the entire eastern half of Missouri, and to play it a team needs to be a member of the Two Saints League in St. Louis and St. Charles county. Thus, I think purely from a practical standpoint that plan won't be able to work for your team this year unless you can pay to drive to the Kansas City area multiple times.

AScroggins
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Location: Jefferson High School - Festus, MO

New High School - New Team

Post by AScroggins » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:31 pm

Good to know! I really think they will suprise themselves.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Compe ... roggins</a>, Oct 23 2009, 01:31:51 PM.</div>

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New High School - New Team

Post by FZW Coach » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:06 am

ashkenaziCD wrote: As for just attending JV tournaments - as far as I know there is only one JV tournament in the entire eastern half of Missouri, and to play it a team needs to be a member of the Two Saints League in St. Louis and St. Charles county.
De Smet will be hosting their 2nd annual JV tournament February 6. Tom Sothers is the contact person. We will, hopefully, host a JV tournament next year (after trying our hand out at a varsity tournament this year January 16 for the first time).

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