Congratulations to the state champions!
Congratulations to Exeter in Class 1, College Heights Christian in Class 2, John Burroughs in Class 3, and Ladue in Class 4!MSHSAA State results/all-state teams • State discussion thread
CIS A ties for 13th, the best finish ever by a Missouri team at Middle School Nationals! • Free packets for study/practice
yeah this is basically what I was getting at in my post too.Mewto55555 wrote:Right, and with no other high schoolers playing at GIT, there's no way (for me at least) to figure out where he lands. Is his 15.54 ppb there better than Clayton's 21 at Tiger Bowl? I have no doubt that Dylan is an excellent quizbowl player and may merit a #1 or #2 slot after WUHSAC, but until he has played at a field where I at least have some way of measuring him against another Missouri high school team, I have no way of knowing whether he should be ranked 1st, 3rd, or 10th.
This has been obviously the best year ever for Missouri quizbowl. More teams are preparing for good quizbowl than ever, and more teams are becoming competitive than ever. Just last year, the very best teams Missouri had to offer (in a year that was way more competitive than most) was people placing in the 80s at a national championship. This year, a team led by a sophomore placed 13th at NAQT nationals, 2 more teams placed in the top 40 at PACE Nationals, and 2 more teams made the playoffs at NAQT nationals, with us sending 16 teams total to nationals overall. To contrast, in 2005 a grand total of zero teams went to a respected national tournament, and in my senior year in 2008, only 4 teams went to nationals. Our National All-Star team, which didn't even have some of the players we had asked to go, put on a much stronger performance than last year and elicited a lot of praise from outside observers who knew just how bad Missouri quizbowl was in the recent past. The upper echelon of our state is obviously transitioning from a backwater into a nationally elite circuit, and I couldn't be happier.
The writing is even on the wall at the MSHSAA series. After watching the sheer volume of teams that play good quizbowl winning their districts, then watching Savannah handily win in class 3, that would already be enough to think that playing good quizbowl is the way of the future for anybody who wants to be respected. What cements it, though, was the absolute obliteration of the rest of the field in class 4 by Ladue and Rock Bridge, two teams who literally never played a single MSHSAA event the entire season. Ladue absolutely decimated the MSHSAA record book with a team of 2 sophomores and 2 freshmen, and nobody on their team ever played a MSHSAA style invitational, and they were furious over how poorly written a product it was. That's how massive a disconnect there is between the good teams and MSHSAA, and that's how massively dominant the good teams are still going to be at MSHSAA against teams that actually like that series. And let's not forget that Clayton, Villa Duchesne, Helias, and Jefferson City all were screwed out of attending state, where, to be frank, they were obviously superior teams to every single class 4 team that didn't make the finals, again proving that this system is horrendous. We are entering a brave new world where the only way to have a prayer of winning MSHSAA, especially in class 4, is to abandon allegiance to the format wholesale and begin solely preparing to do well at good tournaments, and especially nationals. The moment a class 2 or 1 team figures this out, then it's game over for those events as well. After the results this year, there is simply no way anybody can possibly delude themselves that doing it any other way will ever work.
And now, to discuss individual teams -
Ladue put on such an incredible show for us this year. Even without their incredible player Zev, they would routinely win the tournaments they went to, only dropping a single 1st place trophy to Clayton all year. As a player, Max is putting everybody else in the state to shame, proving just how incredibly good you can get in a short period of time. The crazy thing is, he's also dedicated enough to do the work to build a true program, because he has begun to train his young teammates to do things like write a tournament, staff events, and play lots more tournaments. I just spent a weekend with his 13 year old protege Ben, and it's amazing to see how quickly he's improved (just a warning to everyone else, Ben is going to be better than basically every other team by himself next year, so everyone else has their work cut out for them). When Ladue took their real A team with Max, Zev, Ben, and Haohang to tournaments by the end of the season, they were a truly nationally competitive team. And they're just getting going, I think this team really has what it takes to win a national championship in the near future.
Ikshu finally hit his stride as a player this year, letting Clayton be really competitive, dealing Max his sole tournament loss of the year in an all-Missouri field, winning plenty of other tournaments, and being one of the best players in Missouri history. Unfortunately for Clayton, they never really built up a stable roster of 4 players for their A-team, despite there seeming to be players with the potential there. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Clayton got a new coach this year, and the old coach had not done a good job at all of building a program (frankly, the guy was a joke, I'm so glad Clayton got coach Dunsker, he's way cooler and does such a better job). I think that was the biggest weakness of Clayton's team this year, and kept them from being able to make the playoffs at PACE. However, it still was good enough for them to be one of the top teams in the state.
I think Jefferson City was a really cool story this year, because they had a good mix of a coach who was willing to take her players to the tournaments they wanted to attend, and a really motivated team leader who quickly figured out what kind of quizbowl was worthwhile. Unfortunately they only got a year to build, but it was a really good example of how quickly you can become competitive if you do the right things. They weren't the best team, but Sam had a great attitude and did a lot of work, and they set a pretty awesome shining example to the rest of Missouri about how to quickly become a respectable team.
Villa Duchense was pretty similar in to Jefferson City in skill level and team composition, since Sabrina was the bulk of their scoring. Unfortunately, they did not get out to as many tournaments this year, and I'm unsure how much they improved throughout the season, but they still definitely were a top team. Unfortunately, it will be really hard to rebound from Sabrina graduating, so I hope they can figure out how to do so.
Oakville is one of my favorite programs in the state officially, because their players and coach Whelehon are all totally awesome and show up to everything they can get their hands on. They had one really cool win early in the season at SLUAC, but I don't know that that level of play has quite been replicated since from them. One thing I did definitely notice was that their full team seemed to do better when they played NAQT sets, which would hurt them at things like GSAC. However, they are another basically brand new team, and they still got a lot of good wins in this season and are another good example for lesser teams to look towards. I'm really glad they've emerged on the scene.
Park Hill South got 3rd at MSHSAA state and won the two MOQBA events in Kansas City. I felt like they had a lot of potential, but unfortunately their coaches just didn't know what to do with it, and I think it really was demonstrated when they went to nationals and went 4-6 that they just weren't prepared enough on good quizbowl to really be competitive. By contrast, the NKC team they beat at Savannah worked a lot more on being nationally competitive, so in the months between, they managed to be prepared enough to pull out a close 6-4. Contrasts like that definitely showed that more experience playing the best teams would ultimately help you win out. I hope down the line their coaches will figure out that they should change their routine up.
Liberty did well enough at the NKC tournament, but again, their performance at nationals and int he MSHSAA series both was an even greater demonstration that you simply cannot become an upper echelon team in Missouri anymore without attending good events. I sincerely hope that they will change their future schedule, because it will be so much better for their competitiveness in the long run.
North Kansas City, on the other hand, made a point of going to great tournaments and practicing solely for them, and while they were very inconsistent throughout the year, and weren't obviously better than some of the other teams in their area like Park Hill South, they did manage to be the only team in Missouri all year that upset Ladue when Max and Zev were both playing, and as I pointed out above, their performance at nationals really highlighted the difference between their team and the rest of Kansas City. I am really excited for them, both for sentimental reasons but also because they are really young and really motivated and will be doing everything right over the coming years with coach Jackson, who ended up being a really cool fit.
If you take a much broader view of the Kansas City circuit, then of course Savannah was the team that did the best out of all of them. They started out with just mediocre stats at Iowa State and Rolla Fall, and I was worried they would be stagnant, but coach Ross and their players figured out that they needed to go to a lot more good tournaments and see the top teams, and then they obviously worked a lot to improve. I think they ended up finishing the year in a really, really respectable position within the state, and their NAQT State title especially was a huge deal for proving that they were a quite strong team.
I am very happy with how Rock Bridge has done throughout the year. I always thought they could be one of the top teams in the state this season, and they would always drop some games to statistically worse teams and shake my confidence, but I think by the end of the season, and especially when they were playing nationals, the tournament that matters the most, they definitely showed that they had developed into a much deeper team than a lot of the other local competition, and they had plenty of flashes of brilliance earlier in the year, including a few wins over Ikshu's Clayton teams (one without Craig). I think the thing they did that was so cool was that they developed into a really, really balanced team in a way that other programs weren't. At PACE, all of the players had over 20 points per game, and Iyas had 40 while Craig had 39, which is not something I've really seen from any Missouri teams before. They also had what I believe to be the deepest bench of any teams in the state, with a C team that upset Jefferson City and our B team at PACE placing above a few other teams on this list while also upsetting Villa, while not even having their 2 best players there. Just last year, their returning players outside of Craig all hardly got anything, so to see this level of development, especially from players like Bess and Iyas, was pretty awesome. They definitely did better at non-NAQT events (although they never sent their full A-team to an NAQT tournament, which may have been part of it), and they also didn't really take out their full A-team all that much, but they still went to everything they could and always did very well at it no matter who was playing, which is something that's pretty cool.
Helias was a very hit or miss team all season, but they were very good, and were another team that definitely seemed more suited to NAQT than ACF-style quizbowl, especially because Nick was so good at geography. They were very consistently in the playoffs at pretty much everything they played this year, but at the same time they really didn't win tournaments. However, I know I previously described them as "pesky," because they could usually upset at least one team that would place higher than them, leading to some very interesting final standings, which I frankly enjoy about them, because it makes tournaments a lot more interesting when you have to make people work harder to get their trophies. This hit its peak at NAQT state, where they lost to Rock Bridge but leapfrogged them to second place by beating Savannah once in the playoffs, only to end up losing the final to Savannah by a wide margin. Them doing this all year was basically a hallmark trait. Unfortunately, their performance at PACE I think showed that they don't scale up the way some of the teams they've beaten do, but they are returning almost everybody and might well improve a lot further now.
Parkway West showed they have a lot of potential as well this season, but I think I speak for everybody when I say I was always sort of baffled at how they would split up their talented players, and usually put a couple of their more talented players on their often better performing B team. They only really took their real A team to Tiger Bowl and nationals, and when they played together at Tiger Bowl they did play really well, so I just feel like if they actually played their real team together they could have placed so much higher at a lot of other events. I think in the future them doing that would probably help them get their team to be a lot more competitive. However, they are still a new team on the scene, and they did a lot of things right by going to plenty of tournaments and attending nationals, so I hope they can turn all the experience they're gaining into becoming a really strong team next year.
I probably could comment on a few other teams, but I'll leave it there. I am curious to know what other people think about how this year's circuit went, and I definitely want to say that I really am looking forward to next season, because it feels like we are just sitting on the edge of an explosion in talent. I also want to point out that in my opinion, a number of these teams are obviously in the top 10 of all time historical Missouri teams, and many many more are in the top 25. The circuits of the past were abject comedy compared to what these teams have done this year, and they deserve to all pat themselves on the back at the very least for how well they have done this year.
This year was one of the most fun years I have ever had as a quizbowl person. Our state is quickly making a positive splash to a degree never before seen.ashkenaziCD wrote:everything Charlie said
We have about a dozen very strong teams right now, as evidenced by the paragraphs of commendations they received above. Many more teams are starting to come out of their shells and are at least dipping their feet into the water of the non-MSHSAA circuit.
Individuals have also impressed me - Sam Haynes, who as a high schooler directed a new MOQBA certified tournament, and Max Schindler, who organized a housewrite event (more work than you think!) as a sophomore, immediately come to mind. The members of our all-star team and those who were unable to attend are also proof of the power of individuals to really make big changes in the quizbowl lansdscape.
I look forward to this upcoming year, which proves to once again showcase the growing talent we have here in our midst.