After listening to the most recent podcast by Matt West and co-host, Nacho, I decided to revisit my thoughts on the rankings, give my own list and support it. So for whatever it is worth, here it is.
I think that unless there is an overwhelmingly compelling reason to the contrary, the last tournament of the year should get the weight of emphasis by a significant margin. I think Athens, for instance, would have had to win SCQANIT at least (and this particular year, potentially all three other major tournaments) in order to make up for the absence of not participating in AACS. I regret making that comment because Athens is scary good and the option of participating in AACS is not theirs to make. But with some time elapsed and the opportunity to consider various arguments I would rank Woodside as #1 in light of AACS (as well as 3rd at SCQANIT). I think there is a toss-up between Temple and Athens in some respects, but I’d have to go with Temple ahead of Athens in light of the body of work and in light of the fact that we didn’t have a chance to observe a potential trip-up for Athens similar to what Temple experienced at AACS. The Athens finish at Blue Ridge is evidence that a precipitous fall can happen to anyone. What if something similar had happened to them at AACS? We will never know. So, against that backdrop, I would go with Temple #2 and Athens #3.
Heritage NY has earned a finish that I can’t see falling below #4. Heritage is good enough that if the last AACS quiz had turned out differently and they had won, I could see ranking them first. But in the absence of that kind of marquee win, there is not, in my estimation, enough to argue for their placement above any of the top 3. So, I would go with Heritage Mission (NY) at #4.
I am digressing from the flow of thought for a minute, but I can’t argue for Bethel-Calvary above the finalists at SCQANIT or AACS. I don’t doubt that they are formidable (I think I would have both Shelby and Tamara in a top 10 individual quizzer list), but they did not participate in the last week at all. The same would be true of Falls. Every time you quiz you are putting your record and resume on the line – again see Temple at AACS. If the general consensus is to target competing at a high level at the end of the year, then we just don’t have a way of knowing how they would stack up against the chief competitors at the end. So, I can’t see arguing for ranking them above the top 5 in either SCQANIT or AACS. With Calvary’s finish at SCQANIT I would argue for ranking them above Bethel-Calvary. This opinion is far from being as strong as some others, but I think Calvary ought to be rewarded for participating.
To return to the list, when it comes to #5, I must admit I have the highest potential of bias influencing my thinking here, but I would go with Kettle Moraine. I think that 5 and 6 must be Hillsdale/Kettle Moraine in one order or the other. I would put Kettle Moraine at #5, because they (we) gave Hillsdale their two lows in back to back, head to head quizzes at AACS. I would again place a value on the time argument. We knew when coming to early season tournaments that we did not have the firepower to compete in the top five. Samuel didn’t even travel to Athens and only came in during the second quiz of the second day at CI – which happened to be our first high win. (He came in primarily for the sake of ministry in a couple of local churches on Sunday and for visiting extended family and old friends in the area.) Hannah was consistently finishing with high scores on an individual level, but with Hannah and Daniel both experiencing their first full year on the varsity level, the team needed Samuel’s poise, leadership, and experience. Just having big brother present made Hannah a better quizzer, but Samuel was going to have to make a concerted effort to maximize March and April to contribute at a championship-caliber level. He gave it his best shot. Whether that was enough or not would remain to be seen. SCQANIT was like getting his legs under him and giving all the team members the best chance to be successful the next day at AACS. It seemed to come together well during AACS. Even with all of that said, I can see a debate between Kettle Moraine and Hillsdale but what I have a hard time seeing is how the 3rd place AACS team finishes behind a team (Bethel-Calvary) that didn’t even compete in either tournament in the last week. (Again this is no knock on the Ziemers. Their family’s contribution to quiz is significant from the end of excellence in competition and the refreshing presence they bring to every event.)
So, at #5 I have Kettle Moraine and at #6 Hillsdale.
In keeping with the time argument #7 is Calvary and #8 is Bethel-Calvary.
We have first-hand experience with how strong of a team Falls is. The Great Lakes tournament (November) was Athens, Falls, Kettle Moraine, Falls 2, Heritage (NY), Hillsdale, Heritage (IL)…in that order. In the Falls Baptist Invitational (FBI – January), Kettle Moraine was the top seed after 7 rounds of round robin but ended up 3rd to Falls 1 and Falls 2. And Falls finished 4th at their only major (CI). But again the last time anyone saw Falls quiz was the middle of February.
With the entire picture in view I would go Pleasant View (KY) at #9 and Falls at #10.
Fellowship was definitely a strong team with significant potential and I would agree with the general sentiments of Mr. Poston several days ago; Pleasant View and Falls dropping all the way to 9 and 10 and not finding a spot for Fellowship in the Top 10 is indicating a strong field of teams. Northside (SC) had some quizzes that showed they could give top teams strong competition. The first round quiz at AACS finished Kettle Moraine 130, Woodside 120, and Northside 100. Any of the three teams was still in the running for a high win going into Question 20. Heritage, IL made a good run during AACS, finishing 7th and I think winning the SCQANIT consolation tournament.
With the entire picture in view, I would go Fellowship #11, Heritage (IL) #12, and Northside (SC) #13. Multiple other teams from North Carolina to Indiana to California added to the excitement, edification, and blessing of Bible Quiz this year, but I do think the competitive level starts to drop off a bit after these top 13.
If there is anyone still reading to this point I would say a thank you to all that have contributed to the blessing to our lives and quiz program this year.