5 Early Tournaments

By Ron Zyhaus

A couple of days ago, I was able to introduce myself to a group of quizzers. One of them asked me, “Mr. Zyhaus, our school has said that we can choose one tournament to go to this year besides SCQANIT, State, and Nationals, which one do you think we should go to?”
This young quizzer (actually, I believe he’s a senior this year), must have mistaken me for Startup because I had never really thought about that before. I told him, “Let me get back to you.”

Later, I talked to George Lindsay about the question, and he said that he had been thinking of writing an article about the very same thing. We refined our search of best tournaments to attend to those that are before the month of February for two reasons. First of all, once you get to February, you get a whole bunch of tournaments that are fairly similar. Second, you’re already going to get in a good bit of quizzing during that time period and, from my perspective, you need at least one more early tournament to help you with your early season memorizing.

Now we examine the top five tournaments to attend before February.

5. West Virginia Midseason Invitational:
The West Virginia Midseason Invitational is put on by Matt West and the FQA. This will be the tournament’s first year of existence, but we are hearing a lot of excitement from West about this tournament. Held on October 23, the WV Midseason covers the first 15 chapters of I Corinthians (i.e. roughly half the material). The tournament will bring together a plethora of teams from the area including Rosedale, Temple, and Genessee Valley as well as FBCCF. It will also feature the strongest post-high school quiz to date. Overall, the WV Midseason is on the rise and should most definitely be attended if you are a team within a couple hundred miles.

4. Michigan Invitational:
When I started making this list, I realized that the first three (or bottom three; depends on how you look at it) could really be placed in any order. The Michigan Invitational, like both Midseasons, has not been around long but is growing rapidly. This year they hope to have Old Paths, Woodside, Valley, and Tri-Cities all attend which makes for a strong field. The main drawback is that the quiz is November 20th, and they have decided to quiz over the entire section. I don’t want to be very critical here because I have never actually attended the MI, but that seems a little early to me. My recommendation is that if you are a really strong team, have some quizzers who have already memorized most of the section, or are a regional team, you should head to the Michigan Invitational.

3. Midseason Invitational:
The Midseason Invitational is the older brother of the West Virginia version. This will be its third year in existence. It will be held on October 9 and cover the same material that West Virginia does. It utilizes several different types of quizzing (as does WV). What I mean is that you will have some 2 and some 3 team quizzing during the day. I’m still not sure if I like this or not. Two team quizzing is generally favored in the Southeast as both the PQA and FQA use it extensively, but it’s more foreign to team from other regions. Also, the strength of the competition has been hurt a little this year because of the addition of the WV. Still, we’ll get a glimpse of FBCCF, Master’s, and Athens. Overall, this is still the third best tournament to take your team to.

2. Marquette Manor:
At this point, we move to discussing the two most prominent pre-February tournaments of them all. A couple of years ago, there would only be one that could say it was truly a great early season tournament. Now, Marquette Manor has certainly joined that list. They’ve attracted basically all of the big name programs with the exception of a couple teams from the Southeast. They quiz over all the material, but the tournament isn’t until January so quizzers have had a longer opportunity to get a hold on it. Their setup is a little different from other tournaments. The top seven seeds from the round robin qualify for the single elimination tournament to conclude the day. The top ranked team round robin team automatically qualifies for the finals. Then they take the winners from two other three team quizzes. Those three teams quiz for the championship. Although that idea is a little different for most of us, it works and encourages an aggressive, try to get the high win instead of “a middle is just as good as a high” approach. My recommendation is that all high level teams should attend Marquette Manor.

1. New Year’s Classic:
I don’t think that many people had much doubt when they started reading this list as to which tournament would be in first position. Although NYC doesn’t hold exclusive rights to early season tournaments any more, they are still by far the most established and best. NYC is the complete tournament. They average close to 30 top notch high school teams. Also, they have probably the strongest middle school tournament with over 10 strong teams from most big programs. The recent addition of the Friday Night Fiesta has added a great chance for quizzers from different ministries to get to meet each other. While I don’t want to sound to much like a commercial, I really think that this tournament has set the bar for what an early season tournament should be. Near or far, all Bible Quiz teams should experience the New Year’s Classic.

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