Peach State Invitational

This weekend, we had the first ever tournament co-sponsored by We dubbed the tournament the Peach State Invitational and had 6 teams show up at my church in the metro-Atlanta area. For the past two years, I have been heading up the Atlanta division of the Florida Quizzing Association and have grown fairly comfortable in that respect. However, coordinating a tournament with teams coming from out of state is a different animal altogether. We had a couple of teams that found out they weren’t going to be able to make it at the last moment. Also, David Poston got caught up in a pastoral situation that caused him to not be able to make. Going in to the day, I was pretty nervous about how the day was going to come off. But I think it turned out to be a complete success. Mr. Bamford, the coach from Athens, stepped in as our second quizmaster and did a great job. Justin Simmons, former Southside quizmaster, became the head quizmaster for the day. I had never had him as a quizmaster, but he was very, very good. He was always in control of the quizzes in his room and due to some rule changes, that I will mention next, had to make some tough calls and adjustments and did them to everyone’s satisfaction.

Now for the rules. We experimented with a lot of different rules at this tournament. Here were the primary differences from normal quizzing. There are no tossups. For example, if the first person to stand up says the wrong answer, we go ahead and move to the next questions. All errors were worth -10. Also, quizzers quizzed out byanswering, whether right or wrong, 5 questions. The implications of the rule changes were not what I had anticipated. The teams that seemed to benefit the most were teams with a lot of quizzer who could answer because of the few number of questions that a particular quizzer could answer and also aggressive teams. For teams like mine, survival was not about being able to pick up rebound questions, you had to be able to be very accurate and get a few questions. Most times surviving against the best teams involved trying to pick up 3 correct questions and 0 errors. Errors killed especially if you couldn’t be the first one standing a high percentage of the time.

The format of the tournament was as follows. We had 10 preliminary rounds. The three teams that had the most points at the end of the preliminary rounds went to the championship round, and the bottom three went to the consolation tournament.

The Teams

Athens brought their middle school team that they bring every month. They were led by Daniel Zimpfer who was the 6th overall quizzer and Austin Johnson. They missed Zach Homentowski and would end up in the consolation bracket.

Calvary (SC):
Calvary brought two teams to the tournament. Their first team was led by Tyler Ziemer, but their other 3 quizzers on the teams (Drew, Jacob, and Casey) all would have been the best quizzer on Georgia Tech. Tyler was the overall top quizzer of the day. Jacob was the 5th overall quizzer for the day. I didn’t know anything about Calvary coming into the day, but they were really impressive. They also brought an elementary team that was also very good. Father Zeimer kept giving me a hard time as his 8, 9, and 11 year olds beat up on the college guys over and over again. The high school team went into the championship bracket as the top scoring team. The elementary team went to the consolation bracket as the top scoring team there.

Eagles Landing:
Eagles Landing, the FQA Atlanta’s own, was once again led by Josh Ekstedt who was the fourth overall quizzer for the day. They qualified for the championship tournament as the 3rd seed. Let me give some dap to the Eagles Landing. They are a middle school team that has a good chance to make some noise in the NYC middle school tournament and FQA Ram’s finals. They are also, in my opinion, Georgia’s best chance of becoming a national power again in the next few years. Hopefully, I will be able to convince them to go to some tournaments this Spring.

Georgia Tech:
Georgia Tech was the lowest scoring team for the day and the only team without a top 6 quizzer. We were hurt by losing half of our team for the tournament this month so if you ever meet a Michael Ellis or Aaron Fowler, give them a hard time although I will say that they both had good excuses. Kenny Bradley and I, at times were able to hang on pretty well, and other times fell pretty flat.

Open Door:
Open Door, of FQA Florida division fame, brought one of what were clearly the two best teams of the day. They were led by the D’Amico duo, Alex and Grace, and were rounded out by four more solid quizzers. They were a cheap move away from being the top seed in the tournament, but instead finished 10 points behind Calvary’s first team but about 500 points ahead of everyone else.

The Tournament

I was in the consolation tournament. Georgia Tech and Calvary managed to get by Athens, but Georgia Tech was left with a loss. In the final quiz, Tech was ahead by 10 going into the last question, but a clutch answer by Westin Ziemer gave Calvary the win – they were clearly the best team in the consolation rounds.

In the championship quiz, Open Door and Calvary quickly dispatched Eagles Landing leaving the two dominant teams for the day in the matchup that we had all been waiting for. The first quiz was all that we had hoped for. The teams were neck and neck the entire quiz, and with neither teams star quizzers left in the quiz, Calvary grabbed question #20 and the tie breaker to win the quiz. The second quiz was never as close. Open Door fell behind with some early errors by their big two, and was never able to recover.

Overall, the day went better than I could have hoped for. I do have a new found respect for people like Mr. Bamford, Matt West, Mr. Wood, and others who direct tournaments because it’s a pretty difficult thing to pull off. Hopefully, we will be back next year with the second ever Peach State Invitational with some of the same quacky rules and maybe some modifications.

And a personal note to Alex D’Amico. Two things – I thought I’d let everyone know that we are going to win the IDS next year (sorry Abby and Annabelle). That’s the good news. The bad news is that I’m going to try to get GT to go to the FQA finals, and we could be much improved – although I’m not quite ready to predict victory there.

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