The Blue Ridge Invitational

I was given the privilege of quizmastering at the recent Blue Ridge Invitational in Asheville, NC. It was a surprisingly good tournament with a nice array of teams. I have not been in a few years and it was my first time to quizmaster at the event. Because I was quizmastering, I was unable to get a thorough evaluation of everything, but I was able to get a unique view on the event.

Now, first there were 20 high school teams at the event. There were also at least 10 middle school teams, and since I have been a quizmaster of mostly middle school teams before this event (at Athens and Woodside), I did notice that there were some solid teams in that division, but my analysis will remain with the high school teams.

As far as I know, fifteen of the teams came from the Carolinas. There were two teams from Florida, two teams from Pleasant View in Kentucky, and my ride was with Athens. I don’t think that overall this tournament has teams as strong as the teams from NYC or CI, but the teams are just as competitive with each other and are working very hard.

I thought Athens showed some improvement since I saw them last. Pleasant View and Faith (SC) had “B” teams that were very solid. Temple and Calvary (SC) finished stronger than I might have thought. One glaring strange fact was that freshman Tyler Zeimer, who possibly raises the Calvary (SC) team to the next level quizzed on their middle school team. It paid off in that they won, but I think they could have made some noise at the high school level with him.

In the end, however, I felt from the beginning of the day, there were only four teams that had a real shot to win the tournament. I will examine these four teams.

The first team is the team that has impressed me the most at both Colorado and in North Carolina. Open Door. They only had three quizzers, but Grace and Alex are a tremendous 1-2 punch. In my room, they were bar none the best team I saw at both tournaments. I am trying to steal Grace D’Amico from Matt West for the Independence Day Spectacular. She may be the only quizzer who could lure me out of my quizzing retirement.

The second team was the second most impressive team to me. Pleasant View. Now, for this tournament, they put just their top three quizzers on their “A” team. This made their top quizzers perform, and so for the first time all year, Autumn excelled. She was the highest quizzer of the day, and from what I saw, everyone else better look out at SCQANIT and AACS.

The third team was Calvary (FL). This team is tough to figure. They seem to get 140 unimpressive points in every quiz. They never excel too much and they never slack. They are right in the meaty part of the curve. The earn points for consistency, but if you were introducing Bible Quiz to a new African tribe, they probably would not be Exhibit A.

The final team with a legitimate shot was Faith (SC). They always seem to hang around, but they are wildly inconsistent. One quiz in my room, they dominated with 220 points. Then the very next quiz, they had 70 points. You just can’t seem to get a read on them.

Understandably, these four teams made the top 4. Calvary, inexplicably, was the second team without a loss, rather than Open Door. I think they had 140 point like four quizzes in a row. They got a middle win every time. They never high won, but they never lost either. One-by-one, each of the three other teams lost.

Open Door lost because Alex did not know that dogs return to their vomit (I guess he’s never had a pet). Pleasant View lost because Autumn and Aaron both had a mediocre quiz together and with only three quizzers, they needed just a couple more. Faith lost because they made 7 errors.

So the final two were set. Calvary (FL) without a loss and Pleasant View with a loss. Pleasant View missed the first two questions, three of the first five and just couldn’t keep away from errors. In a two-team quiz, errors will kill you and Calvary (FL) won.

So, who is the best? Well, some will still say Pleasant View. I am most impressed by Open Door. But Calvary (FL) has steadily improved this year and if they can beat FBCCF at state, they will do well at Nationals. Pleasant View is always a threat and with a team of five, they cannot help but improve. It sure will be interesting, as we approach the home stretch.

See you in “DC” (which is actually in New Jersey) or in Greenville at SCQANIT or AACS. This should be an exciting conclusion to the quiz year. And if Grace agree to be amazing on my team, you may get to see me quiz at the Independence Day Spectacular.

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