The following article was a contribution by Groger Ranks member John John Groger.
On April 11, 24 teams participated in our online mirror of BLAST, one of the largest and most competitive online tournaments ever run for high school teams. While we had planned to host this mirror for some time, the cancellation of the remaining in-person mirrors made this the only chance for many teams to play the high-quality set. As a result, demand was higher than we ever could have foreseen and we were able to welcome many of the nation’s top-ranked teams, including 3 in the top 10, 8 in the top 25, and 17 in the top 50. The stats with finish order can be found here.
Richard Montgomery A (MD) came out on top after a long day of back-and-forth matches, culminating in a 25-point win over Strake Jesuit (TX) in the final. “Redwood City Scholars” (CA) finished third with a depleted team by defeating Georgetown Day (DC), which had the nation’s highest PPB on the set at 25.58. 3 separate tiebreakers involving RM, GDS, Strake, RCS, and Saratoga (CA) were necessary to determine who would play in the final because no team escaped their playoff bracket without a loss. As a liveblogger, I had a chance to watch some of the most exciting games, including two consecutive victories for RM over Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech A (VA) and Wayzata A (MN), both within 30 points, and an impressive prelims win over GDS by Belmont (MA), which rounded out the brutal championship bracket.
The tournament was also the premier of TangStats, an advanced stats system developed by Matthew Tang from University Lab High School. TangStats allows moderators to read and keep score in the same place while also automatically tracking buzzpoints and category statistics for individuals and teams. This eliminates the need for scorekeepers, which means fewer staffers are required to keep the tournament running at a reasonable pace.
Below are the players with the highest Buzz Point Area under the curve (BPA), a measure of both depth and breadth of buzzes, in each category:
Overall: Basil Sousounis, Acton-Boxborough
History: Louis Li, Ladue
Science: Stefan Calin, Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech A
Literature: William Orr, “Kaleidoscope”
Fine Arts: Karan Gurazada, “Redwood City Scholars”
RMPSS: Basil Sousounis, Acton-Boxborough
Other: Aayush Goodapaty, St. Mark’s School of Texas
While these kinds of statistics have been used at the college level, we hope TangStats will allow them to become more prevalent at high school tournaments, as they provide valuable information that can help players determine where they can improve and enable writers and editors to determine the convertibility of their questions in a tournament setting. Additionally, advanced stats make it easier for tournament directors to spot cheaters, a measure we believe will prove increasingly useful as the online tournament season continues.
As we said in our recent statement, there are currently no allegations of cheating against any teams who played at this tournament, and we are disappointed that we no longer feel we can include online tournaments in our rankings, but we remain committed to giving as many teams as possible a chance to play higher-difficulty questions. We want to sincerely thank the BLAST writing team for allowing us to use their questions and for providing most of the tournament’s staff, and to all of the teams that attended. We look forward to using the set again at tomorrow’s Illinois-only mirror!
John John Groger is a senior at The Miami Valley School in Dayton, Ohio.