Best invitationals to attend

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Best invitationals to attend

Postby windu34 » May 19th, 2015, 5:25 pm

What invitationals are the best?
Perferably rated on:
Prestige of teams attending
Organization
Test difficulty/legit-ness
Time in the season
Other standards that I didn't think of
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby zyzzyva980 » May 20th, 2015, 12:01 am

This is a good question, because invitationals obviously are very important to successful teams, but it might be better to frame it based on your team's parameters.

You have to ask a few things about your team. First, what are the best invitationals in your area? How far can you realistically travel to go to an invite? For example, if you're a California team, you decide whether a trip all the way out to Wright State or MIT is really worth the money. That's expensive and that money might be better spent elsewhere. Of course, that's an extreme example. On a smaller level, teams in the Kansas City area rarely go to invites in the Wichita area, even though it's only about four hours away.

Each region has some elite invitationals that I'm sure will get mentioned below this post.

You also have to figure out what level of invitational is good for your team. Sure, if you're a perennial national powerhouse, this isn't an issue. But most teams aren't. If you're a team that's just starting out, it may not be a good idea to go to a really tough invitational (at least if there's another option around). Kids can get confused, frustrated, and demoralized. It might be better for them to go over those kinds of tests in a more relaxed practice setting than in the heat of competition. I've seen kids completely quit scioly because a test overwhelmed them.

Really, the best answer to the question is "all of them." Because in general, any invitational you can go to is going to be beneficial and will help you grow immensely as a student.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby Skink » May 20th, 2015, 4:36 am

I'd largely echo the sentiments above me. Above all else, location is critical. While by no means fact, it is heavily suspected that one ticket to team success is access to invitationals. This does not mean 'Travel halfway across the country.' for the vast majority of teams. I admit to being amused that Beckendorff traveled all the way to Wright State, but, for their level of competition, that's appropriate. Nearly all teams can't claim that. It's too costly, and the need just isn't there. Now, my region is full of invitationals, both B and C level. It wasn't always like that, of course; many of these tournaments only proliferated recently. This has been for the long-term benefit of the region at large.

Yes, there are varying levels of competitiveness. It's for this reason that we often see out here out-of-state competitive teams traveling to us. Hamilton (WI) makes an appearance on occasion, and Ladue (MO) has made a trip up here for a few years now. I understand why the latter feels the need to trek 5-6hr north. The competitive level of the Saint Louis region in general is not that hot (not to mention, invitational-free), and the same goes for southern Illinois just across the river. It's difficult to wait for the State tournament to get any kind of challenge, then. For those not aiming for top fifteen nationally, though, closer is better. It saves money and makes SO stronger locally.

I'll be interested in hearing commentary on issues pertaining to tournament weekend. Do you think that earlier is better? If you have a later Regional or State competition, does that change?

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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby watermydoing14 » May 20th, 2015, 1:55 pm

The invitational that our team goes to is generally about a month before regionals, which is early enough that we feel the need to start preparing well in advance but it's late enough that it gives us time to finish builds and such. I believe our regionals are relatively late, usually around March I think? So the invites in our area are generally January/February if I'm not mistaken
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby bernard » May 20th, 2015, 2:05 pm

watermydoing14 wrote:The invitational that our team goes to is generally about a month before regionals, which is early enough that we feel the need to start preparing well in advance but it's late enough that it gives us time to finish builds and such. I believe our regionals are relatively late, usually around March I think? So the invites in our area are generally January/February if I'm not mistaken

Our invitationals this year were on December 06, 2014, and February 07, 2015. There was another invitational in our state on January 17, 2015, that we didn't attend. Our regional tournament was March 07, 2015, a month after our last invitational, and the state tournament was April 18, 2015, almost a 6-weeks after the last regionals in Washington state.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby Unome » May 20th, 2015, 2:37 pm

Well, since everyone is posting this now: We went to three invites, 2 instate on November 15th and January 24th, and one in Tennessee on January 10th. Regionals was on February 14th for us and State was on March 21st.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby blakinator8 » May 20th, 2015, 7:13 pm

How many invites do your teams attend?
We went to 3 in-state and 2 out-of-state this year, more than any year in recent history.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby sciolyboy123 » May 20th, 2015, 7:33 pm

My school went to the exact same ones Unome's did.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby jkang » May 20th, 2015, 9:32 pm

For prestige of teams attending, I'd say the MIT Invitational has one of the highest draws. Several of the top 15 schools at nationals, such as Columbia, Seven Lakes, Acton-Boxborough, Fayetteville-Manlius, LASA, and Troy were in attendance. In addition, I'd say the various other Ivy League Invitationals (Cornell, Yale), along with Troy and Wright State seem to be as good in terms of participation from the nationally competitive schools.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby chalker » May 21st, 2015, 5:14 am

Might as well provide some links too: http://www.wright.edu/scienceolympiad/
We haven't announced the date for next year yet.

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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby Techsam » May 21st, 2015, 8:55 am

Rustin Invitational

I know this might be kinda self promoting, but the Rustin Invitational is a great invitational that focuses solely on B division. Its located in West Chester, PA. We had 3 teams who attended that went on to the national competition. Since I got to help run the invitational I would definitely say that it is well run and that the tests are also well written.

Like it has been said before, really all invitationals are great to attend. It gives your team the practice it needs to be prepared for regionals/states/nationals. Its sometimes more of geographic problem when it comes to what invitationals to attend since the cost of travel can outweigh the benefits.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby Unome » May 21st, 2015, 11:27 am

Just thought I might link tho the invitationals page on the wiki: it lists almost every/possibly every invitational from the previous year, with (very incomplete) results for some of them; this should give you a good idea of the invitationals near your location.
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Re: Best invitationals to attend

Postby fishman100 » May 21st, 2015, 5:03 pm

For anyone located in the Mid-Atlantic, Fairfax HS (VA) hosts an annual Division C invitational. This year was only its second year but teams from NC/MD/PA/DE (I think?) attended. It's a fairly laid back invite and the tests are good indicators of how much you've studied/need to study. In fact, the Dynamic Planet test was the second best DP test I've taken all year (Nats test was better but only because it had a greater emphasis on problem solving). I highly recommend it for anyone in the region!
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