Penn State Invitational in the works

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Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby ILikePie123 » August 7th, 2017, 1:59 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm posting on behalf of a group of Science Olympiad alumni at Penn State who are trying to organize an invitational at the University Park campus. Though we are committed to making the invitational happen, we currently lack the numbers to truly carry out an event of this scale. Any help from fellow Science Olympiad alumni or interested students at Penn State is greatly appreciated. Right now, we are mainly working on finding a faculty adviser, recruiting volunteers and finding appropriate facilities on campus. We would also appreciate any advice from people who have experience running invitationals, especially starting new invitationals.

Thanks so much!

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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby maxxxxx » August 7th, 2017, 3:20 pm

Would this be division B, C, or both? If you hadn't decided yet I would recommend division B because there aren't that many options for B division in the area, but there are a lot of C division invites already. Of course doing one for both would be optimal but pretty difficult for the first year.
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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby ILikePie123 » August 7th, 2017, 6:42 pm

Thanks for the advice! Right now, we're thinking of Division C since most of our experience is in Division C Science Olympiad. Also, we're not sure if there would be a lot of interest in a Division B invitational. However, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong! :) Have you run a Division B invitational before? And how different is it from Divison C?

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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » August 7th, 2017, 7:29 pm

On the one hand, there are a lot of C invites in the PA area, and not as many B invites, so the demand is there. However, Penn State is outside of the Philly area, where most of the invites are, and there might be three B invites this coming year (Rustin, Little Tiger, Garnet Valley). If this was last year, I'd recommend a B invite more strongly, but if you're more confident in the C events, that might be the better one to go with for a first go-round.

I do recommend, if you do host this, to advertise it to the Northwest (and to an extent, Southwest) regions of PA. NW tends to be the least served region of PA, and having even just one of those teams attend a regional that's close-ish to them would be really good. I also really recommend, regardless if you get to host an invite this year or not, to help out at these regionals; I would be fairly sure they could use the assistance.
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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby ILikePie123 » August 9th, 2017, 3:26 pm

Thanks for all the helpful advice! Currently, we are trying to zero in on a date, but it's been tough because other invitationals conflict with nearly all of our potential dates. Would you guys prefer January 13 (Battle of Valley Forge), January 20 (MIT), January 27 (North Poconos) or February 13 (UPenn)? Personally, I prefer 1/27, though the concern there is that North Poconos is an established invitational that might draw many teams in the area.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby ILikePie123 » August 9th, 2017, 3:28 pm

Also, what do you think of having an early invitational? (Say, on December 16) It's far from optimal, but we might have to move it to Penn State's winter break to get the facilities we'd need.

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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » August 9th, 2017, 3:41 pm

Thanks for all the helpful advice! Currently, we are trying to zero in on a date, but it's been tough because other invitationals conflict with nearly all of our potential dates. Would you guys prefer January 13 (Battle of Valley Forge), January 20 (MIT), January 27 (North Poconos) or February 13 (UPenn)? Personally, I prefer 1/27, though the concern there is that North Poconos is an established invitational that might draw many teams in the area.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!
North Pocono is a fairly new invitational, so they draw a lot of teams from the NE region, but didn't from other regions last year; however, there's a chance they may draw more in their second year. The other invitational of note that day is Centerville, which is the spiritual successor to Wright State, which regularly attracts a lot of top teams.

Regardless of what day you select, as a first-year invitational you might find it tough to attract elite-tier teams. UPenn and Valley Forge will likely take the top teams from SE PA, and Centerville will take most of the top teams from Ohio. If you're looking to attract a middle tier of teams, 1/20 might be your best bet, although 1/27 could work if you focus on teams in the northwest, southwest, and central regions of the state.
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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby maxxxxx » August 9th, 2017, 5:38 pm

Also, what do you think of having an early invitational? (Say, on December 16) It's far from optimal, but we might have to move it to Penn State's winter break to get the facilities we'd need.
I think December is fine, especially since there are so many more Invitationals in the PA area in Jan/Feb. This way you can attract some teams that would normally be going to those other comps(mostly SEPA teams and some possible NY teams). The only concern is that newer teams might not be competition-ready in December, which could discourage them.

My team went to the Islip Invitational on December 10th this past year and it didn't feel me like it was too early, but we were definitely far from our peak so it wasn't the same kind of competition you would see in February.

TX and GA have much earlier invites too, so I'll leave it to someone from those states to comment on how early dates affect the competitions.
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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby Unome » August 9th, 2017, 5:50 pm

Also, what do you think of having an early invitational? (Say, on December 16) It's far from optimal, but we might have to move it to Penn State's winter break to get the facilities we'd need.
I think December is fine, especially since there are so many more Invitationals in the PA area in Jan/Feb. This way you can attract some teams that would normally be going to those other comps(mostly SEPA teams and some possible NY teams). The only concern is that newer teams might not be competition-ready in December, which could discourage them.

My team went to the Islip Invitational on December 10th this past year and it didn't feel me like it was too early, but we were definitely far from our peak so it wasn't the same kind of competition you would see in February.

TX and GA have much earlier invites too, so I'll leave it to someone from those states to comment on how early dates affect the competitions.
Depends on team circumstances and local culture (especially local culture). For us, October is early because Captains Tryouts deadline is after that. November is fine, although first week is pushing it. The main reasons we have so many early invites is because 1) regionals and state are pretty early, 2) all of our tournaments are single-division and few will conflict with a tournament in the other division, and 3) people just generally don't seem to like back-to-back tournaments very much (unlike, say, Ohio).
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Re: Penn State Invitational in the works

Postby ILikePie123 » August 9th, 2017, 6:01 pm

While I personally have no issue with December 16, the main problem is that most Penn State students leave campus after finals, which would greatly reduce our possible volunteer base. In Pennsylvania, early January is considered the beginning of invitational season since our regionals are in early March, so I don't think the situation here is too similar to that of Georgia or Texas. I know Lower Merion would be willing to go to December invitational, but other schools I've asked don't seem too excited. Either way, we'll lose some teams and I'd be happy if we got at least 30. Based on East Stroudsburg's advice, we've set our tentative date at 1/20.

For those of you who have experience with college invites, is it difficult booking space on the weekends when most students and faculty are still on campus? I have several buildings staked out, but I'm not sure whether or not we'll be able to use them.


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