Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

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Raleway
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Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

Post by Raleway » February 18th, 2019, 10:32 am

Having finished my last invitational of the season (and of HS), I think it's fitting to dedicate a post to the invitationals I've competed at and hopefully give recognition to the great ES's and people that made Science Olympiad great for me :)

Princeton University Science Olympiad:
My team has attended this invitational since its conception, and we've attended each subsequent iteration with little to no complaints each year. It brings exactly what it promises to bring and we love that registration fees are waived! It might not have the best teams each year or some bells/whistles that other invitationals have, but thank you so much to the amazing Board that brings together a smoothly run invitational and keeps us competitors happy. Special shoutout to Bernard who ran Boomilever this year and Unome who ran Geomapping this year. I truly think this is the best invitational out there since it delivers each time with no complaints from teams. Also Opus 21 was amazing :)

MIT Science Olympiad: We've attended this invitational twice in the past two years and it's always been hyped as Nationals 2.0. However, I feel that its confusing campus layout lends itself to much confusion. Most events run well with competent ES. Small complaints here and there, but nothing too major. Some mishaps do occur like with Game On and a really awkward though fun to read Fermi test. Tests, however, do generally follow Nationals quite well and the keynote speaker usually has some interesting stuff to say.

Science Olympiad at the University of Pennsylvania: I have the most issues with this invitational, stemming from each year and just mishandling of events at times. Codebusters and Wright Stuff were my biggest gripes this year although past years have had issues with awards timing and poor test quality and mismanagement of rooms for station events especially (Rocks and Minerals was atrocious last year). All in all, just not as well run as the other two mentioned before and this year was only made worth it due to the strength of teams attending.

Cornell University Science Olympiad: Generally good time at Cornell. Nothing amazing but nothing terrible. The awards ceremony was always nice since their amazing drum group performed! Did not attend this year but hope it was still there. Events ran normally and ES's were generally nice and wrote decent tests.

Overall: I would place my rankings for each invitational as Princeton, MIT, Cornell, SOUP. Unfortunately, we were not able to attend other notable invitationals (GGSO especially) but I hope other posts below can comment on the invitationals I missed and build upon my thoughts! Also hope the boards of all invitationals can read this thread to improve next year's competitions!

*Note: Each of these are my own opinions and do not represent anything other than that: my own opinions.
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Re: Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

Post by Unome » February 18th, 2019, 3:17 pm

I suspect MIT's perennially poor tournament map contributes to the confusion. I personally have never found it confusing, but then again in Div B I competed at places like Dodgen (which is basically built as though the architects were on drugs), Booth (like Dodgen but not as bad), and Chattahoochee (which I've been told is apparently confusing because every part of it looks the same). Thanks for the compliment on Geomaps. I was pretty happy with sections C and E in particular.
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Re: Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

Post by primitivepolonium » February 18th, 2019, 4:52 pm

Unome wrote:I suspect MIT's perennially poor tournament map contributes to the confusion.
MIT in general is a super confusing campus because everything is connected together, and then all the various event rooms are sprawled out over campus. The signage could be better and more thorough, though it gets taken down if it's put up before the morning of; the "hack" this year where someone replaced all the building numbers with fake "logical" building numbers didn't help at all.

I generally don't like ranking invites as entire entities. I've been on both the supervisor, organizing, and competition side, and each perspective yields different "rankings" that you can't really unsee after you've been through each of them. As a competitor, I would have been let down by MA States, but as an event supervisor, I loved the experience and found it extremely relaxing and fun.

Even then, your particular quirks and such influence really influence your overview. For instance, Mira Loma Invite was smoothly run, had good exams, and attracted some pretty good teams, but they also scheduled all 3 of my events in the same timeslot. That soured my experience a lot.

That said, differences in opinion aren't exactly "spicy".
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Re: Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

Post by Raleway » February 18th, 2019, 5:21 pm

primitive_polonium wrote: That said, differences in opinion aren't exactly "spicy".
That's why it's spicy-ish :^)

And I totally understand that it's hard to "rank" invitationals, but lots of teams have been to multiple invitationals and usually, there's a general consensus on which invitational was run well for each year. Thank you for your contributions in running each invitational that you're part of! Next year, I'll be joining Division D (bittersweetly) and I'll try to address what I've disliked throughout my time as a competitor :(
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Re: Reflection on Invitationals (Spicy-ish Takes)

Post by Unome » February 18th, 2019, 6:23 pm

primitive_polonium wrote:
Unome wrote:I generally don't like ranking invites as entire entities. I've been on both the supervisor, organizing, and competition side, and each perspective yields different "rankings" that you can't really unsee after you've been through each of them.
I very much concur on this. There's a lot going on that I couldn't judge a tournament in its entirety without feeling like I'm missing most of the picture.
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