Superregional

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Superregional

Post by jaggie34 » February 12th, 2020, 5:38 pm

Note: I originally posted this in "Your Daily Random Comment" but I decided to make a thread for it here as well.
Hi all,
I just thought of something while I was driving home today, so I wanted to see what people's opinions are.

The Superregional
I was thinking about how every year, great teams are unable to attend nationals because they live in a state that is very difficult to get out of with one dominant team (i.e. Southern California, Massachusetts, Minnesota) or one that has so many competitive teams that one or more is always left out (i.e. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas). I realized that a possible solution (albeit one that is highly unlikely to ever be implemented) is what I call the superregional. This would consist of one more tournament between state tournaments and national and would work similar to how teams are invited to states from regionals. Basically, every state would be assigned one of 10-12 regions and based on state results and the number of teams competing from each state, a certain amount of teams would move onto the superregional. Then, the top 5-6 teams from each superregional would get a bid to nationals. This would allow more of the top schools to reach nationals and hopefully provide a higher level of competition. Of course, this layout would have pros and cons. I have laid out some opposing points below:

Pros
1. More competitive national competitions - As at least one team per state is currently given a bid to nationals, states with less serious and/or competitive Science Olympiad programs are still always given a bid, no matter how competitive their top team is. An unfortunate example of this is just this past year's national tournament, where Vermont was given a bid, yet no team from the state came to nationals. While this is, of course, an extreme example, and there were likely factors other than how seriously the school took Science Olympiad, there are (arguably) many teams that attend nationals that are less competitive than teams that are unable to attend.
2. Encouraging small states to become more competitive - If teams from smaller states still want to attend nationals, they may be forced to become more competitive with teams from larger states in their superregion. For example, take Team A from state A, which has 40 registered teams. Team A always goes to nationals, as they dominate their state, but usually places somewhere in the 45-55 range. They are in a region with Team B and Team C, from state B with 200 registered teams. State B only has one bid, and Team B and Team C always goes to nationals, while the other is left behind. However, Team B and Team C place similarly at invitationals, and whichever ends up going to nationals generally place in the top 15. If superregionals were implemented, Team A would be pushed to be more competitive if they want to continue going to nationals, as now Team B and Team C will be able to attend.
3. Adding another competition/creating new rivals - While teams often have in-state rivals (i.e. WWPS/WWPN or Colombia/Ward/Fayetteville), it is less common for rivalries to for between schools from different states. A superregional would pit teams from closeby states directly against each other, which should create more rivalries. Additionally, it would provide another competition for teams to attend, and in my opinion, more competition = more fun!

Cons
1. Small states might give up - While I hope that the scenario in Pro #2 would play out, there is a chance that instead of continuing to fight for a bid to nationals, the top teams from small states might instead give up hope and become less competitive. This would harm Science Olympiad, as we always want as many people as possible to enjoy competing in the events we love so much (well maybe not in the case of Game On, but you get the point)
2. Hawaii and Alaska (a.k.a. travel) - Similarly to nationals, the superregional could travel around if necessary. However, the issue of extra travel comes up, especially for Alaska and Hawaii. Those winning bids to superregionals would have to take an additional plane ride of 5+ hours, which would be exhausting and difficult travel, especially for builds. The state champions already do travel to nationals, but adding another long flight could discourage the teams from these states from competing. To a lesser extent, this could apply to the continental US, but I think Hawaii and Alaska would be by far the most affected.
3. Uneven superregionals - it is impossible to create a system that would perfectly send the country's top 60 teams to nationals, so while a superregional might help, it would not completely solve the issue. Additionally, the sizes of the superregions would not line up perfectly, so more teams might be competing for the same number of bids in one superregion than another, creating a bit of an unfair advantage to teams in smaller superregions.

Examples
I've gone ahead and split states up into 10 theoretical superregions below (number of teams competing in parenthesis, from 2019 numbers):

Superregion A: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina (795)
Superregion B: North Carolina, Tennessee (828)
Superregion C: Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Ohio (735)
Superregion D: Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware (695)
Superregion E: New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts (852)
Superregion F: Michigan, Indiana (708)
Superregion G: Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (823)
Superregion H: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Northern California (772)
Superregion I: Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Missouri (730)
Superregion J: Southern California, Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado (834)

I'm sure there are many other ways to split the states, but this keeps the number of teams relatively similar and sort the states geographically at the same time.


I'd love to hear people's opinions on this idea, even as unlikely as it is to ever be implemented!
Last edited by jaggie34 on February 12th, 2020, 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Superregional

Post by amineral » February 12th, 2020, 5:56 pm

I could get behind this idea just because I know we aren't best in Indiana, but I feel we may be top 6 in Super regional F.

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Re: Superregional

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » February 12th, 2020, 5:56 pm

The concept of superregionals has come up before, and I do think it is beneficial to discuss it every so often, as new voices can have new insights. For reference, here are a couple past threads where similar ideas have been discussed (although there are probably parts of YDRC that are also relevant, but lost in its many pages).

Nationals Bid Discussion (2019; mostly centers around potentially adding bids)
New Road to Nats? (2017; most relevant to the concept of a super-regional)
Could Indiana Take 2 Teams to Nats (2016; more based on how bids are awarded)

But I do encourage you all to explore this discussion yourselves. It is good to get a "status update" so to speak on where the community stands every so often.
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Re: Superregional

Post by Name » February 12th, 2020, 6:04 pm

I feel that there's no good way to balance it. Each superregionals would basically have one or two states that takes every bid. Superregionals F in this scenario is likely just sending 6 MI teams to nats, superregionals B would prob end up sending really weak teams outside of the top 2 in NC, and E would just send Acton+top 5 NY teams. Obviously better teams will be at nats- but with very little diversity of states going.
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Re: Superregional

Post by hippo9 » February 12th, 2020, 6:07 pm

Name wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 6:04 pm
I feel that there's no good way to balance it. Each superregionals would basically have one or two states that takes every bid. Superregionals F in this scenario is likely just sending 6 MI teams to nats, superregionals B would prob end up sending really weak teams outside of the top 2 in NC, and E would just send Acton+top 5 NY teams. Obviously better teams will be at nats- but with very little diversity of states going.
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Re: Superregional

Post by jaggie34 » February 12th, 2020, 6:11 pm

Name wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 6:04 pm
I feel that there's no good way to balance it. Each superregionals would basically have one or two states that takes every bid. Superregionals F in this scenario is likely just sending 6 MI teams to nats, superregionals B would prob end up sending really weak teams outside of the top 2 in NC, and E would just send Acton+top 5 NY teams. Obviously better teams will be at nats- but with very little diversity of states going.
I agree, that would be another big issue. There are some areas it might serve well, but others that might suffer from it. I thought it was an interesting idea to consider nonetheless.
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Re: Superregional

Post by amineral » February 12th, 2020, 6:14 pm

Name wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 6:04 pm
I feel that there's no good way to balance it. Each superregionals would basically have one or two states that takes every bid. Superregionals F in this scenario is likely just sending 6 MI teams to nats, superregionals B would prob end up sending really weak teams outside of the top 2 in NC, and E would just send Acton+top 5 NY teams. Obviously better teams will be at nats- but with very little diversity of states going.
I do beg to pardon on F because Carmel is definitely top 6 and I think Munster is fringe top 6 for sure.

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Re: Superregional

Post by Umaroth » February 12th, 2020, 6:17 pm

I feel like this might be a good idea as a sort of second-chance bid at nats. One team per state, then the winner of each super regional. A downside I would see to that would be that states who host later like Ohio and Michigan would have to push their tournament dates up. Also that would only allow one team per super regional to advance, so some of those intensely competitive states like Ohio and Michigan would still only have two teams attending nats.
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Re: Superregional

Post by Name » February 12th, 2020, 6:21 pm

wait sorry guys i forgot indiana was relevant oops
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Re: Superregional

Post by JoeyC » February 12th, 2020, 6:46 pm

So our team just went out of state for the first time to the Brown Invitational, and we managed to beat all of the teams there except Acton-Boxborough and Syosset (and we probably could have beat Syosset if our connecting flight hadn't gotten cancelled and we were then able to get more than 15 minutes of sleep). For our first jaunt outside of Texas, against national-level teams and with a non-stacked, sleep deprived team, I feel this is definitely a testament to our strength.

However, with Texas C div only getting one bid now and Seven Lakes and other powerhouse schools existing, it's been hard for us to get to Nationals despite our team being at least on-par with quite a few national-level teams out there. I feel it's definitely possible soon for us to overtake SLHS, but the situation does, once again, raise the question of bid distributions.
Texas, along with some other states, have a disproportionate amount of bids to powerhouse teams, a problem that I feel is quite important to the quality of the competition.
(if our team were in another less competitive state, there's a good chance we would have been to nats some time ago)
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