|High scorer||Kevin Malis, Stevenson|
The 2011 PACE NSC took place on June 4-5 at Northwestern University with 60 teams participating. State College defeated Hunter in a one-game final, with Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy and Stevenson taking third and fourth, respectively. The tournament's top individual scorer was Kevin Malis from Stevenson.
The 60 teams teams were split into 10 preliminary brackets, intended to be of roughly equivalent strength. Preliminary results can be found here. The top two teams from each of the preliminary brackets advanced to the playoffs; the third place teams from each bracket were involved in a play-in tournament for wild card bids in the top playoff brackets.
Teams that advanced to the top level of the playoffs from the preliminary rounds were: Thomas Jefferson A and Seven Lakes from the Arcturus bracket; Adlai Stevenson and Dorman B from the Deneb bracket; Maggie Walker and Olmsted Falls from the Formalhaut bracket; Richard Montgomery and Alpharetta from the Betelgeuse bracket; LASA and Thomas Jefferson B from the Rigel bracket; Detroit Catholic Central A and Auburn from the Hadar bracket; State College and Northmont A from the Sirius bracket; Dorman A and St. Ignatius from the Vega bracket; Hunter College A and Dunbar A from the Procyon bracket; and Bellarmine and the Sidney Lanier Experience from the Canopus bracket.
Wild Card Rounds
The 10 teams that placed third in their preliminary brackets took part in a elimination playoff for four spots in the top tier of the playoff brackets. The teams involves were: Cistercian, Hunter B, IMSA, Mission San Jose, New Trier, Oak Park River Forest, St. Anselm's, Torrey Pines, Walnut Hills, and Walter Johnson. St. Anselm's and Oak Park River Forest received byes into the second round of the mini-playoff.
The first round saw Walter Johnson defeat New Trier, Cistercian defeat Hunter B, Torrey Pines defeat Walnut Hills, and Mission San Jose defeat IMSA. Torrey Pines and Mission San Jose advanced to the top bracket of the superplayoffs.
Walter Johnson advanced to play, and were eliminated by, St. Anselm's. Cistercian advanced to face Oak Park River Forest; Oak Park River Forest was defeated by Cistercian. Cistercian and St. Anselm's advanced to the top superplayoff brackets.
The 24 remaining teams in championship contention were broke into four brackets of six. The top two teams from each of these brackets advanced to the top superplayoff bracket, which would order these eight teams first through eighth. Stats for the playoffs are here.
In the Fields bracket, Stevenson advanced by going undefeated in five matches while Bellarmine defeated Dorman A and the Sidney Lanier Experience in consecutive rounds to clinch a 4-1 record and the group's second bid to the superplayoffs.
The Clark bracket had Maggie Walker go undefeated to clinch a spot in the superplayoffs, doing so with the largest margin of victory for this stage of the tournament at 310 points per game. The second spot went to St. Ignatius, whose only playoff loss was to Maggie Walker in the final round of this stage.
The Akutagawa bracket had LASA finish 1st with a 4-1 record, with their only loss coming at the hands of Thomas Jefferson A. Rockford Auburn and St. Anselm were both 2-2 going into their final match; Auburn powered seven questions on their way to a 450-210 win to advance to the superplayoffs. Thomas Jefferson A (then 2-2) was eliminated from contention in the 5th round of the playoffs due to their loss to Alpharetta.
The fourth and final playoff bracket, Darvin-Wallace, saw State College go undefeated to clinch one of the group's superplayoff spots. Going into the final round, there were four 2-2 teams in this bracket: Hunter A, Dunbar A, Torrey Pines, and Thomas Jefferson B. These teams played each other in the fifth round of the playoffs, which saw Dunbar A beat Torrey Pines, 370-250, and Hunter A beat Thomas Jefferson B, 500-240. This lead to a tiebreaker between Hunter A and Dunbar A on a half packet, with Hunter winning 250-210.
The top eight teams - Adlai Stevenson, Auburn A, Bellarmine, Hunter A, LASA, Maggie Walker, State College, and St. Ignatius - played against each other to determine their final order.
The superplayoffs resulted in a tie between Hunter A and State College; both teams had records of 6-1. State College's loss came to LASA, while Hunter's loss was to State College. This resulted in a single game final, which was won by State College.
Two protests played a key role in the final order of the tournament's superplayoffs in two matches involving Bellarmine. A protest in Bellarmine vs. State College regarding a tossup with "Secretary of the Interior" as the answer line that was written that would allow for "Eleanor Roosevelt" (an answer given by State College) to be correct. Bellarmine protested that this answer should not be allowed; the protest was decided in State College's favor.
A more discussed protest was in the Bellarmine vs. Hunter match, due to its being revisited by the tournament's protest committee. This protest was initially decided in Bellarmine's favor, before it was reviewed and the decision was reversed to go in Hunter's favor. This caused the game to go from a Bellarmine win to a loss.
Had both protests been decided in Bellarmine's favor, the standings for the superplayoffs would have been changed to having Bellarmine, State College, Hunter, and LASA all tied at 5-2, necessitating a playoff. If only the protest for Bellarmine vs. Hunter was in Bellarmine's favor, State College would have been 6-1 with Hunter and LASA tied at 5-2.
Stats for the superplayoffs are found here.
The All Star Game featured a team of the top four individual scorers from the tournament facing the top four individual recipients of votes from players who were not among the first group.
The team of individual scorers were Kevin Malis of Adlai Stevenson, Ben Chametzky of Carbondale, Ben Carbery of Oak Park River Forest, and Andrew Deveau of St. Ignatius. All four members of this team were from high schools in Illinois.
The team voted into the All Star Game were Nikhil Desai of Bellarmine, Graham Moyer of State College, Benji Nguyen of LASA, and Tommy Casalaspi of Maggie Walker. All four members of this team were in Illinois that weekend.
The Desai/Moyer/Nguyen/Casalaspi team defeated the Malis/Chametzky/Carbery/Deveau team in the All Star Game.
This tournament consistently ran hours behind because the people in charge of it had no idea what they were doing. The first day began with what was referred to by several participants as the "Death March of Quizbowl" as staffers carrying all the tournament supplies wandered in a bedraggled line throughout the entire Northwestern campus for over half an hour before ending up right back where they were dropped off. The opening ceremonies were considerably delayed to accommodate one team's late arrival. At one point in the morning rounds, there was an inexplicable two and a half hour delay. Experimental attempts to use text messages to communicate with teams were also rather ineffective. See some discussion of the logistics here.
In part due to these organizational issues and the lackluster response by PACE leadership to them, the 2011 PACE coup took place shortly thereafter.