2008 Tossup Only Macalester College Academic Tournament

Macalester College is pleased to announce that it is working with Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl to host the second annual Tossup Only Macalester College Academic Tournament (TOMCAT), a free high school quiz bowl tournament on Saturday, January 5, 2008. The top finishers (including the Top Small School) will qualify for the NAQT High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT) to be held Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.

This tournament is targeted at new(er) teams and less experienced players compared to most Twin Cities-area quiz bowl events. While we hope that the region's top teams will still be interested in coming and will find the competition worthwhile and educational, the questions used will be shorter and easier than at other events.


The tournament will be held in Olin-Rice Hall on the Macalester campus and surrounding buildings (depending on the size of the event). The initial meeting will be in the Smail Atrium. Since this event is being held on a weekend, teams may park anywhere labeled "parking" on the online map (PDF). Macalester also provides directions for getting to campus.

Buses should enter Macalester from St. Clair and then go north on Macalester street (the main entrance off St. Clair), go north, drop the kids off by Olin-Rice and then exit on Macalester all the way to Grand, go east on Grand, south on Snelling and west again on St. Clair and re-enter the campus near the ball fields. They can park along that drive by the ball fields.


Teams may check in between 8:30 and 9:00 on Saturday, January 5, in the Smail Atrium. At this time they will receive a copy of the rules, their schedule for the day, and other pertinent information about the tournament. Scratch paper for computation questions will be provided, but pencils will not be.

From 9:00 to 9:15 there will be an introductory meeting (also in the Smail Atrium) to go over the rules, format, and schedule. Coaches, players, and parents will have an opportunity to ask questions. Teams are also encouraged to ask questions in advance, over e-mail, to make the meeting go as smoothly as possible.

At 9:15, the rounds will begin. The exact schedule and number of rounds will vary with the number of registered teams, but we hope to give every team at least six rounds. Teams will have an hour for lunch and we aim to finish up between 1:00 and 2:00, again depending on the number of participating schools and the exact format chosen. A majority of teams (those that don't make the playoffs), should be able to leave before lunch.

Teams that have not arrived by five minutes after the start of the first match will begin forfeiting their games.

Question Style:

Games at this tournament will consist of 40 tossups with no bonuses or lightning rounds. The tossups will be shorter and easier than those at most NAQT events, but will cover the same breadth of topic areas as NAQT's regular sets. For those teams familiar with the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl league, they will be similar to the warm-up questions that comprise phase 1.

Eligibility and Qualification:

This tournament will be run according to NAQT's High School Eligibility Rules. Essentially, all high schools (public, private, magnet, charter, religious, etc.) are eligible to compete in this event and no prior qualification is necessary. Teams from home school collectives are also welcome. If you have a special situation, feel free to e-mail the eligibility committee in advance for a ruling.


The tournament will be staffed entirely by Macalester faculty, current players on the Macalester quiz bowl team, alumni/ae, collegiate players from other institutions, and community volunteers. Coaches will not be required to assist with the running of the tournament and will be able to watch their team(s) throughout the event.


The format of the tournament will be determined by the number of teams that register, but all participants are guaranteed at least six games.

The format for the (64-team) 2007 tournament was six rounds of Swiss-paired matches followed by single-elimination playoffs for the top 16 teams.


Please e-mail R. Robert Hentzel if you are interested in attending or in receiving updates on the tournament.

Schools are encouraged to send multiple teams, though registration is currently being limited to two teams per school to make sure as many schools as possible are able to attend. That cap may be lifted as the tournament draws nearer.

There is no registration fee; Macalester College has been a generous sponsor of quiz bowl in Minnesota (especially the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl league and is covering all of the costs associated with the tournament. Since there is no registration fee, there is no discount for bringing a lockout system ("buzzer"), but we hope that teams with their own systems will still bring them.

Participating schools will receive a complete copy of the questions used at the event for use in next year's practices. Please note that the questions will not be distributed until the conclusion of the tournament; teams that opt to leave early may pay ($5) to have their sets shipped to them.


The top four teams overall will receive team trophies and the members of the winning team will receive individual trophies. The top team from a small public school (with non-selective admission policy and 500 or fewer total students in grades 10-12) will receive a trophy. The top eight individual scorers will receive All-Star awards as will the top freshman and sophomore scorers.

Question Security:

This tournament will use questions provided by National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC. We are using a custom set not generally available for purchase. Teams from Minnesota or surrounding states will not have had a chance to hear these questions at any event; teams from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, or California may have heard them (and should check with the tournament director to verify their eligibility). It is the responsibility of participating teams to make sure that they have not attended (and do not plan to attend) another tournament anywhere in the country that is using the same packet set. If you have questions about whether or not you have plans to do so, please don't hesitate to contact NAQT.

Preparing for the Tournament:

Teams that are completely new to NAQT may be interested in purchasing NAQT's deeply discounted New High School Package and in reading its online article about starting a new high school team.

Teams may also be interested in checking out the free You Gotta Know articles that give brief overviews of answers that come up very frequently (for example, "You gotta know these French kings."). They may also be interested in frequency list study guides, which were NAQT's best-selling preparatory material last year.

Further Questions:

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact R. Robert Hentzel by e-mail or phone (952.888.2277).

Created 2007 October 6 by R. Robert Hentzel