Defending champions win fall speedball tournament


Photo taken by Lindsay Chu

Meredith Dullaghan and Jack Forcey

For the first time in three years, the fall speedball tournament returned to Poolesville High School, delivering a repeat winner in Spring 2022 champions, Average Joe’s Gymnasium. 

The gym was packed with students and staff alike who observed one of the largest tournaments in competition history. During the week of November 14-18, over 20 teams took to the court vying for the championship title, well oversubscribing the goal of a 16-team tournament as had been held in previous years. Spectators crowded the limited bleacher space and lined the edge of the court, all wanting to get a look at one of the most widely-discussed events of the year. From day one, the action was intense. 

“I originally didn’t have any interest in going to the games, but a friend convinced me to,” said sophomore Sanjana Shrivatsa. “I was sucked into the very first game and went to every one after that.”

Teams were made up of four boys and four girls from all grades and houses. Teams were also permitted to replace players who were absent through injury, illness, or vacation, provided they were cleared by the tournament’s promoters, the Student Government Association (SGA). 

As Friday beckoned and the tournament came down to its final day, four teams remained. Defending champions Average Joe’s Gymnasium faced the ironically-named We’ll Figure It Out, who figured out a way to defeat three strong opponents en route to the semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, the bright orange-clad team Meow took on dark horses Chill On Me, who had survived two late thrillers to advance to the final four.

In the first semi-final, Average Joe’s lived up to their lofty expectations, calmly dispatching their opponents. In the other game, Meow defeated Chill On Me. With the SGA providing commentary for each game and music through the gym’s intercom, the energy only increased as the two teams settled in for a five-minute break before the final.

The final kicked off with eight minutes on the board; three minutes longer than the five-minute games that formed the earlier stages. The atmosphere was befitting of the occasion; electric.

“So many people came to watch the game,” said Shrivatsa. “There was so much noise and the audience was so excited.”

Meow began the game strongly, scoring a stunning first goal to put Average Joe’s on the back foot. However, the champions fought back, converting twice in relatively quick succession to take the lead. A late penalty kick for Meow was saved by the Average Joe’s goalkeeper, and the game would end with that score. Average Joe’s took the crown, 2-1. 

With plans to host the traditional spring tournament once again, teams will be queuing up to take a shot at the now two-time champions, with significant bragging rights at stake.