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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Dissatisfied debaters: Tournament plagued with multiple mishaps from directors

At the tournament at James Logan High during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, members of the SHS speech and debate team was beset with a number of problems. Especially hard hit was the public forum team.

The largest problem happened when judges made a mistake with the official record of sophomores Justin Liu and Parth Kejriwal’s scores. They were supposed to have a score or 4-1, but because the judges had marked the wrong team as the winner during their second round, one extra loss was recorded for them.

As a result of this error, the pair was unable to achieve a “break.” Breaking occurs when a team gets high enough of a score to advance the further round.

Even worse, if Liu and Kejiriwal had their score properly recorded as 4-1, they would have had the chance to obtain a bid to the Tournament of Champions, a national debate tournament.

“I feel like this [mistake] ruined our chances of breaking and we checked the people who did, and we would have broken if [the tournament directors] didn’t make the mistake,” Liu said. “We were pretty surprised and pretty angry at the committee when we saw the results online.”

Despite losing the chance to win a bid to the Tournament of Champions, Liu’s spirits were not dampened by the mishap and is looking forward to achieving success in the Berkeley and Stanford tournaments in February. The Stanford tournament was on Feb. 11, but the story was not published in time to obtain the score. The Berkeley tournament will start on Feb. 18.

Another issue hurting the Logan tournament was a miscommunication involving who would attend. Since there is a limit to how many teams from each school are allowed to attend the tournament, an email was sent to the members of the speech and debate team, informing them about which teams will attend.

In such a large team as Saratoga’s, some teams were to be wait-listed.

Varsity member and sophomore Aurash Jalalian was on this list and unbeknownst to him, he was registered into the tournament. Since he was not informed of this change from the waiting list, he forfeited three rounds. He was upset due to the lack of communication.

Despite all the problems the speech and debate team still had some success. Four students got bids to the Tournament of Champions: senior Neil Prasad and junior Aneesa Mazumdar in International Extemporaneous and senior Ishaan Kolluri and sophomore Kushal Maheshwari in National Extemporaneous. A number of students also made it to the last four rounds of the tournament.

“The team themselves did well because individual students did better than expected in a number of categories, several teams made it to quarterfinals for their respective events, and some even went to semi-finals and finals,” speech and debate coach Erick Rector said.

Prasad placed third in international extemporaneous, an impromptu event where competitors must create a speech five to seven minutes long about a international topic.

There are still two more tournaments at which the team members can obtain bids to the Tournament of Champions, the Cal Invitational and Stanford Invitational.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to make up for the mistake in the next two tournaments and win a bid,” Liu said.

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