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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Speech and debate team successful at MLK Invitational

Over Martin Luther King Day weekend, several members of the speech and debate team made it to the elimination rounds of the large tournament held at James Logan High School.

Senior Supriya Khandekar placed first in varsity Oratorical Interpretation with a speech about a comedian with cerebral palsy, and freshman Kyle Wang placed sixth in varsity National Extemporaneous Speaking.

Senior Rohith Krishna was a semifinalist in varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate and senior Deepti Kannan and freshman Austin Wang were double octo-finalists. In varsity Parliamentary Debate, seniors Rohan Bhardwaj and Jerry Yang octo-finaled, and  seniors Sudeep Raj and Michael Ong and juniors Aakash Thumaty and Alex Li double octo-finaled.

But according to Kyle Wang, the success didn’t come easily. Not only was it a big tournament with as many as 182 competitors in a single event (Lincoln-Douglas Debate), but because a JV category wasn’t offered, underclassmen had to compete against older students.

“My goal coming in was, ideally, to break into quarterfinals and beyond, but I'm just trying to take things one round at a time,” Kyle Wang said. “I've been reading a lot more to prepare myself for this tournament in particular. I also gave two practice speeches the night before the tournament.”

While practicing individually is crucial, members also helped each other prepare for the tournament.

“I helped facilitate discussions on the topic at practice with the team in order to convey my ideas for arguments and hear others' ideas,” said Krishna. “Additionally, I helped organize practice rounds for competitors so they could get some experience debating the topic before the tournament.”

The sheer size of the tournament attracted speakers and debaters from all over the country, adding to the difficulty and thrill of the tournament.

“I love this tournament because of the variety of arguments that are read,” said Krishna. “I have debated people from Wyoming and Louisiana at [this tournament]. This diversity of competitors creates more interesting arguments that pop up throughout the tournament.”

The team will attend the Stanford on Feb. 6 and the Cal Invitational on Feb. 16, which are both larger tournaments with competitors coming from out of state. With all these different tactics and practice schedules in mind, the students plan to meet their goals at the next tournament.

“I think the group we have this year is one of the most talented group of speech and debaters I have ever seen,” said Krishna. “You cannot control whether you win or lose each round. You can do your best and learn from your mistakes. If we do that, I am sure competitive success will follow.”

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