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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Season nears end with the state qualifying tournament

As the end of the speech and debate season nears, freshman Varun Viswanath and seniors Supriya Khandekar, Sudeep Raj and Michael Ong qualified at the state qualifications tournament at Leland High School on March 2. However, no Saratoga High competitor qualified at the tournament on March 6 at Westmont High School.

Both Vishwanath and Khandekar placed high at the tournament, winning second and third in Oratorical Interpretation, respectively. Khandekar is also an alternate in Original Oratory, along with sophomore Mitali Shanbhag. Junior Jui Malwankar is the alternate in International Extemporaneous Speaking and  Raj and Ong qualified in Parliamentary Debate.

All the qualifiers will attend the state tournament at Vista Murietta High School in Murrieta, California, from April 17-19.

“We didn’t break in our sophomore or junior year, so it’s nice that we got a chance to break to states in speech and debate,” said Raj. “It means a lot because it allows us to try and make parliamentary a prominent event for the team.”

Due to  the prestige and difficulty of this tournament,  each participant worked hard to perfect their event. As an experienced orator who has participated in states for four consecutive years, Khandekar used the same techniques that have led her to victory in her previous years.

“I didn’t want to overdo practicing because I was afraid that I would eventually go into an autopilot mode, where I just blindly say my speech without thinking,” said Khandekar. “This risks my speech sounding fake, when I wanted it to sound more genuine.”

Although the state tournament is known to be one of the more difficult ones, the process of writing and finalizing the speeches remains the same.

“I’m basically going to say my speech over and over again,” Viswanath said. “I’ll also analyze every sentence and try to make each one sound better, so that it flows more like a story.”

Out of the approximately 30 students who attend state qualifications, only 14 competitors break through to semi-finals per speech event.

For debate events, each debater must win at least four out of five preliminary rounds. If they win all five, they qualify automatically. If they win four, they must win two more rounds before they can qualify.

All the students hope to compete at the National qualification tournament from March 20-22 at Bellarmine College Preparatory School, and eventually at the national tournament on June 14-19 in Dallas. The remainder of the team will continue to compete in local tournaments like the Santa Clara University Philalethic Invitational.

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