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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Ong, Raj win 2nd place in parliamentary debate at state tournament

Seniors Michael Ong and Sudeep Raj won second place at the prestigious California State Speech and Debate tournament for parliamentary debate on April 20-21 at Vista Murrieta High School.

As the 2014-15 speech and debate season — as well as their high school debate careers — comes to an end, the two are proud of the hard work that they have put in.

The pair qualified to the state tournament this year for the first time, so they were especially surprised at how well they did, even though their record of 5-0 at the qualifying tournament boded well for them.

“I thought we would leave LA in the afternoon and be back in Saratoga by the evening,” said Ong. “But we continued to advance and eventually made finals.”

They lost their final round in a close 3-2 decision from a panel of five judges. A simple clarification of the word “extra” in one of their speeches would have won them the round.

Ong and Raj competed against the best of the state’s debaters.

There were only 48 teams in the entire state who qualified, and the elimination processes was tough, according to Raj.

“States wasn’t like most tournaments because it [was] more intense,” Raj said. “If you lose two rounds, you’re eliminated immediately.”

Throughout the last four years, Ong and Raj have developed their skills and managed to create a strong partnership after being paired last year. Parliamentary debate, which allows for only 20 minutes of preparation time before a round begins, has helped them improve their argumentation skills.

Given any assertion, Raj can “explain why you have never been more wrong and why you have never been more right.” Then, Ong can explain why that argument is more logical and accurate than any opposing statement.

“That is is how we win, and how we plan on winning in the future,” said Raj.

Although this was the last debate tournament for Raj and Ong as a team, Raj is continuing his preparation in order to participate in the National debate tournament for World Schools Style debate, which is similar to parliamentary debate, in Dallas.

After four years of participating in the speech and debate, both Raj and Ong plan on continuing the activity in college.

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