Frequent meetings boost speech and debate performance December 2, 2009 — by Arnav Dugar Permalink The tournament on Nov. 14-15 at Milpitas High School was the first major debate tournament this year with around half of the students on the SHS team attending, debuting the the season for most of the team. A few have attended other tournaments earlier this year. The team performed well, but with room for improvement, according to the head speech and debate coach, Erick Rector. In the previous tournament at Leland High on Nov. 1, juniors Vance Lindholm and Vijay Menon broke to semifinals in extemporaneous, while Lindholm also made it to finals and won sixth place in the extemporaneous speech division. Junior David Mandel missed the final round by one point in the humorous interpretation category. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the nightly practice meetings the debaters have been attending two to three times a week since early October. According to Lindholm, the team has generally have been improving a lot during these practices held in the 300 wing. Several other debaters described how the parent committee’s organization as well as the coaches’ dedication to work with the students has made a major impact on the team’s performance. “The tournaments and sign ups are run very smoothly,” said sophomore Anshuman Siripurapu. “The parent volunteers are very organized.” Sophomore Vineet Jain described how the public forum coach, Cyrus Navabi, discusses each topic and then before each tournament talks with the teams one on one to improve their arguments. Sirpurapu also noted the same for the Congress coach, Varun Sivram. “Our coach is always there,” Sirpurapu said. “A lot of times we are not focused during practice, but he tries his best to keep us on track.” Bellarmine and Leland High Schools are performing very well at the tournements said Shukla but she thinks the SHS team can overcome the opposition. “The competition is tough but we can be tougher,” Shukla said.