S&D team shines at Santa Clara Invitational

April 6, 2010 — by Abhi Venkataramana

The speech and debate team finished its last team tournament at Santa Clara University on March 28. The team’s months of training and practice seemed to pay off, as a total of 12 team members advanced past elimination round, many of whom did so for their first time this year.

In varsity Parliamentary debate, senior Rishabh Jethanandani and junior Karthik Annaamalai ended their stellar season in style, placing third overall as the tournament’s fourth seed after posting a preliminary record of 4-1.

“This tournament really meant a lot to me,” said Jethanandani, Parliamentary debate co-captain. “This was my last tournament of my career, and at every single tournament we’ve never managed to get past the first elimination round, but this time we finally did.”

In novice Parliamentary debate, the team of freshmen Shauray Aggarwal and Michael Zhang, went undefeated and advanced to the final round of the tournament as the No. 1 seed, where they lost a close 2-1 decision and placed second overall. This was the first tournament in which they advanced past elimination rounds.

“I was pretty proud of [Aggarwal] and [Zhang],” said Jethanandani. “They started off the season with a rough start, but they came in every week to practice and worked extremely hard, and now their work finally paid off.”

In varsity Public Forum debate, the team of Danielle Savage and Nicole Shadman, who won the novice division of the tournament last year, advanced to semi-finals and placed third. This performance marked the first time they advanced past preliminary rounds this season.

In novice Public Forum Debate, the teams of freshmen Fred Fayze and Ishaan Kolluri advanced to octafinals as the 11th seed and Neil Prasad and Paarth Shah advanced to quarter finals as the sixth seed. This was Prasad’s and Shah’s first time competing in Public Forum.

“I was really surprised that we did so well,” said Shah. “We only went to one practice and we didn’t do any research at all for this month’s topic. We just kind of did it for fun, to see how we would do as a team.”

The team also fared well in individual events. In varsity Extemporaneous Speech, sophomore Anoop Galivanche placed fifth. In Humorous Interpretation, junior David Mandell placed second. Freshman Venkat Munukutla placed fifth in novice Persuasive Speech.

While this was the last official tournament for the whole team, there are two more special tournaments left. On April 3, juniors Vijay Menon and Abhishek Venkataramana competed at the California Cup at Lynbrook High School. The tournament was held for the top 16 teams in California and featured teams from all over the state. On April 16, sophomores Vishal Goel and Sankash Shankar and juniors Vance Lindholm and Menon will compete in the State Tournament held in Bakersfield.

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