Speech and debate competes at Stanford

February 12, 2009 — by Abhishek Venkataramana and Saniha Shankar

As the speech and debate season comes to a close with only two tournaments left before the State Qualifying Tournament in early March, the team competed at the prestigious Stanford University Tournament on Feb. 6-9, squared off with hundreds of the nation’s best debaters and speakers.

In Varsity Parliamentary Debate, five teams from Saratoga High competed. Two teams of sophomores Abhishek Venkataramana and Vijay Menon and seniors Connie Shang and Adeeti Aggarwal advanced past elimination rounds.

In Individual Events, sophomore Vance Lindholm advanced to semi-finals in Impromptu and Extemporaneous speech. Freshman Michael Chen also advanced to semi-finals in Extemporaneous speech.

In Student Congress, freshman Anoop Galivanche, sophomore Keerti Shukla, and juniors Varun Parmar and Saniha Shankar broke to finals in Congress. Parmar placed fifth.

The team was proud of the results, especially since this tournament is one of the “hardest tournaments of the year.”

“I think we did a great job this year,” said team captain Farid Jiandani, “especially considering the fact that a lot of the competitors are from the nation’s top teams.”

Before Stanford, the team competed at the Novice League debate tournament at Prospect High School on Feb. 1. The whole team went undefeated during the tournament. Freshmen Sankash Shankar and Vineet Jain, Galivanche and Vishal Goel, Hansen Qian and Walter Shiang all went 3-0 in their debate rounds.

“It was great to see our whole team do so well,” said head coach Erick Rector, “especially since it was the first time competing for one of our teams.”

The League’s Winter Individual Events competition was held the day before at Evergreen High School on Jan. 31. Although this was a smaller tournament than most others, the competition was stiff with a bid to the State Qualifying Tournament at stake. 14 students from Saratoga competed.

Shankar placed fourth in Impromptu speech, earning a bid to the State Qualifying Tournament. Lindholm, Galivanche and Chen advanced to semi-finals for Extemporaneous speech. Sophomore David Mandell advanced to semi-finals in Humorous Interpretation.

“The competition was really intense because almost all of the people at the competition were really good at what they did,” said Jiandani. “We’re in the peak of the season and everyone is trying to do their best.”

With exceptional performance from the novice and varsity teams, the team is preparing to head for the State Qualifying Tournament right around the corner in March.

“We have definitely made a lot of progress this season,” said Jiandani. “All the work the team has put in will hopefully pay off during State Quals.”

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