Speech and debate shows promise for upcoming season

October 22, 2010 — by Vijay Menon and Abhishek Venkataramana

After weeks of practice and hard work, the speech and debate team kicked off its regular season with the novice Public Forum tournament at Presentation High on Oct. 10 and the fall league debate tournament at Leland High School on Oct. 17.

Ten teams from Saratoga competed at Leland in both varsity and JV Public Forum and Parliamentary. While no teams went undefeated, the tournament allowed debaters the opportunity to both get a sense for this year’s competition and find areas to improve upon, said the head coach, English teacher Erick Rector.

“This was just the first tournament of the year,” said Rector, “so there are definitely things we can still improve upon. However, I have already seen development, especially in some of the [novice debaters].”

Of the three teams that competed in varsity Parliamentary debate, the team of juniors Anoop Galivanche and Anshu Sirapurapu led the school with a 3-1 record and were just one win away from earning the team a bid to the State Qualifying Tournament. In Varsity Public Forum, the team of juniors Ruchi Bhardwaj and Parul Singh also went 3-1.

“I think we definitely have to potential to start closing out some of these league tournaments and winning bids,” said Rector. “Everyone’s coming out to practice, working hard, and we’re improving as a team.”

In spite of not fielding any undefeated squads, the team is still encouraged by the results and hopes to see sustained progress at the next league tournament.

In addition, on Oct. 10, six novice Public Forum teams competed at the Novice Public Forum Tournament at Presentation High School. The tournament presented first-year debaters with the opportunity to apply the skills they have been learning in a formal tournament setting, in preparation for the upcoming tournaments. No teams made it past the preliminary rounds.

“This tournament was more of a learning experience for the novices since this was their very first tournament of the year,” said Rector.

The team’s next tournament will be the League Congress Tournament at Palo Alto High School on Nov. 1, followed by the League Individual Events Tournament at Milpitas High School on Nov. 13.

“I’m excited for this season,” said Rector.“With the experience that we have from our veteran debaters and talent and hard work I see from our novices, I think we can do really well this season.”

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