Speech and Debate team shows promise for upcoming season

January 3, 2011 — by Vijay Menon and Abhishek Venkataramana

After strong showings at the several past league tournaments on both the novice and varsity level, the Saratoga speech and debate team will get a chance to see whether its success in league tournaments can translate into success at some of the more competitive invitational tournaments, including James Logan on Jan. 14-16 and the Stanford Tournament on Feb. 12-14.

On Dec. 5, the team hosted the league’s final novice debate tournament at Saratoga High School. Saratoga sent ten teams in Public Forum. The teams of freshman Aria Hooman and Mustafa Rohaninejad and Aditya Choudary and Ajith Kosireddy went undefeated in the tournaments, all sporting a record of 3-0.

On Nov. 14, the team competed at the League Debate Tournament at Milpitas. While no teams went undefeated, the teams of junior Hansen Quian and freshman Aurash Jalalian and juniors Ruchie Bhardwaj & Parul Singh went 2-2 in Varsity Public Forum. In Parliamentary team, the teams of seniors Keerti Shukla and Karthik Annamalai, juniors Anoop Galivanche and Anshu Sirapurapu and sophomores Shauray Agrawal & Rohil Taggarsi all went 2-2. In JV Public Forum, freshman Kushal Haran & Parth Kejriwal went 3-1.

“It was a bit disappointing that we weren’t able to go undefeated and earn a bid to the State Qualifying Tournament,” said Annamalai, “but we’ll be able to make up for it in the next tournaments. We tend to perform a lot better at the invitational tournaments, at least in the Debate Events.”

The team was more successful in the Individual Events tournament on Nov. 13 at Leland High School. Ten students advanced to the semi-final rounds of their respective events, and four students made it to final rounds, earning bids to the State Qualifying Tournament in March. In Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, senior Vance Lindholm finished in fourth place, sophomore Ishaan Kolluri placed fifth and junior Michael Chen placed sixth. In Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, sophomore Neil Prasad placed fourth.

“We’ve been doing really well, especially in Extemporaneous Speaking, but there’s always room for improvement,” said Lindholm. “Since we’re in a pretty competitive league, I think we’ll be able to perform equally well, if not better, in the invitational tournaments.”

The team competed in its first invitational tournament of the year at Santa Clara University on Dec. 11-13; however, due to printing deadlines, the results could not be published.