Speech and debate travels across the U.S. collecting bids

November 22, 2019 — by Anouk Yeh and Harshini Velchamy

In recent weeks, members of the speech and debate team have qualified for national tournaments by competing at events across the country.

On Nov. 11, the public forum team of seniors Ashwin Ramakrishna and Siva Sambasivam went to The Minneapple Debate Tournament in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

There, they competed against 145 teams across the nation and placed fourth, earning themselves a bid to go to the Gold Tournament of Champions (TOC). Competitors need at least two bids to qualify for TOC and this was Ramakrishna and Sambasivam’s second bid. Freshman Arnav Garg, a Lincoln Douglas debater, also went to the tournament but didn't break to elimination rounds. Even so Garg saw many benefits from going to the tournament.

“Although I didn't win as many rounds as I was expecting, I still learned a lot about the debate community outside of California,” Garg said. "I had the opportunity to see a variety of debate styles from around the country and how to execute the best strategies that are being used by the best debaters around the U.S.”

On Nov. 14, three members of the speech team flew to Las Vegas to compete at the Golden Desert Speech and Debate National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) Qualifiers. 

At the Golden Desert tournament, sophomore Anouk Yeh placed sixth in Program Oral Interpretation, earning a bid for NIETOC. Competitors need at least two bids to qualify for NIETOC.

After the successful travel tournaments, the team closed out the two weeks with the Coast Forensic League (CFL) speech tournament on Nov. 17.

At CFL, sophomores Joann Zhang and Kai Doemling placed 11th in Duo Interpretation, sophomore Harshini Velchamy placed 14th in Original Oratory, and junior Audrey Lee placed 15th in National Extemporaneous Speaking. 

Looking to second semester, team president Adhit Sankaran is optimistic about the club’s chances of improving in the competitive season.

“The year is off to a great start,” Sankaran said, “and the club looks forward to an even more successful competitive season”.

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