Speech and Debate sent 32 competitors to the Jon Schamber Invitational at the University of the Pacific (UOP) from October 26 to 28. Both Open and Junior Varsity teams competed in various speech events and Public Forum (PF) debate.
Many competitors in Speech advanced to elimination rounds and won titles. Notably, Speech Captain Senior Samir Banerjee placed third in Open Triathlon and Open Humorous Interpretation (HI) and was a semifinalist in Open Original Prose and Poetry.
Juniors Krish Kothari and Alison Zhang placed first in Open Extemporaneous and Novice Extemporaneous, respectively. Zhang also made it to semifinals in Novice Impromptu.
Sophomore Tavish Mohanti placed fifth in Open HI. Juniors Tanushka Dewan and Lamia Haque placed fourth in Novice Duo, and Juniors Shraesht Chitkara and Ishaana Kodnani placed fifth in Open Duo. Sophomore Hasita Vemula placed sixth in Novice Dramatic Interpretation (DI).
Banerjee said, “We had a much smaller team this year, yet we cleared the house. The top two schools were schools that brought a hundred kids, so we performed fantastically.”
In debate, six Open PF Teams competed at UOP, and three of those teams cleared to the highly competitive elimination rounds. Sophomores Serena Mao and Sabrina Cai cleared to quarterfinals, earning a Silver bid to the Tournament of Champions.
Debate President Senior Maggie Zhao, Junior Rithvik Kopparapu, and Seniors Ishan Maunder and Apurv Prabhakar advanced to the finals round closing out the tournament and making this the third year that MSJ won the Open PF competition at UOP. Prabhakar also won the First Speaker award. Zhao said, “I’m really proud with how we did at UOP. I’m hoping next year we can continue this performance and maybe get more novices to participate.”
Both the Speech and Debate teams won a Gold bid to the Tournament of Champions. MSJ placed fourth in overall sweepstakes.
Prabhakar said, “I’m happy about how our incoming varsity members did. I have a lot of hope about how the rest of the year is going to go for them. And as for everyone else, I think Mission’s going to have a good year.”
Photo Courtesy Feature Editor Maggie Zhao