The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Debate Teams Finish Strong

By: Staff Writer Ella Chen

During the Martin Luther King Jr.  long weekend, members of MSJ Debate Club competed in both the Martin Luther King (MLK) tournament at James Logan High School and the Stanford National Invitational at Stanford University. MSJ Debate offers both Lincoln-Douglas (LD) Debate and Public Forum (PF) Debate, and contestants from both divisions attended both tournaments.

Three Varsity teams competed in PF Debate at James Logan High School.  The three teams were: Freshmen Lucas Huang and Apurv Prabhakar, Freshmen Keya Jonnalagadda and Enya Xing, and Freshmen Aarushi Gupta and Shreya Srinivasan. Both Huang and Prabhakar’s and Gupta and Srinivasan’s teams made it to the elimination rounds after six preliminary rounds. Regarding the team’s final standing at double octafinals, Head Coach Victor Rivas Umana said, “Despite not making it out of the first elimination round I was impressed with how well our freshman did as many had less than a year of experience and did well at this tournament. Having two teams in it this year that were freshmen was impressive as that just means we can only improve and move forward.”

At the Stanford Tournament, MSJ entered three Varsity PF teams, three Junior Varsity PF teams, seven Varsity LD debaters, and two Junior Varsity LD debaters. Of the three Varsity PF teams, two teams consisting of Juniors Max Wu and Keshav Kundassery and Sophomores Robert Chen and Devesh Kodnani, respectively, picked up bids to the Tournament of Champions, which is later on in the year. Neither team made it past quarterfinals, and both lost on split decisions between the three judges. Two of the three Junior Varsity PF teams went 3-2 in the preliminary rounds, not qualifying them to eliminations because the points awarded to each individual speaker were not high enough to make the cut. The remaining Junior Varsity PF team of Ella Chen and Surya Pugal made it past three elimination rounds to compete in semifinals. However, they lost to BC Academy from Vancouver, Canada in the semifinals.

Sophomore Lavanya Singh, Junior Prachit Bhike, and Senior Shivane Sabharwal made it to the elimination rounds for LD Debate at Stanford. All three picked up bids for the Tournament of Champions. Sabharwal ended the tournament as LD finalist.

On a whole, both coaches of MSJ Debate have expressed satisfaction for the progress of all the debaters and look forward to solidifying teams to compete in future tournaments for bids. Umana said, “As for Stanford I think the comments from other teams and coaches speak volumes about our program’s success. We were dominant in both varsity divisions of Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas. Our Junior Varsity debaters showed what our program’s futures hold and it’s extremely promising as no one in Public Forum went home with a losing record. We had breaks in both divisions of PF and LD.”

MSJ Debaters are competing in the National Qualifier Tournament and the league tournament following finals week.

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