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Debate Shines at Invitational


Bishop O’Dowd High School debaters endured three exceptionally long days of competition last weekend, with nearly 1,700 other students representing 103 schools, at the Dempsey Cronin Speech and Debate Invitational held at Santa Clara University. The novice public forum division was exceptionally large (152 teams) and the cut to elimination rounds just as harsh (16 teams advanced after 5 rounds of preliminary competition). O’Dowd advanced three of its five teams to the field of 16, with two teams not qualifying on speaker point tiebreakers. In the end, the team of Bella Ibarra and Robert Thomas brought home 3rd place honors, losing a close semifinal round to The Nueva School on a 2-1 decision. The debate resolution for public forum debaters was: Resolved: The United States should require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers of ownership. Here are details for public forum debate, novice and varsity divisions:

VARSITY PUBLIC FORUM (128 teams) – first cut to a field of 32 teams

  1. Neel Dhar & Justin Shi (4-2) made the cut (lost to Monta Vista)

  2. Cas Grafagna & Logan Brockbank (4-2) missed the cut on speaker point tiebreaker

NOVICE PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE (152 teams) – first cut to field of 16 teams

  1. Bella Ibarra & Robert Thomas (5-0) – 3rd place winners

  2. Reese Ward & Emily Blake (4-1) – made the cut (lost in octafinals)

  3. Ahalya Sabaratnam & Bethel Kifle (4-1) – made the cut (lost in octafinals)

  4. Aasha Krishnan & Edward Keenan (4-1) – missed the cut on speaker point tiebreaker

  5. Sydney Ferris & Owen Burlingame (4-1) – missed the cut on speaker point tiebreaker

In parliamentary debate, novice debaters Paulina Harding and Gratia O’Rafferty took top honors, defeating Menlo-Atherton in the final round on a 3-0 decision. These ninth graders advanced through four elimination rounds before achieving 1st place. Paulina Harding was also recognized at the awards ceremony for earning 2nd place speaker from a field of 178 other students in the same division. Michael Jayasuriya & Shawn Schulz attained a winning record (4-2) in the varsity division (100 teams) but missed the cut to 32 teams on speaker point tiebreaker.

Congratulations to all our fine students who participated in this tournament event at Santa Clara University.

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