Just a week after the University of Kentucky’s Tournament of Champions, Northwestern University’s Extemporaneous Speaking TOC provides competitors with a back to back chance to make waves on the national circuit. Texas historically performs very well at the ETOC, and provides a large portion of the field, and 2017 was no exception. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the results of the ETOC, in part to make up for the cursory coverage of the UKTOC.
In the tournament’s break to quarterfinals after six rounds, in which 24 of the 60 competitors advanced, Texas was well represented. Even so, the tournament was not without upsets. TFA State Champion Sarah Lanier (Northland Christian), ranked 8th in the state points race, exited the field after prelims in a major upset, along with Uzair Alpial (Plano West), ranked 9th, as well as Evan Bewersdorf (Lindale), ranked 13th. The Texan competitors that made it to quarterfinals included Chance Walker (Jack C. Hays), currently unranked, Jackson Freeman (Westwood), ranked 7th, Elizabeth Khalilian (Plano West), ranked 6th and finalist at the UKTOC a week prior, Sandipan Nath (Plano West), ranked 13th, Spencer Buckner (Lake Travis), ranked 4th, Kate Fisher (Saint Mary’s), points race leader, Nikhil Ramaswamy (Plano West), ranked 3rd, and Juliet Ume-Ezeoke (Pflugerville), ranked 5th but exiting prelims as the 3rd seed and highest from Texas. While Walker, Freeman, and Khalilian each exited the tournament after quarters, Nath and Ramaswamy departed during two very competitive semifinals rooms.
In the finals round of the tournament, Texas extempers made up half of the field. Juliet Ume-Ezeoke (Pflugerville), in her first major national appearance since Harvard semifinals, placed 5th. Spencer Buckner (Lake Travis), polarized the judging panel with incendiary jokes and ultimately placed 4th. Kate Fisher (Saint Mary’s), just a sophomore, followed up her Harvard win with a 2nd-place finish, the best of any Texan competitor.
As always, congratulations to all who competed at the ETOC!
Given the ETOC’s Tier 1 status–the fourth of five such tournaments in a season–points will be awarded as follows:
Kate Fisher: 75 points
Spencer Buckner, Juliet Ume-Ezeoke: 60 points
Nikhil Ramaswamy, Sandipan Nath: 40 points
Elizabeth Khalilian, Chance Walker, Jackson Freeman: 20 points