The 2016-2017 Speech and Debate season wrapped up yesterday at the awards ceremony of the NSDA Nationals tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. For seniors in attendance, it marked their last tournament in high school debate, and for everyone a chance to prove the fruits of their labor during the ’16-’17 season. Texas, as usual, performed strongly in all events, but today we’ll focus on International and Domestic Extemp.
The IX pool at NSDA this year was incredibly stacked–filled with much of the extempers nationwide who attended and placed at tournaments like the MBA, TOCs, and others. Texas managed to send a good number of extempers into IX outrounds, including one into the finals. Panhandle region points race leader Morgan Byers (San Angelo Central), Jennifer Lin (Jasper), Danielle Maldonado (La Vernia), and UKTOC finalist Elizabeth Khalilian (Plano West) dropped in Octos–reaching the top 60 in the nation. Reaching Quarterfinals, or the top 30, was Uzair Alpial (Plano West), TFA FX State Champion Sarah Lanier (Northland Christian), Harvard Champion Kate Fisher (Saint Mary’s Hall), and ETOC finalist Juliet Ume-Ezeoke (Pflugerville). Needless to say, with so many heavy hitters on the state and national circuit dropping before semis, the tournament was full of upsets in the IX field. Reaching semifinals, however, and placing 10th overall was Spencer Buckner (Lake Travis), who came just six ranks short of the finals stage. Nikhil Ramaswamy (Plano West), former NSDA finalist, was fortunate enough to make the stage for the second year in a row, and ultimately placed 3rd–surpassing his 6th place finish in 2016.
While Texas’s presence in Domestic Extemp at Nationals was certainly smaller than in IX, arguably the largest upset of the entire extemp field took place in this field. Previous NSDA National Finalist Katherine Hu (Plano Senior), dropped in Octofinals, dashing her dreams of finaling two years in a row. She was joined in Octofinals by El Paso points race leader Ryan Solis (Eastwood), UKTOC Finalist Lekha Sunder (Houston Lamar), Ankur Bhagwath (Plano West), and Saskia Redford (Saint Mary’s Hall). Reaching Quarterfinals and beyond were two sophomores: Rene Otero (Hendrickson), who dropped after Quarters, and Jacqueline Wei (Jasper), who reached Semifinals and ultimately finished 8th in the nation.
With so many non-seniors from Texas advancing to outrounds at the national tournament, one can hope for and expect even better results next year in Fort Lauderdale.
Congratulations to all who qualified for the NSDA National Tournament in Extemp! For those who will be returning next year, we wish you the best of luck in advance and hope you’ll keep using The Extemper. For those graduating, keep in touch! The Texas extemp circuit is truly a special group of people, and is the source of many friendships.
Points Will be Allocated As Follows:
NSDA Nationals–Tier 1 National Tournament
National Top 3:
- Nikhil Ramaswamy — 75 Points
- Spencer Buckner — 40 Points
- Jacqueline Wei — 40 Points
- Juliet Ume-Ezeoke — 20 Points
- Kate Fisher — 20 Points
- Sarah Lanier — 20 Points
- Uzair Alpial — 20 Points
- Rene Otero — 20 Points
- Elizabeth Khalilian — 10 Points
- Danielle Maldonado — 10 Points
- Jennifer Lin — 10 Points
- Morgan Byers — 10 Points
- Saskia Redford — 10 Points
- Katherine Hu — 10 Points
- Ankur Bhagwath — 10 Points
- Lekha Sunder — 10 Points
- Ryan Solis — 10 Points