Debate Team Proceeds to ‘Tournament of Champions’

2 of Campolindo’s Debate teams, the 1st composed of senior Cathy Kenderski and junior Neha Ravikumar and the 2nd composed of senior April Mao and junior Ava Spalding, qualified for the national Tournament of Champions to take place on April 8-9.

Ravikumar said, “The main way we practice is by going to tournaments and by debating…at competitions because you’re constantly given criticism after each round, it’s really easy to use that as a way to build on what skills you need to work on.”

Mao said that teams qualify for nationals through cumulative points: “The way you get those points is by going to tournaments and ‘breaking’ AKA getting to elimination rounds, so depending on tournament size and what elimination round you get to, you get a certain amount of points that goes towards qualifying to nationals. The threshold for qualifying this year is 47 points which was raised from last year’s 42 points, so it’s been really hard for teams to qualify.”

Spalding said that the Tournament of Champions “usually has about the top 50 people in the nation and you all compete and end up going to finals.”

Practicing 2 times a week at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 pm, Ravikumar said the debate team’s coaches are very helpful for improving the students’ skills. “[They’re] students at [University of California] Berkeley who do debate there, and they’re probably some of the best coaches in the state. That’s really helpful because they can give you really targeted practice.”

Mao added that to prepare for nationals, the team does practice rounds and is “working on some case files or doing any sorts of drills that would help us.”

Ravikumar said, “this year we are going to work on the skills that we learned and hope that we do as well or better than last year.”