Over the weekend, 15 Harker students traveled to the University of Kentucky to compete in the 40th Tournament of Champions. The Tournament of Champions (TOC) is an elite national tournament that requires students to earn qualifying legs at national circuit invitational tournaments during the school year. With each preliminary round akin to an elimination round at a regular-season invitational, Harker students competed in Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas and Congressional Debate.
After seven preliminary rounds, four Harker Public Forum teams made it to the sweet 16 (octofinal) elimination round bracket. This is the first time in the Public Forum division that a school has made up 25 percent of the elimination round pool. Senior Ziad Jawadi and sophomore Reyhan Kader as well as sophomores Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma were eliminated in the round of 16. Juniors Rohan Bopardikar and Akshay Jagadeesh were the fifth seed going into elimination rounds and won their octofinal, however juniors Frederic Enea and Aakash Jagadeesh were the fourth seed and also won their octofinal round. This meant that Harker eliminated itself from the tournament with Enea and Jagadeesh advancing over their teammates to the semifinal round.
In the semifinal debate, Enea and Jagadeesh debated Ridge MP (New Jersey), a team that had been in finals of both the TOC and Grand Nationals in 2010. On a 2-1 decision, Enea and Jagadeesh advanced to the final round of competition. The final round, against a team from Lake Highland (Florida), ended in a 5-0 decision in favor of Harker.
This is the second time that Harker has won the Public Forum Tournament of Champions, with Kaavya Gowda ’09 and Kelsey Hilbrich ’10 winning in 2009. Harker is the first school in the history of the Public Forum division of the Tournament of Champions to win multiple championships.
The Harker Forensics Team thanked the entire Harker community in an email message. “In the final round of competition, Fred took a moment before his speech to thank all of the teachers, staff, and students at Harker and while you may not have been in Kentucky with us this weekend, the spirit of Harker helped propel these students to this historical level of success. Thank you!” wrote Carol Green, forensics teacher.