The Harker middle and upper school forensics team, 70 strong, traveled to a Stanford University tournament in mid-February and brought home awards in nearly every event entered. In dramatic interpretation, James Seifert, grade 12, collected third place honors.
In varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, Roshni Bhatnagar, grade 12, advanced to double-octafinals (top 32), and Chat Malladi, grade 11, earned the fourth place speaker award. Vikrum Sundar, grade 9, also posted a semifinal finish in junior varsity Lincoln-Douglas. In the world of public forum debate, the team of Kiran Arimilli and Neel Bhoopalam, both grade 10, and the team of Daryl Neubeiser and Ishan Taneja, both grade 11, reached double-octafinals (top 32) before being eliminated.
The following weekend, February 19-21, Harker had a stellar performance at the University of California, Berkeley tournament, finishing ninth out of some 210 schools from around the nation. A record 132 middle and upper school students traveled to Berkeley for the largest annual high school invitational tournament in the U.S.
Seifert again took a starring role in Harker’s performance, winning the championship in dramatic interpretation. Seifert was also the only student in the entire tournament who competed in three individual events and successfully advanced to elimination rounds in all three events, reaching octafinals (top 56) in humorous interpretation and semifinals (top 14) in original oratory.
“James’ biggest edge is all of his acting experience here at Harker,” said Jonathan Peele, director of individual events and congressional debate. “He also likes to take risks in the literature he chooses to perform – this year he’s doing ‘I am My Own Wife’ by Doug Wright – which really makes his performance stand out in competition.”
In public forum debate, two of Harker’s teams were invited to participate in a select round robin event hosted at the College Prep School in Oakland prior to the U.C. Berkeley Tournament. There, the team of Rohan Bopardikar and Akshay Jagadeesh, both grade 11, reached semifinals (top 4) while the team of Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma, both grade 10, were named co-champions of the tournament. In general competition at Berkeley, the team of Aakash Jagadeesh, grade 11 and Justine Liu, grade 12, reached octafinals (top 16), earning a Tournament of Champions bid. Bopardikar and Akshay Jagadeesh advanced yet again, this time falling in triple-octafinals (top 64).
In varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, Bhatnagar reached quarterfinals (top 8) out of 380 students in the competition. For doing so, Bhatnagar received her second bid to, and is now fully qualified for, the Tournament of Champions this May. Malladi also advanced to elimination rounds in varsity Lincoln-Douglas, reaching triple-octafinals (top 64). In the junior varsity division, Raymond Xu, grade 9, concluded preliminary rounds as the undefeated top seed, proceeding on to octafinals (top 16) before being eliminated. Sachin Vadodaria, grade 9, joined Xu in JV Lincoln-Douglas elimination rounds, reaching double-octafinals (top 32) and earning the fourth-place speaker award.
In congressional debate, Murali Joshi, grade 11, Michael Tsai, grade 12 and Warren Zhang, grade 10, advanced to the semifinals (top 70), and all earned bids to the Tournament of Champions. Kathir Sundarraj, grade 10, climbed still further, reaching congressional debate finals (top 20). Jacob Hoffman, grade 10, received the gavel for best presiding officer in his preliminary chamber.
This weekend Harker takes a break from competition to play host to our friends from around the region at the Howard and Diana Nichols Invitational. Go Eagle Forensics!