Harker’s forensics team had a number of top finishes in March, both locally and nationally. At the California Coast National Forensics League Qualifier, Harker took third place in overall sweepstakes and second place in debate sweepstakes. Aakash and Akshay Jagadeesh, both grade 12, as well as Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma, both grade 11, qualified to the NFL National Tournament in Indiana in June. In Duo Interpretation, the team of grade 9 students Madhu Nori and Nephele Troullinos earned fourth place, coming ever so close to pulling off the rare feat of qualifying to nationals as freshmen.
In Humorous Interpretation, Andy Wang, grade 10, earned fifth place but is already the first alternate because one of the students who placed ahead of him is not attending in another event. Nori also reached finals in Original Oratory, earning sixth place honors, and she is now the second alternate to Nationals because one of the students ahead of her has also chosen another event. Several more students made semifinals at the tournament, including Ashwin Chalaka, grade 10, and Sonya Chalaka, grade 12, in Duo Interpretation, Vivek Sriram, grade 9, in International Extemporaneous Speaking, and Steven Wang, grade 9, in United States Extemporaneous Speaking.
Harker had many successful qualifiers to the state championship (held in April in San Francisco). Sonya Chalaka qualified in Impromptu, Andy Wang qualified in Humorous Interpretation, freshmen Nori and Troullinos qualified in Duo Interpretation and sophomore Arjun Kumar qualified in Congressional Debate.
At the JV and Novice Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate Nationals Tournament hosted by Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Ayush Midha and Arya Kaul, both grade 9, made it to the top eight policy debate teams in the country before being defeated in quarterfinals.
The largest regular season tournament the team attended during the year was in February at UC Berkeley. This tournament draws thousands of competitors from all over the country. Harker sent almost 200 upper and middle school students to the tournament and ook first in overall debate team sweepstakes and second in overall team sweepstakes!
Berkeley Middle School results included Aditya Dhar, grade 7, who made it to varsity Congressional Debate semifinals. Sophia Luo and Lisa Liu, both grade 8, went undefeated in junior-varsity Policy Debate preliminary rounds and made it to the sweet 16. Liu was also in the top 15 named speakers at the tournament. Panny Shan, grade 8, and Steven Cao, grade 7, made it to the double-octofinal elimination round in junior-varsity policy debate. Grade 7 student Divya Rajasekharan made it to the octofinal level of varsity Humorous Interpretation.
Upper school students at Berkeley produced some of the best in Harker’s history:
Sonya Chalaka, Sixth Place, Impromptu Speaking
Saachi Jain, grade 10, Sixth Place, Congressional Debate
Warren Zhang, grade 11, Finalist, Congressional Debate
Jacob Hoffman, grade 11, Finalist, Congressional Debate & Best Presiding Officer in prelims
Steven Wang, Octafinalist, Extemporaneous Speaking
Zina Jawadi, grade10, Octafinalist, Original Oratory
Rishi Bhandia, grade 11, Semifinalist, Congressional Debate
Kathir Sundarraj, grade 12, Semifinalist, Congressional Debate
Apricot Tang, grade 11, Semifinalist, Congressional Debate
Chaitanya Malladi, grade 12, Double Octofinalist, Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Murali Joshi, grade 12, Triple-Octofinalist, Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Leo Yu and Arya Kaul, both grade 9, Quarterfinalists, Junior Varsity Policy Debate
Nitya Mani and Samyu Yagati, both grade 9, Double Octofinalists, Junior Varsity Policy Debate
Aakash Jagadeesh and Akshay Jagadeesh, both grade 12, Champions, Public Forum Debate
Aneesh Chona and Anuj Sharma, both grade 11, Quarterfinalists, Public Forum Debate
Neil Khemani, grade 10, and Neel Jani, grade 11, Double Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate
Ishan Taneja, grade 12, and Jithin Vellian, grade 10, Double Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate
Rohan Bopardikar and Frederic Enea, grade 12, Double Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate
David Grossman, grade 11, and Sreyas Misra, grade 10, Triple Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate
Nikhil Agarwal and Shivani Mitra, both grade 11, Triple Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate
Reyhan Kader, grade 11, and Kevin Duraiswamy, grade 10, Triple Octofinalists, Public Forum Debate