This past weekend the Mitty Speech & Debate team competed at the 25th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational Tournament at James Logan High School in Union City. The Tournament started out after school on Thursday and Friday with five preliminary debate rounds. Then on Saturday, Speech joined the party as well!

That day, we advanced 31 competitors to the quarterfinal round of competition in speech, 6 competitors to the Double Octofinal round of competition in debate, and 16 competitors to the Octofinal round of debate! There were hugs for everyone:

Well, everyone except for Sam....

For inspiration before our final rounds of the day, we decided to take a field trip to the legendary room 408, home of James Logan High School's Speech and Debate program and the place where our coaches first fell in love with the activity.

The highlight, however, was clearly this picture of Mr. Cruz performing his Humorous Interpretation.

The debaters who advanced past their Octofinal rounds— Pranav and Ismail in Public Forum, and Teja and Rahul in Policy— arrived early the next morning accompanied by teammates to cheer them on.

Advancing speech kids trickled in soon after for their Semifinal rounds!

Then came the wait for breaks...


But the wait was well worth it— we advanced 9 entries to final rounds, including Freshmen Emma Skeet and Connor Sherry! Cue freakout:

Despite advancing to finals in speech, Pranav and Ismail were not pictured above as they were too busy advancing to finals in another event— Public Forum. (Side note: they are also our first ever Public Forum team to win a bid to the Tournament of Champions)

Several hard fought final rounds later, it was time for awards!

First, Scott Wunn, President of the National Speech and Debate Association, helped honor Dr. Tommie Lindsey, the legendary coach of the James Logan program and the man who made all of this possible— not just by running the MLK Invitational, but also by coaching our coaches and inspiring them to go on and try to make a difference in the lives of students as well. Then came awards:

So let's recap:
1st place, Triathlete Award – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, Public Forum Debate – Govindaraju & Shaik
Semifinalists, Policy Debate – Devarapalli & Veeramacheneni
1st place, Impromptu – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, International Extemporaneous – Ismail Shaik
1st place, National Extemporaneous – Pranav Govindaraju
1st place, Original Prose & Poetry – Arjun Biju
2nd place, Impromptu – Amulya Yerrapotu
2nd place, Oratorical Interpretation – Emma Skeet
6th place, Oratorical Interpretation – Rhea Esha Bhatia
6th place, Original Prose & Poetry – Cassandra Korb
7th place, Impromptu – Conor Sherry
7th place, National Extemporaneous – Amulya Yerrapotu

Not to mention: 12 Quarterfinalists in Speech (Caitlyn Redfern, Koji Flynn-Do, Robin Gallaher, Akaash Tawade (twice!), Cassandra Korb, Riya Dhoopar, Madelyn Whalen, Aneri Bhatt, Jasmine Ho, Colin Anderson, Jocelyn Woods), 10 Semifinalists in Speech (Lewis & Kernan, Bharathi Arasan, Siddhant Gannu, Jonathan Pham, Rose Bueno, Bharathi Arasan, Pranavi Javangula, Samuel Mesfin, Amelia Whitney), 7 Octofinalist teams in debate (Shree Mukilan Pari, Vivek Thangam, Flynn-Do & Pyle, Gupta & Vobbilisetty, Leung & Pedada, Gallaher & Yerrapotu, Singh & Varma), and 3 Double Octofinalist teams in debate (Ahluwalia & Oliveira, Ambati & Anand, Ghoshal & Syed).

And yes, you did see that right. Pranav took home 4 first place medals.

What did all this add up to? Well, see for yourself:

The Monarchs brought home their first ever 1st place team finish in an overall large school sweepstakes, out of 66 schools! Congratulations everyone for an incredible weekend!