After an eventful qualifying season, the Monarchs were ready to tackle their next challenge - the 2016 CHSSA State Tournament. With 32 competitors - the most in the Coast Forensics League and the most in MSD history - the team was poised for success. Let’s take a look at their journey…

 The biggest contingent from the CFL ready to tackle the state tournament!

The biggest contingent from the CFL ready to tackle the state tournament!

A few weeks before the competition, students met with Mr. and Mrs. Cruz for a motivational discussion on the significance of the state championship and the potential of the team to make history. (Spoiler Alert: We made history.)

 The smiles started before state...

The smiles started before state...

During the weeks leading up to the championship, the team practiced almost daily, both in class and after school at blitzes. Dinner themes including “In it to Win it Indian” and “State Sandwiches” helped set the tone for practices that were both focused and fun.

 Duo partners Lucas Kernan and Piper Lucas having too much fun? :^)

Duo partners Lucas Kernan and Piper Lucas having too much fun? :^)

The weekend before the state tournament brought the inaugural MSD Madness, during which competitors enjoyed an afternoon full of games and team bonding. Afterward, the qualifiers joined their parents for a potluck and game night. A big “thank you” to the Arasan family for hosting the event - it was a great opportunity for parents and students to socialize, engage in friendly competition, and laugh together.

As MSD tradition would have it, competitors gathered to share a meal on the evening prior to the tournament. The burgers and fries were delicious, but the real treat was what came after dinner - senior speeches. These personal reflections from the leaders of the team left us feeling energized for the big day ahead.

 Hugs for senior team member Samuel Mesfin.

Hugs for senior team member Samuel Mesfin.

On the morning of the tournament, the boys met at Bill’s Cafe for breakfast while the girls convened at the house of Team President Nini Bhat to get their hair and makeup done. A huge thanks to the Bhat family for letting us use their home, and to fellow Monarch Emma Chew for volunteering to help the girls with their makeup!

 Boys' breakfast at Bill's before the big day!

Boys' breakfast at Bill's before the big day!

After taking some fierce team photos, the team headed off to Mission College for the first rounds of the tournament.

 "Teams that dab together, win together." - Mr. Cruz

"Teams that dab together, win together." - Mr. Cruz

One of the biggest perks of competing so close to home is the amazing support of our teammates, friends, and family. Team members came to Mission College to watch rounds, and our incredible parents provided food throughout the tournament. Mitty staff members also dropped by and were treated to some MSD performances!

The preliminary rounds of competition concluded on Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, the team gathered in Mr. and Mrs. Cruz’s hotel room to announce who had advanced to the semifinal round of competition. It was an intense and emotional night, but the results were undoubtedly spectacular:

 Team members anxiously hold their breath as breaks are announced.

Team members anxiously hold their breath as breaks are announced.

Semifinalists in Dramatic Interpretation: Kai Hynes, Erica Johnson, and Samuel Mesfin
Semifinalists in Duo Interpretation: Paige Decena and Max Slade
Semifinalist in Expository: Seher Randhawa
Semifinalists in Humorous Interpretation: Rose Bueno, Olivia Monroy, and Conor Sherry
Semifinalist in Impromptu: Amulya Yerrapotu
Semifinalists in International Extemporaneous: Robbie Gallaher and Ismail Shaik
Semifinalists in National Extemporaneous: Koji Flynn-Do and Charlie Pyle
Semifinalist in Oratorical Interpretation: Esha Bhatia
Semifinalists in Original Advocacy: Bharathi Arasan and Pranav Govindaraju
Semifinalists in Original Prose and Poetry: Arjun Biju and Pranavi Javangula
Semifinalists in Thematic Interpretation: Colin Anderson, Nini Bhat, Madelyn Davis, Amelia Whitney, and Jocelyn Woods

Semifinalists in Congressional Debate: Siddhant Gannu and Akaash Tawade
Advancing to Round 5 of Parliamentary Debate: Chiara Caraccio and Vivek Thangam
Advancing to Round 7 of Policy Debate: Pranav Govindaraju and Ismail Shaik

After a difficult semifinal round the next morning, the team once again convened to find out who had advanced to the final round of the tournament. Congratulations to your 2016 finalists, all of whom are recognized as the top competitors in the state of California:

 Anxiously awaiting finals breaks...

Anxiously awaiting finals breaks...

Finalists in Dramatic Interpretation: Kai Hynes and Samuel Mesfin
Finalists in Duo Interpretation: Paige Decena and Max Slade
Finalists in Humorous Interpretation: Olivia Monroy and Conor Sherry
Finalists in International Extemporaneous: Robbie Gallaher and Ismail Shaik
Finalist in National Extemporaneous: Charlie Pyle
Finalist in Original Advocacy: Bharathi Arasan
Finalists in Original Prose and Poetry: Arjun Biju and Pranavi Javangula
Finalists in Thematic Interpretation: Nini Bhat and Amelia Whitney

Finalist in Congressional Debate: Siddhant Gannu
Finalists in Parliamentary Debate: Chiara Caraccio and Vivek Thangam

All of our finalists gave incredible performances, bringing passion and energy into each moment of their speeches. Then came the awards ceremony, perhaps the most exhilarating part of the entire weekend. Congratulations to all of our competitors, especially those who were commended for their performances. The full results…

Dramatic Interpretation: 
4th place - Samuel Mesfin
7th place - Kai Hynes
8th place - Erica Johnson
 

Duo Interpretation:
5th place - Paige Decena & Max Slade

Expository:
13th place - Seher Randhawa

Humorous Interpretation:
1st place - Conor Sherry
5th place - Olivia Monroy
12th place - Rose Bueno

Impromptu:
10th place - Amulya Yerrapotu

International Extemporaneous:
5th place - Robbie Gallaher
7th place - Ismail Shaik

National Extemporaneous:
3rd place - Charlie Pyle
11th place - Koji Flynn-Do

Oratorical Interpretation:
8th place - Esha Bhatia

Original Advocacy:
3rd place - Bharathi Arasan
14th place - Pranav Govindaraju

Original Prose and Poetry:
2nd place - Arjun Biju
4th place - Pranavi Javangula

Thematic Interpretation:
1st place - Amelia Whitney
2nd place - Nini Bhat

9th place - Colin Anderson
12th place - Madelyn Davis
14th place - Jocelyn Woods

Congressional Debate:
12th place - Siddhant Gannu
Semifinalist - Akaash Tawade

Parliamentary Debate:
2nd place - Chiara Caraccio & Vivek Thangam

Policy Debate:
Quarterfinalists - Pranav Govindaraju & Ismail Shaik

Team Sweepstakes:
1st place - Archbishop Mitty

At the end of the night, MSD emerged with its FIRST EVER state champions - freshman Conor Sherry in Humorous Interpretation and sophomore Amelia Whitney in Thematic Interpretation! In addition, Archbishop Mitty was recognized as THE TOP speech and debate school in California. What we had been working for the entire year was no longer just a dream - we were state champions.

 Hugs all around to celebrate!

Hugs all around to celebrate!

 The Fab Five and coaches beaming with joy and pride.

The Fab Five and coaches beaming with joy and pride.

The team celebrated their success with a trip to Dave and Buster’s for a few hours of food, games, dancing, and team bonding.

 Tired but still turnt after a long weekend!

Tired but still turnt after a long weekend!

What a weekend! Thank you to all of those who have supported us throughout this incredible experience - our friends, family, teachers, teammates, coaches, and the Mitty administration. We couldn’t have done it without your love, support, and guidance.