After capturing the California State Championship in April, the Mitty Speech and Debate team travelled to Salt Lake City for the 2016 National Tournament. Let’s take a look at their journey…

 Nationals Squad outside of the Salt Palace.

Nationals Squad outside of the Salt Palace.

After graduation, competitors met several days a week to cut new scripts, block performances, and deliver practice speeches. Blitzes concluded on the Thursday before the tournament with a Thai-themed team dinner (Try saying that 10 times fast!). Thanks to our amazing support squad for the delicious food and lovely care packages!

Competitors met at the Oakland Airport on Saturday afternoon for their flight to Salt Lake City. Upon landing in Utah, the team checked into their hotel and made a late run to the grocery store for some food.

The next day, the team drove into Downtown Salt Lake City for tournament registration and lunch before heading back to the hotel to practice for their upcoming rounds.

Monday brought the first four rounds of preliminary competition. All of our performers infused their speeches with passion, poise, and personality!

 Speech and Congress ready to compete!

Speech and Congress ready to compete!

Tuesday saw the first elimination rounds. Congratulations to following students, who in a field of approximately 250 talented competitors, placed in the top 60 of their events:

 The sun shone brightly on the Mitty team...

The sun shone brightly on the Mitty team...

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin and Jocelyn Woods
In Duo Interpretation: Olivia Monroy and Amelia Whitney
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan and Seher Randhawa
In Program Oral Interpretation: Nini Bhat

In Congressional Debate: Pranav Govindaraju, Ismail Shaik, and Akaash Tawade
In Public Forum Debate: Koji Flynn-Do and Jolie Leung
In World Schools Debate: Jonathan Pham

On Wednesday, the competition was extremely stiff. The following students placed in the top 30 of their events:

 Our beautiful speech competitors with an entrancing backdrop at Brighton High School.

Our beautiful speech competitors with an entrancing backdrop at Brighton High School.

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan and Seher Randhawa
In Program Oral Interpretation: Nini Bhat

In Congressional Debate: Ismail Shaik

After the quarterfinal round of competition in speech, the following students were advanced to the semifinal round of competition, placing in the top 14 students of their respective events:

 Our two speech semifinalists - Sam and Bharathi!

Our two speech semifinalists - Sam and Bharathi!

In Dramatic Interpretation: Samuel Mesfin
In Informative: Bharathi Arasan

Both Bharathi and Sam gave stellar performances, and we are so incredibly proud of all of the hard work and dedication that they have poured into their pieces. However, after a tense postings assembly, Archbishop Mitty emerged with its sole speech finalist: Bharathi Arasan, in Informative!

Later that night, the team surprised their two finalists, Bharathi and Ismail, with words of love and encouragement before their final rounds.

 Our two national finalists - Ismail and Bharathi :^)

Our two national finalists - Ismail and Bharathi :^)

While Bharathi was at a sound and light check on Thursday morning, Ismail was busy competing in his final round. He performed spectacularly as the team watched the livestreamed event from the hotel.

 Ismail looking dapper at the post-final round banquet.

Ismail looking dapper at the post-final round banquet.

The team joined hundreds of other students from across the United States in watching the final round of the interpretation events on Thursday evening. Our head coach, Mrs. Cruz, was also presented with her First Diamond, an award recognizing her dedication to coaching speech and debate.

 MSD watching the final rounds of POI, HI, DI, and Duo!

MSD watching the final rounds of POI, HI, DI, and Duo!

On Friday morning, our speech finalist was greeted with a surprise - Bharathi’s mom had flown out to Salt Lake City to watch her perform on the national stage! And boy, did Bharathi perform! Speaking third, she brought poise, confidence, and jokes for days! We couldn’t be prouder.

 Before Bharathi took the stage.

Before Bharathi took the stage.

At the awards ceremony, Archbishop Mitty was recognized with the highest honor a school can receive - the School of Outstanding Distinction Award, meaning that Archbishop Mitty Speech & Debate is one of the top 10 programs in the nation. With over 5,500 students representing thousands of schools at the National Tournament, this achievement was nothing short of incredible. Furthermore, Archbishop Mitty was one of just two school from California to receive the award, and THE ONLY school from the state to earn the recognition for a second consecutive year. The full results from the tournament are below:

Dramatic Interpretation:
11th - Samuel Mesfin
Octofinalist (Top 60) - Jocelyn Woods

Duo Interpretation:
Octofinalists (Top 60) - Olivia Monroy & Amelia Whitney

Informative:
5th - Bharathi Arasan
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) - Seher Randhawa

Program Oral Interpretation:
Quarterfinalist (Top 30) - Nini Bhat

Congressional Debate:
13th - Ismail Shaik
Semifinalist (Top 60) - Pranav Govindaraju
Semifinalist (Top 60) - Akaash Tawade

Public Forum Debate:
Top 100 - Koji Flynn-Do & Jolie Leung

World Schools Debate:
Octofinalist (Top 16) - Jonathan Pham

A successful tournament behind them, the team caught an early morning flight back to San Jose, where they were greeted by their loving family and friends. What a way to end the week! A big “thank you” to everyone who came to welcome us home - your love and support means the world to us.

And what a year it has been! Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout this incredibly rewarding experience, especially our friends, families, teammates, teachers, coaches, and the Mitty administration - we look forward to improving upon our accomplishments next year. Even more so, however, we look forward to continue developing meaningful relationships and learning the life lessons that this activity has to offer.

 Top 10, baby!

Top 10, baby!