Oaks Christian

Tri-County Forensic League: Debate State Qualifier

(February 28-March 1, 2014)

OaksChristian-2El Camino Real was represented by two Parliamentary Debate teams at this weekend’s tournament. One team, comprised of Hilda Velásquez-Galvez and Bendan Pichay, faced some tough competition right from the start. Taking on the team that eventually ended up 13th in the field of 41 tandems, Hilda and Brendan put up a strong fight. Although they lost the round, they actually ended up beating their opponent in speaker points, thanks to Hilda’s team-leading 28 in that round.

As Hilda and Brendan headed into Round #2, they knew that they had no room to spare; one more loss and they would be out of the two-day tournament. Unfortunately for them, they were thrown up against a tough  competitor once again, the team that would eventually finish 9th overall. One sign that they kept pace with this eventual finalist was the fact they ended up just one speaker point shy of the victors, and once again, Hilda led all competitors in the round with a 28 mark. Finding out in the wee hours of the morning that they would not be advancing to the second day must have been a disappointment, but at least they put up a strong fight and represented El Camino well.

The other Parli team was comprised of Emily Mercer and Shawn Haq. Emily and Shawn beat the first two competitors they faced and thus hobbled and greatly reduced the chances of those teams moving deep into the competition. In both  of those rounds, the duo showed both their strength and the ability to work as a team. Each earned 28 speaker points in the first round and ratcheted things up even further by earning 29 speaker points each in the second round.

On Saturday morning, they continued their winning ways with a victory over a squad that had also gone undefeated the day before. Although their speaker points had dropped to 26 and 26, they beat their opponent in all components of the contest, and remarkably had continued their odd streak of earning the exact same number of speaker points.

By mid-day, it was time for Round #4. Although Emily and Shawn once again earned the same number of speaker points (26 & 26) , they were beaten by a superior team, a duo that would eventually go on to be 5th overall in the 41-team field and the recipient of an invitation to the California High School Speech Association State Tournament.

Going into the fifth round of the tournament, only 14 of the original 41 teams remained. Although they had one loss, all was not done. If they could make it through the next round unscathed, they would be amongst the top seven teams with the top five going to the state tournament, and one round to go. The team they faced next ended up 6th overall, one spot short of a slot in the state tournament, a slot they lost because they were beaten by Emily and Shawn’s fourth round opponent in the day’s last round.

Unfortunately, things broke down right from the start in Round #5 as Emily and Shawn could not agree on a common strategy. The duo had entered the tournament with a chemistry that complemented each other. Further, with the final judge giving them the same exact number of speaker points (now five rounds in a row), it is clear they each brought an equal amount of assets to the team. However, their potential for great heights at the state tournament came undone and it ended up being a story of what could have been.

(Alexander Scott)

ECR Speech and Debate © 2014