BY SPENCER DEMBNER

The afternoon of Thursday, January 14 marked the start of James Logan High School’s Martin Luther King Invitational, historically one of the largest in the spring, which will last through Sunday. Although overlap with the Stanford Invitational will leave Logan without many competitors, several top teams are still expected to make a run at the title.

This year, the tournament is starting Thursday afternoon rather than Friday afternoon, with the extra time making room to run 6 preliminary rounds in several debate events, including parli. The tournament will continue as usual on Friday afternoon and through Saturday and Sunday.

Overlapping for the first time with the Stanford Invitational, which usually runs some two weeks later, MLK has lost many of the top teams that might otherwise have attended. The tournament has yet to publish a field or indicate its number of entries.

However, several top teams are coming to the tournament and would appear to have a strong chance of performing well. Most prominent is Lowell’s duo of Thomas White and Emily Hall, who are ranked 5th after their win at the UOP Jon Schamber Invitational in October. Also coming are Windsor’s top two teams: Claire Ernst and Christophe Davis, each ranked 6th individually, and Anna Skarr and JP Escarcega. Bentley’s top team, Gabriela Burshteyn and Katie Stamm-Kirk, who enjoyed significant early season success, round out the top of the field.

With the schedule overlap and Stanford’s rule changes, including the elimination of colored paper and the addition of a topic committee, the spring’s two biggest invitationals are set to differentiate themselves significantly more than they have in the past. Stay tuned for coverage of both tournaments as the fields develop.