BY MEHAK SHARMA
On Sunday evening, spectators of the final round of the 2016 Tournament of Champions must have felt a sense of déjà vu. In a rematch of the 2015 TOC finals, Evergreen Valley’s Basil Abushama & Nadia Cochinwala faced off against Los Altos’s Spencer Dembner & Steven Herman. Negating the resolution "The USFG should end the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan", Abushama & Cochinwala took the championship on a 5-0 decision and successfully defended their coveted title in a repeat of last year.
Yet this year’s edition of the tournament had its own share of unique arguments, with the negation running a critique on U.S. foreign policy towards Taiwan in the final round. In regards to the rest of the tournament, a combination of relevant resolutions, a qualified judging pool, and highly competitive teams provided for interesting rounds.
The competitive field was comprised of the top parliamentary debate teams from across the nation, in addition to the returning champions and finalists. On their way to finals, Abushama & Cochinwala dropped the hybrid duo of Notre Dame’s Lilly Hackworth and Evergreen’s Jai Nekkileru in quarters, as well as Campolindo’s Conor Hanvey & Thomas Liao in semis. Meanwhile, Dembner & Herman dropped Evergreen’s Poojan Shukla & Marek Zielinski in quarters, and Sonoma Academy’s Connor Duncan & Aris Saxena, Stanford champions, in semis. Very fittingly, iLead's SoCal powerhouse duo of Chad Gasman and Kate Farwell were the recipients of the Iain Gabriel Lampert Award for Almost Breaking -- a recognition created in honor of their coach.
By the end of seven preliminary rounds, Dembner & Herman held the highest record -- 6-0 with one tied round against Sonoma’s Duncan & Saxena. Evergreen’s Abushama & Cochinwala and two Sonoma teams -- the aforementioned Duncan & Saxena, and Caleb Kornfein & Audrey von Raesfeld -- rounded out the top four with four prelim wins each.
Evergreen Valley’s Nadia Cochinwala was the tournament’s top speaker, followed by Los Altos’s Spencer Dembner.
Campolindo Conor Hanvey & Thomas Liao def. Sonoma Caleb Kornfein & Audrey von Raesfeld (3-0)
Los Altos Spencer Dembner & Steven Herman def. Evergreen Poojan Shukla & Marek Zielinski (2-1)
Sonoma Connor Duncan & Aris Saxena def. Irvington Aditya Kaushik & Michelle Huang (2-1)
Evergreen Basil Abushama & Nadia Cochinwala def. Notre Dame/Evergreen Lilly Hackworth & Jai Nekkileru (2-1)
Evergreen Abushama & Cochinwala def. Campolindo Hanvey & Liao (4-1)
Los Altos Dembner & Herman def. Sonoma Duncan & Saxena (4-1)
Evergreen AC def. Los Altos DH (5-0)