Oxford Academy's Jon Le & Kalkidan Tewodros, debating together for the first time at a tournament, picked up in the final round of CSU Long Beach's Jack Howe Memorial Invitational on a 2-1 decision against Claremont's George Achy & Kavan Nakai. The topic for the final round, in which Le and Tewodros negated, was, “The United Nations would move one or more nations to permanent members on the UN security council."

The Jack Howe tournament is one of the oldest and most memorable speech and debate tournaments that Southern California has to offer. The tournament offers unique features, such as debating outdoors and tough policy resolutions. However, these quirks did not stop Oxford Academy’s Jon Le and Kalkidan Tewodros from cruising their way to the final round and securing themselves first place.

Oxford Academy's Jon Le (left) and Kalkidan Tewodros (right) securing first place

Oxford Academy's Jon Le (left) and Kalkidan Tewodros (right) securing first place

The first-time pair finished the tournament with 25 POI points, tied for 2nd place in the current rankings, and just two points away from qualifying to the Tournament of Champions. Oxford had previously received only one loss at the tournament, to Canyon Crest Academy's Praneeth Kandula and George Cheng in the fifth preliminary round. 

The tournament ran as close to as on time as possible and not many complaints resonated from the competitors. However, towards round five in the preliminary rounds, teams had to debate in the dark and had to use iPhones as flashlights just to read their case, since debates followed the tournament tradition of being held outside. 

The tournament was a success nonetheless, introducing many newcomers to what it is like debating at a large tournament, and convincing varsity members to mark their calendars for next year for a chance at reigning supreme.


QUARTERFINALS

Carlsbad Alex DeTaboada & Chad Hamner def. La Canada Charles Lea & Daniel Oh

Oxford Jon Le & Kalkidan Tewodros def. Claremont Alex Abarca & Chaerim Kang

Canyon Crest Praneeth Kandula & George Cheng def. Valencia Chretien Li & Ryan Pugh

Claremont George Achy & Kavan Nakai def. La Canada Emily Ballinger & Diya Razdan

SEMIFINALS

Oxford Le & Tewodros def. Carlsbad DeTaboada & Hamner

Claremont Achy & Nakai def. Canyon Crest Kandula & Cheng

FINALS

Oxford Le & Tewodros def. Claremont Achy & Nakai


Our Southern California correspondents are Kavan Nakai, who debates for Claremont High School, and Christina Patricia, who debates for Torrey Pines High School.