The Southern California season kicked off with the Jack Howe Memorial Tournament at Cal State Long Beach. iLEAD Schools’ Sienna Horvath & Jackson Paluck took the final round over Bishop O’Dowd’s Claudia Hester & Alden O’Rafferty on a 2-1 decision. Horvath & Paluck affirmed the resolution “California should adopt a single-payer healthcare system.”

Left to right: Alden O'Rafferty, Claudia Hester, Sienna Horvath, and Jackson Paluck pose before finals. 

Left to right: Alden O'Rafferty, Claudia Hester, Sienna Horvath, and Jackson Paluck pose before finals. 

The tournament had a more difficult break than most in the region, with only the top 22.2% of its field making it to the octofinals. With over 70 competing teams, this year’s tournament was easily one of the most competitive in the 25 years of its existence. 

The Jack Howe Memorial is notable for a number of unique features, including debating outside on the “grassy knoll”, having mostly policy resolutions, and lacking a novice division despite occurring early in the season. It may be for these features that debaters continue to return to the tournament every year. “The tournament is almost like a tradition for our school,” said Cypress’ Yunji Jong. “Nobody on our team ever forgets their experiences here and a lot of that probably has to do with how different it is.”

While much of the tournament ran according to schedule, there were a number of complaints on Saturday about overlapping debate and speech rounds, where some teams found themselves with little to no prep time prior to their debates. “There were multiples instances where my events were overlapped,” Northwood’s Manav Manivannan said. “I missed the 3rd and 4th rounds of parli due to extemp running late.”

Luckily, rounds later in the day and on Sunday were spaced with more time to give double-entered competitors an opportunity to do well in both speech and debate events. 

The top speaker was Mission Vista’s Raquel Parizeau, with Archbishop Mitty’s Aayush Sutaria and Mission Vista’s Katherine McGraw following closely behind. 

With tough competition and difficult resolutions, the SoCal circuit is already looking stronger than ever. 


OCTOFINALS

North Hollywood Declan Bulwa & Felix Bulwa def. Archbishop Mitty Helena Getayalew & Roksana Gorgolewski (2-1)
New Roads Ben Wasson & Nolan Windham def. Northwood William Choi & Manav Manivannan (3-0)
Bishop O’Dowd Claudia Hester & Alden O’Rafferty def. Humza Khan & Arman Sawhney (3-0)
iLEAD Sienna Horvath & Jackson Paluck def. Mission Vista Katherine McGraw & Raquel Parizeau (3-0) 
Archbishop Mitty Rahul Ramakrishnan & Vedant Vamshidhar def. Bishop O’Dowd Neha Gupta & Connor Whitehill (3-0)
Cupertino Yash Rajwanshi & Leo Rasseiur def. Stockdale Niteesh Kuchakulla & Reena Somani (3-0)
Carlsbad Priyesh Prakash & Diego Roberts def. Archbishop Mitty Anish Patel & Aayush Sutaria (2-1)
CL Debate Chretien Li & Ryan Pugh def. Archbishop Mitty Mayank Killedar & Jon Telebrico (2-1)

QUARTERFINALS

Bishop O’Dowd Hester & O’Rafferty def. North Hollywood Bulwa & Bulwa (3-0)
Archbishop Mitty Ramakrishnan & Vamshidhar def. New Roads Wasson & Windham (3-0)
iLEAD Horvath & Paluck def. CL Debate Li & Pugh (2-1)
Cupertino Rajwanshi & Rasseiur def. Carlsbad Prakash & Roberts (2-1)

SEMIFINALS 

Bishop O’Dowd Hester & O’Rafferty def. Cupertino Rajwanshi & Rasseiur (3-0)
iLEAD Horvath & Paluck def. Archbishop Mitty Ramakrishnan & Vamshidhar (2-1)

FINALS

iLEAD Horvath & Paluck def. Bishop O’Dowd Hester & O’Rafferty (2-1)


Our Southern California correspondents are Ryan Nam, who debates for Los Osos High School, and Mira Ogawa, who debates for University High School.