On April 8th and 9th, debaters from around the country convened in Oakland for the Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions. The tournament ended in a closeout, as Los Altos/Notre Dame’s Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth secured their 11th championship this season alongside Los Altos' Shirley Cheng & Ryan Lee. After both prevailing on 3-0 decisions in their semifinals round, Dembner & Hackworth and Cheng & Lee became the first two teams in history to share the TOC championship title as no final round was held. 

(left to right) Dembner, Hackworth, Cheng, and Lee pose with speaker and semifinal trophies in addition to the California Cup

(left to right) Dembner, Hackworth, Cheng, and Lee pose with speaker and semifinal trophies in addition to the California Cup

While this was Cheng & Lee’s first appearance at TOC, both Dembner and Hackworth were returning competitors. For Dembner, after 2 years of dropping in the finals round with former partner Steven Herman, this year's win marked the ultimate championship. Coincidentally, Dembner & Hackworth and Cheng & Lee mirrored their closeout of the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational earlier in January. 

On their way to finals, Dembner & Hackworth received a bye to quarters, where they defeated Campolindo’s Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan. They proceeded to drop Bonet & Yuan’s teammates, Kevin Deng & Krish Visht, in semifinals. 

Meanwhile, Cheng & Lee also received a bye to quarters, where they defeated Evergreen Valley’s Poojan Shukla & Marek Zielinski. In semifinals, they dropped Sonoma’s Caleb Kornfein & Audrey Von Raesfeld. 

In speaker awards, Hackworth and Dembner took 1st and 2nd place, respectively, followed by Campolindo’s Ming Qian in 3rd, Poojan Shukla in 4th, and Caleb Kornfein in 5th. 

Marking the height of this debate season, the TOC featured teams from the New York, Oregon, and California, though the field consisted primarily of Northern California teams. With 33 entries in attendance, TOC broke 14 teams into elimination rounds, 12 of which debated partial octos. Preliminary results were relatively even as nearly half of the TOC field achieved 9-5 and 8-6 records. No teams emerged with undefeated records. The top seeded teams held 12-2 records, while lower clearing teams were 8-6.

As in the past, the Tournament of Champions hosted a forum, run by the tournament’s equity officer and POI Transition Committee member, Julie Herman. This year, the main issue of discussion was the proposed POI Constitution. Competitors, coaches, and judges present were encouraged to express their concerns and opinions on the framing of parliamentary debate and establishment of the Point of Information Foundation. 

A brief explanation of the forum discussion and following survey may be read here, written up by Herman. 


Campolindo’s Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan def. Evergreen Valley’s Anirudh Mani & Janav Sharma (2-1)

Evergreen Valley’s Poojan Shukla & Marek Zielinski def. Meera Keskar & Karl Moeglein (2-1)

Los Altos’s Javin Pombra & Danny Vesurai def. Irene Partsuf & Devin Pracar (3-0)  

Sonoma’s Caleb Kornfein & Audrey Von Raesfeld def. Nueva’s Neeraj Sharma & Leo Rossi (3-0)

Campolindo’s Austen Li & Ming Qian def. Rob Stallman & John Ropp (2-1)

Campolindo’s Kevin Deng & Krish Visht w/o Campolindo’s Kaveh Boostanpour & Jordan Li (n/a)

Los Altos’s Shirley Cheng & Ryan Lee (BYE)

Los Altos’s Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth (BYE)



Los Altos’s Dembner & Hackworth def. Campolindo’s Bonet & Yuan (2-1)

Sonoma’s Kornfein & Von Raesfeld def. Campolindo’s Li & Qian (3-0)

Campolindo’s Deng & Visht def. Los Altos’s Pombra & Vesurai (2-1)

Los Altos’s Cheng & Lee def. Evergreen Valley’s Shukla & Zielinski (3-0)



Los Altos’s DH def. Campolindo’s DV (3-0)

Los Altos’s CL def. Sonoma’s KV (3-0)

Results can be found here.