On February 18th, a pool of 44 teams at the Cal Lutheran Invitational narrowed down to a final round between Bentley/Campolindo’s hybrid team of Devin Pracar & Krish Visht and iLEAD’s Matthew Alberti & Daniel Timor. Affirming the resolution, “The USFG should overhaul its healthcare system,” Pracar & Visht won the final round on a 3-0 decision. 

The Cal Lutheran Invitational is known for having topics that are policy-heavy. However, this year was the first year that all resolutions were policy-based. The tournament allowed internet prep, but lacked a designated prep room. As a result, most teams were forced to prep in hallways or in empty, unused rooms. 

While the tournament has historically had around 20 competitive teams in the open parliamentary division, the novice division has been collapsed into the open division in past years, due to a lack of novice competitors and a desire to increase the size of the open division. However, while the pool remained small with only 18 competitors, novice debaters had the opportunity to enjoy their own division this year, avoiding experienced third and fourth year debaters.

While a small pool of competitors may seem monotonous to some, most competitors found the competition challenging, but enjoyable. “The moderately sized competitor pool meant that it was possible to go against the same teams multiple times, building a more casual relationship between teams, as they were humanized and not made to seem as robotic opponents,” said iLEAD's Daniel Timor, one of the finalists. 

Although the tournament ran relatively smoothly, some competitors had minor complaints. “The tournament was much smaller than regular college-hosted tournaments, and it did seem a bit more empty compared to previous years," said Global Prep Academy's Chretien Li. "They did, however, give out resolutions completely through Tabroom and it glitched occasionally so it threw people off.” Additional complaints from competitors included slow round-to-round processing times due to a small, one-person tabulation team, and text-announced resolutions that cut off between messages.

Despite these setbacks, CLU was still an enjoyable experience. “I just loved being there and meeting new people from other places, especially towards the end of the tournament where kids from all sorts of school[s] were just laughing, playing games together," said Li. "Gotta love those moments.”

In the open division, Valencia’s Vamsi Abburu claimed the first place speaker award, with Murrieta Valley’s Jared Koch and iLEAD’s Olivia Dutcher coming in second and third. In the novice division, Valencia’s Nikitha Chalgeri claimed top speaker.

Next up for Southern California debaters will be state tournament qualifier tournaments, hosted by each region's respective league. Debaters will compete for spots at the California State Championship Tournament in April. 


iLEAD Olivia Dutcher & Ari Moore def. Foothill Technology Nick Godinez & Josh Hager (3-0)

iLEAD Matthew Alberti & Daniel Timor def. Valencia Vamsi Abburu & Danielle Laganiere (3-0)

Bentley Devin Pracar & Krish Visht def. Claremont Edward Rumbos-Perez & Alex Walburg (2-1)

iLEAD Sienna Horvath & Jackson Paluck def. South Torrance Tyler Shibata & Saaketh Tirumala (2-1)


iLEAD Alberti & Timor def. iLEAD Dutcher & Moore (Walkover)

Bentley Pracar & Visht def. iLEAD Horvath & Paluck (2-1)


Bentley Pracar & Visht def. iLEAD Alberti & Timor (3-0)

Results can be found here.