On the weekend of January 28th and 29th, the Debate Society of Berkeley hosted the inaugural UC Berkeley Parli Invitational for high school parliamentary debaters. While separately organized from the National Parliamentary Debate Invitational held every November by Parliamentary Debate at Berkeley, the two tournaments share the same venue. Piloting the event, current UC Berkeley ADPA debaters Emma Barton and Sebastian Miller ran a two day tournament that broke 16 of 41 varsity teams into the elimination bracket.
Throughout preliminary rounds, 3 panel judges determined win records, ballot records, and the speaker points delegated to each debater. However, there were discrepancies in the 3 panel system. “Panels that happened with 2 judges occurred because one of the [assigned] judges didn't show up,” said Miller. “We were usually informed of only after the round had taken place.” According to Miller, judges not showing up happened only two or three times in total. Unforeseen issues in the way speaker scores from missing judges were input in Tabroom resulted in teams breaking whose records had been inaccurately calculated.
When notified of these miscalculations midway through the octofinal round, Barton and Miller still proceeded with the illegitimate bracket of teams. “Had we chosen to restart the [octofinals] round, [debaters and judges] would have been kicked out of the rooms set aside for the tournament,” said Miller, “[H]ad we been further delayed the tournament would have been unable to continue in any fashion.” It is unclear which tiebreakers were used to determine the top 16 teams.
While there was no public clarification of these miscalculations at the time, Barton and Miller inputted Los Altos/Notre Dame’s Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth into the bracket to then debate in a separate octofinal round against the lowest-seeded winner of an octofinal. Dembner & Hackworth walked over teammates Alex Wong & William Zeng, who had debated the octofinals round and won.
Despite the shift in the eliminations demographic, prevailing teams continued to debate. In semifinals, Dembner & Hackworth were defeated by Campolindo’s Kevin Deng & Krish Visht on a thread-thin 3-2 decision. Meanwhile, scheduling complications arising out of the second semifinals round prevented Cleveland’s Morgan Knight & Scout Turkel from debating in finals.
Irvington’s Medha Acharya & Jessica Singh lost their semifinals round, but were pulled up due to Cleveland’s travel conflicts. “[Knight & Turkel] were unable to debate finals because they had to make a flight,” said Miller, “we asked the Campo team if they wanted to debate a final round,” and Deng & Visht agreed. Campolindo then proceeded to win finals on a 6-1 decision.
In the novice division, Berkeley's Adrian Feinberg & Matthew Shen won their finals round, defeating Mills High School's Richard Schafhalter & Stephanie Wong.
In individual awards, Irvington's William Yoo, Campolindo’s Ming Qian, and Los Altos's Ryan Lee claimed the top 3 speaker positions in open varsity. In the novice division, Crystal Springs Uplands’s Alice Jiang took 1st, while Mill's Sarah Zhou and Irvington’s Anushka Kulkarni took 2nd and 3rd.
Due to inaccurate breaks, the POI Transition Committee decided that all non-breaking 3-2 teams will receive points. The remaining teams who advanced into further elimination rounds are awarded as usual. “We feel this is a reasonable result,” said the POI Transition Committee in a statement. “The rule is simple and could be applied to similar situations, and therefore [is] preferable to some more complicated and likely arbitrary adjustment."
With this solution in mind, the Committee said “disqualifying the tournament for TOC points [...] would ignore the hard work of the debaters who attended and overly penalize an unintentional error by tab." While this is the first time that points have been awarded after a tabulation error, the Committee does not intend this as a binding precedent, since points decisions will become the job of the board, once POI has finished the transition to a non-profit.
Committee member Julie Herman recused herself from the decision, since her students were included in the teams that might have broken.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We previously stated that the top three varsity speakers were Campolindo's Ming Qian, Sharon Yuan, and Austen Li while the top novice speakers were Irvington's Anushka Kulkarni and Raisah Khan, and Crystal Spring Uplands's Alice Jiang. While these were the debaters given speaker awards at the tournament, it was brought to our attention after publication that this is incorrect: these results were based on preliminary records, not separately calculated speaker points.
Irvington Reetam Ganguli & William Yoo def. Prospect Novia Dattari & Hursh Jain
Irvington's Akanksha Jain & Hamza Qadeer def. Prospect Vikram Dattatri & Ameya Thakur
Los Altos Alex Wong & William Zeng def. Campolindo Austen Li & Ming Qian
Irvington Ahir Datta & Karthik Chetlapalli def. Campolindo Roni Ayalon & Kyle Wu
Irvington Medha Acharya & Jessica Singh def. Prospect Sahil Hegde & Pranav Krishnan
Cleveland Morgan Knight & Scout Turkel def. Irvington Jessica Liu & Ayushi Prusty
Campolindo Kevin Deng & Krish Visht def. Mountain View Independant Vivek Kamarshi & Rohan Sreedhar
Campolindo Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan def. Irvington Shreya Barma & Tanisha Singh
Los Altos/Notre Dame Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth (BYE)
Los Altos/Notre Dame Dembner & Hackworth def. Irvington Ganguli & Yoo
Cleveland Knight & Turkel def. Irvington Datta & Chetlapalli
Campolindo Deng & Visht def. Irvington Jain & Qadeer
Irvington Acharya & Singh def. Campolindo Bonet & Yuan
Campolindo DV def. Los Altos/Notre Dame DH
Cleveland KT def. Irvington AS
Campolindo DV def. Irvington AS (6-1)
Speaker results can be found here.
Our Northern California correspondents are Shannon Bonet, who debates for Campolindo High School, and Emily Her, who debates for Dougherty Valley High School.