Shannon Bonet

Los Altos Takes Stanford

Shannon Bonet
Los Altos Takes Stanford

On February 12th, the 32nd annual Stanford Invitational culminated in a final round between Los Altos's Jodie Bhattacharya & Javin Pombra and Ashland's Sarah Aaronson & Annika Larson. Affirming the resolution, “The USFG should nationalize the Ivy League and other elite academic institutions,” Bhattacharya & Pombra triumphed over Aaronson & Larson on a split 2-1 decision.

Both teams maintained a steady 5-1 record in preliminary rounds, earning themselves a bye during triple-octofinals. Each team lost only two ballots during elimination rounds.

(left to right) Pombra, Bhattacharya, Aaronson, & Larson pose with awards after the final round

(left to right) Pombra, Bhattacharya, Aaronson, & Larson pose with awards after the final round

In varsity speaker awards, Campolindo’s Shannon Bonet secured first place. CK McClatchy’s Amos Karlson and Claremont’s Sanjar Junisbai placed second and third, respectively.

In the junior varsity division, Carlsbad’s Sierra Vakili & Aja Ward defeated Claremont’s Alex Abarca & Angelo Thomas in the final round. In speaker awards, champion Sierra Vakili won first, with Dougherty Valley’s Joyce Wu and Claremont’s Kyle Tchalian placing second and third, respectively.

Students commented that the tournament ran smoothly this year. “Stanford was very well-run and efficiently organized, especially considering the field size,” said champion Jodie Bhattacharya. The final round was scheduled to begin at 11:45 AM on the third day, an improvement from previous 12:30 PM and 12:15 PM start times in 2017 and 2016.

While a popular tournament, the Stanford Invitational introduced resolutions that were met with slight discontent by debaters. “Some were…abnormally biased to one side,” said Global Prep Academy’s Ryan Pugh, mentioning one of the double-octofinals resolutions, “The USFG should ban professional football leagues." That resolution resulted in a 66.7% negation win rate. 

SIDE BIASES (calculations courtesy of Neeraj Sharma, rounded to nearest whole number) 

  • Round 1
    • The USFG should significantly increase funding for the research and development of military artificial intelligence (50% Aff | 50% Neg)
    • The USFG should significantly increase funding to modernize its nuclear arsenal (36% Aff | 64% Neg)
  • Round 2
    • The Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes for 2018 will do more harm than good (45% Aff | 55% Neg) 
    • The United States Federal Government's suspension of military aid to Pakistan will do more harm than good (46% Aff | 54% Neg) 
  • Round 3
    • The Department of Education should significantly increase funding for vocational education in high schools with low graduation rates (64% Aff | 36% Neg)
    • The USFG should make publishing in open-access journals a condition for research projects to receive federal funding (40% Aff | 60% Neg)
  • Round 4
    • The USFG ought to prioritize marketable skills over family connections in admitting immigrants (52% Aff | 48% Neg) 
    • Democratic representatives in the House ought not have voted to pass the recent budget deal without protections for DACA (38% Aff | 62% Neg) 
  • Round 5
    • China should eliminate the two child policy and end all restrictions on family size (55% Aff | 45% Neg) 
    • Japan should lower its cap on overtime work hours to 60 hours per month (60% Aff | 40% Neg) 
  • Round 6
    • The USFG should significantly increase its restrictions on prescriptions for Schedule II narcotics (53% Aff | 47% Neg) 
    • The USFG should significantly raise eligibility ages for social security (45% Aff | 55% Neg) 


Global Prep Academy Chretien Li & Ryan Pugh def. Redlands East Valley Caroline Irving & Alex Kristoffersen (2-1)

Ashland Sarah Aaronson & Annika Larson def. Bentley Jeremy Hubinger & Irene Partsuf (2-1)

CK McClatchy Amos Karlson & Ben Schwartz def. Washington Shiranthi Jawahar & Sanjana Rajesh (2-1)

Dougherty Valley Humza Khan & Arman Sawhney def. Bentley Olive Brogan & Michael Rubsamen (2-1)

Archbishop Mitty Mayank Killedar & Jon Telebrico def. Menlo-Atherton Andrew Fahey & Logan Wilson (2-1)

Berkeley Uma Nagarajan & Talia Wolf-Jacobs def. Notre Dame Luke DiMartino & Daenerys Pineda (3-0)

Jesuit Ryan Albiani & Nicholas Conover def. Homestead Eric Cheng & Noah Thurm (2-1)

Los Altos Jodie Bhattacharya & Javin Pombra def. Evergreen Independent Jwalin Joshi & Aditya Mehta (2-1)



Ashland Aaronson & Larson def. Global Prep Academy Li & Pugh (3-0)

Dougherty Valley Khan & Sawhney def. CK McClatchy Karlson & Schwartz (2-1)

Berkeley Nagarajan & Wolf-Jacobs def. Archbishop Mitty Killedar & Telebrico (2-1)

Los Altos Bhattacharya & Pombra def. Jesuit Albiani & Conover (3-0)



Ashland AL def. Dougherty Valley KS (2-1)

Los Altos BP def. Berkeley NW (3-0)



Los Altos BP def. Ashland AL (2-1)

Full results can be found here. 

Our Northern California correspondents are Emily Her, who competes for Dougherty Valley High School, and Anoushka Singal, who competes for Irvington High School.