Stellar Finish for Bells at National Speech & Debate Tournament

Posted: June 24, 2019

For the past week, DeeDee Sullivan, Ani Prabhu ’16 (assistant coach for policy debate), Xavier Liu ’17 (assistant coach for speech), and Aaron Langerman have led a contingent of Bellarmine speech and debaters through the National Tournament in Dallas, TX. The speech and debaters endured five days of competition in the behemoth Sheraton hotel complex, where thousands of students from across the country waited in Disneyland-sized lines to take the elevators to compete in… hotel rooms.

The nine Bells that we brought with us to the tournament performed heroically, with all of them advancing to elimination rounds at the tournament. Together, their combined efforts landed Bellarmine the award of School of Outstanding Distinction, which is given to the top 10 schools in the nation!!

Speech & Debate Results:

International Extemp:

Anuj Kothari ’2010th place (semifinalist) — By reaching the semifinal round, Anuj has earned an auto-qualification to attend Nationals next year in extemp. Anuj will also be our team president and extemp captain for next year!

Lincoln-Douglas Debate:

In LD debate, both of our senior captains — Ashwin Pillai ’19 and Rishi Balakrishnan ’19 — individually advanced to round 9 of the tournament, thus being ranked in the top 60 in the nation. A great end to their careers!!

Policy Debate:

Tyler Vergho ’19 and Abhishek Rengarajan ’19 — 6th place – An incredible finish to a superb year! In addition to being ranked 6th place as a team, Tyler and Abhi as individual speaking awards for their polish as orators in debate rounds: Abhi was ranked the 8th best speaker and Tyler was ranked 5th best speaker in policy debate.

Surya Midha ’21 and Adarsh Hiremath ’21 — 8th place – By being ranked in the top 14th in the nation, Surya and Adarsh have earned an auto-qualification to attend Nationals next year in policy Debate. These two have had a truly historic year for sophomores: to reach both the final round at state and be ranked 10th in the nation as sophomores is staggeringly impressive.

Arnav Bhau ’20 and Jay VIshwarupe ’20 – By advancing to round 10, Arnav and Jay are ranked in the top 30 (advancing to round 10) – Arnav and Jay will also be our policy debate captains for next year!

All in all, this showing at nationals is a stellar finish to the year for the Bells!

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