A team of 36 students from Bellarmine College Preparatory competed in 48 events at the California High School Speech Association State Tournament held April 27-29 at Lowell High School in San Francisco, and for the seventh consecutive year brought home the top prize.
Each event at the state tournament starts with anywhere from 250 to over four hundred entries at local tournaments, with the top 146 schools advancing to the state finals. Of the nearly 5,000 students who competed in local qualifiers, 672 reached the state speech finals (12 events) and 326 made it to the state debate finals (five events).
“Our students prepare throughout the summer and academic year; we compete against some of the best in the state in our own league weekend in and weekend out,” said Bellarmine’s head Speech and Debate Coach, Kim Jones, adding, “So, it was fitting that Leland High School and Bellarmine were fighting for the team championship until the very end of the tournament.”
Stand out performances included those by senior Vijay Singh, individual state champ in National Extemporaneous; and by seniors Naman Trivedi and Imran Mahmood, who won the policy debate title.
In addition to Kim Jones, Bellarmine’s Speech and Debate coaches included Chris Wolf, Bill Healy, Dee Dee Sullivan, Mikael Meyer, Dan Baxter, and Nihaal Karnik.
“I am extremely proud of our speech and debate team, and grateful to the coaches and students for the tremendous number of hours that went into making this accomplishment possible,” said Bellarmine principal Chris Meyercord. “I’m proud of our speakers not only because of their excellent skills, but also because of how much emphasis they place on helping one another, and embodying the mission of the school to be ‘men for others,’” he added.
Bellarmine has won the California State Speech and Debate Championship 16 times in the past 24 years, and its Speech and Debate program has been recognized by the National Forensic League as one of the programs in the nation to demonstrate “Excellence in Speech and Debate.”
In 2006, Bellarmine won the National Championship in policy debate, the first team west of the Mississippi to achieve this in several decades, and in 2008 took top honors at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.
In addition to recognition bestowed upon Bellarmine students over the years, two of Bellarmine’s Speech and Debate coaches, Kim Jones and Jim Harville, are in the California Coaches Hall of Fame.
Complete Bellarmine State Tournament results as follows:
Team Sweepstakes (Awarded to top 20 teams at the tournament.)
First: Bellarmine College Prep - 107 points
Second: Leland High School - 94 points
Third: Logan High School - 87 points
Fourth: Fullerton High School - 56 points
Fifth: Gabrielino High School - 46 points
Second: John Cherian
Third: Aditya Limaye
Fifth: Ankur Mahesh
Eighth: James Thomas
Sixteenth: Rohan Dhoopar
First: Vijay Singh
Third: Madhu Vijay
Third: Debnil Sur
Fifth: Sahej Randhawa
Thirteenth: Rohit Gupta
Eighth: Neil Agarwal
Ninth: Naman Trivedi
Eighteenth: Rahul Lodhavia
Sixteenth: Sri Gopakumar
Seventeenth: James Wei
First: Naman Trivedi/Imran Mahmood
Semifinalist: Aditya Mukund/Debnil Sur
Quarterfinalist: James Wei/Matthew Chan
Quarterfinalist: Adam Pramono/Taemin Ahn
Octafinalist: Ankit Mathur/Sahej Randhawa
Double Octafinalist: Vaibhav Menon/John Nunziati
Lincoln Douglas Debate
Second: Matt DeLateur
Semifinalist: Samay Dhawan
Quarterfinalist: Ronny Mukherjee
Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Jesuit secondary school, was founded in 1851. Located in San Jose, CA, Bellarmine is a community committed to a comprehensive education that results in a lifelong search for truth. The curricular program, through its single college preparatory track and extensive co-curricular program, is designed to develop an openness to growth, experiences in leadership, the pursuit of intellectual activity, and the integration of spirituality in all aspects of the student’s life.