San Jose, CA -- A team of 38 students from Bellarmine College Preparatory competed in the California High School Speech Association State Tournament held April 15-17 at San Diego State University and for the sixth consecutive year brought home the top prize.
Each event at the state tournament starts with over four hundred entries at local tournaments, with the top 56 advancing to the championships.
“The preparation for this tournament starts every year the previous June,” said Bellarmine’s head Speech and Debate Coach, Km Jones, adding, “These students work almost every day of the year in preparation for this weekend every April. Each of these guys also holds the team goal above his own personal goals. So, in a competitive environment, both of those simple life lessons of team work and hard work make for a pretty exciting weekend. And, even if they don’t win, they still have learned the lessons.”
Team president, senior Matt Zajac, led on the speech side with an individual championship in Original Advocacy, while senior Delbert Tran took first in Lincoln Douglas Debate. Co-champions in Policy Debate were senior Alex Noronha and junior Naman Trivedi, and seniors Riyaz Shah and Tyler Arnold.
“I don’t know if people can fully appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment,” said Bellarmine principal Chris Meyercord. “To win the state title in speech just one time is an accomplishment. To do it six years running is just remarkable. And the only way that happens is through the incredibly hard work of our dedicated coaching staff, and the students who spend countless hours not only practicing their own speeches and debating skills, but also coaching and mentoring the students who are newer to the program. “
In addition to Kim Jones, Bellarmine’s Speech and Debate coaches included Chris Wolf, Bill Healy, Dee Dee Sullivan, Mikael Meyer, Dan Baxter and Dylan Groves.
Bellarmine has won the California State Speech and Debate Championship 15 times in the past 23 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:
First - 138 points - Bellarmine College Prep
Co-Champions* - Alex Noronha/Naman Trivedi, Riyaz Shah/Tyler Arnold
Third - Matt Zajac/Aaron Langerman
Double Octas - Aditya Limaye/Madhu Vijay
Lincoln Douglas Debate
First - Delbert Tran
Semifinalist - Ryan Baer
Semifinalist - Anshul Samar
Quarterfinalist - Ronny Mukherjee
Double Octafinalist - Kshithij Shrinath
Public Forum Debate
Second - Nikhil Buduma/John Cherian
Second - Tanay Kothari
Finalist (14th) - Aditya Mukund
First - Matt Zajac
Fifth - Delbert Tran
Sixth - Alex Noronha
Seventh - Adam Pramono
Sixteenth - Ankit Mathur
Tenth - Rahul Lodhavia
Fifth - Naman Trivedi
Eleventh - Varun Khurana
Fifteenth - Riyaz Shah
Ninth - Matt Delateur
Tenth - Sricharan Gopakumar
Seventeenth - Anshul Samar
Seventeenth - Aditya Limaye
Third - Madhu Vijay
Fourth - James Thomas
Eleventh - John Cherian