Bells Finish as Top 10 School at Natl Speech & Debate Tourney

Posted: June 22, 2015

Ten speech and debaters gave it their all at the National Speech and Debate Tournament June 15-19 in Dallas, each qualifying for the semifinals of their events, or higher, and collectively posting more points at the competition than teams twice their size. Their reward was recognition as a top ten school, earning designation as a School of Outstanding Distinction.

Most events at the national tournament begin with 265 qualifiers, so closing out the tournament with semifinal or higher placements by all 10 members of the team was a major accomplishment and a first for Bellarmine. The Bells also celebrated teammate Rohan Dhoopar's second consecutive finals appearance in International Extemporaneous, a feat that is very difficult. Speech and debate coach DeeDee Sullivan said "Getting back to the stage two years in a row, especially after graduating and having college in his sights, is incredibly, incredibly hard. It is a true testament to his talent and hard work." Dhoopar ultimately placed sixth in his event.

Final Results:

School of Outstanding Distinction
Bruno E. Jacob/Pi Kappa Delta National Award in Speech: 7th
Karl E. Mundt Sweepstakes Award, John C. Stennis Congressional Debate: 4th

Viraj Thakur 3rd Impromptu
Rohan Dhoopar 6th Intl Extemporaneous
Neil Tagare 10th Intl Extemporaneous
Omkar Savant 7th Lincoln Douglas Debate
Ani Prabhu / Vinay Ayyappan 9th Policy Debate
Ankur Mahesh / Ian Brown 13th Policy Debate
Vinay Ayyappan 7th Policy Debate Speaker Award
Ankur Mahesh 11th Policy Debate Speaker Award
Viraj Thakur 4th World Schools Debate Speaker Award
Keshav Goel Final Congressional Debate - House
William Pramono Semi-Final Congressional Debate - House 4

In related news, Kim Jones, longtime Bellarmine educator and speech and debate program director/coach, was inducted to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Hall of Fame, at a ceremony held during the national tournament. Each year, nominations are sought from member students and coaches, and current Hall of Fame members and coaches with at least three diamonds vote to determine which nominees will be elected members of this most distinguished body.

Go Bells!

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