The Bellarmine Speech and Debate Team wins State Title for the second year in a row!

by Peter Ly ’23

This past weekend, a total of 54 Bellarmine debaters competed at the California High School Speech and Debate Tournament hosted at Carlsbad High School at Carlsbad, California. They qualified through a series of state qualifying tournaments during the first part of March this year, and after over a month of preparation, were able to pool together their efforts to bring home a second consecutive state title for Bellarmine.

After an arduous 9+ hour trip down to SoCal, the Bells took on three days of competition against dozens of schools across California. On Friday and Saturday, all of the preliminary rounds took place, and after day-long competition on Sunday, the Bells were able to come out on top.

These were the Bellarmine competitors who made it to elimination rounds at State:

Congressional Debate: Akilan Dorairaj ’24 – 7th, Varun Vemulapalli ’23 – 9th, Aswin Surya ’24 – semifinalist

Declamation: JP Mitiguy ’23 – semifinalist, Varnit Dutta ’25 – semifinalist

Impromptu: Arnav Dhingra ’23 – state champion, Daniel Chu ’25 – 5th

Informative Speaking: Gavin Griffin ’24 – 5th, Owen Botkin ’23 – 7th, Casey Chen ’23 – semifinalist

International Extemporaneous Speaking: Rohit Vakkalagadda ’24 – state champion, Oliver Owen ’23 – 4th, Francis Olakangil ’23 – 5th, Shamit D’Souza ’25 – semifinalist, Joseph Thomas ’23 – semifinalist, Surya Krishnapillai ’24 – semifinalist, Aarnav Nagabhirava ’25 – semifinalist

Lincoln-Douglas Debate: Arshon Keyani ’23 – quarterfinalist, Casey Chen ’23 – quarterfinalist, Anirudh Mani ’23 – octofinalist

National Extemporaneous Speaking: Rohan Lingam ’24 – semifinalist, Aadi Chauhan ’24 – semifinalist, Anirudh Mani ’23 – semifinalist, Arshon Keyani ’23 – semifinalist, Zane Hensley ’23 – semifinalist

Original Advocacy: Nihaal Konda ’23 – 3rd; Jeremy Wang ’23 – semifinalist

Original Oratory: Stanton Nowinski ’23 – semifinalist, Saketh Dasaradhi ’24 – semifinalist

Parliamentary Debate: Arnav Dhingra ’23 & Stanton Nowinski ’23 – semifinalists

Policy Debate: Rishi Dinesh ’23 & Neal Dwivedula ’23 – 2nd, Nihaal Konda ’23 & Jeremy Wang ’23 – quarterfinalists, Surya Krishnapillai ’24 & Rohan Lingam ’24 – quarterfinalists, Adarsh Nallapa ’23 & Alex Grabowski ’23 – octofinalists, Shamit D’Souza ’25 & Samarjit Deshmukh ’25 – octofinalists

PO: Abhi Nagabhirava ’23 – semifinalists

As for sweekstakes awards, Bellarmine won state with a large margin of victory: we had 130 points in comparison to 2nd place James Logan with 107 and 3rd place Mitty with 104 points.

© Aaron Langerman

This June, Bellarmine will attend NSDA Nationals in Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona, and let’s hope they can bring this momentum over there as well to close out the season, and be the top school in the nation for three years in a row.

Go Bells!

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