Debate team continues solid start, varsity duo qualify for national tournament


Charlotte Henderson

Varsity debaters Connor Booth and Adam Cheema secured a bid to the Tournament of Champions by advancing to semifinals in the Mamaroneck Longhorn Classic and Mahi Shah and Cyrus Esmailzadeh earned a full scholarship for a summer debate camp.

Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu, Assistant Editor

At recent debate tournaments, students have done well across all divisions gaining experience and two members of the team have qualified for a national tournament.

Debate teammates Mahi Shah and Cyrus Esmailzadeh have qualified for the Tournament of Champions, a national high school debate tournament held in April that is considered to be one of the most prestigious on the circuit.

They secured their spot by winning the Iowa Caucus tournament held Oct. 28-30 in Cedar Rapids. Mahi and Cyrus were seeded second, winning the finals. They were first and sixth best speakers respectively. 

Mahi said that the partnership this season has worked well. 

“We’ve had a good start to the season,” she said. “Even though we have a lot of competitors who are definitely tough, we’ve been going to tournaments and proving ourselves.” 

Cyrus said it felt good to accomplish something that they had worked hard toward, but acknowledged there is still a lot of work to be done.

In other tournaments, the debate team finished with an even 3-3 record at the University of Michigan tournament from Nov. 4-6. 

Novice debaters also competed for the first time at Northside College Prep from Oct. 21-22, and varsity debaters Sasha Duda and Sid Misra went 4-2.

Debate coach Sonny Patel is optimistic for the team for the rest of the season. He is especially excited to have so many novices and new members. He believes that relationships across duos and divisions provide a strong foundation for the team. 

“The varsity are quite invested in seeing the younger generation grow,” he said. 

The team itself also fosters an encouraging environment for all members to learn and gain experience, no matter what level they are.

Dr. Patel said, “We’ve definitely got challenges but there’s so much growth that’s happening at every division of our team.”