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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Screamin’ Eagles succeed at qualifiers

By Kaylee Chan | Editor in Chief

Bren Belmonte | Tongva Times
FLYING TO NATS The nine Screamin’ Eagles National Qualifiers celebrate their win.

   From the end of February through March, the Gabrielino High School Screamin’ Eagles Speech and Debate team competed in four qualifier tournaments to determine eligibility for the National and State speech tournaments later in the school year. In total, the team will be sending nine students to Nationals and 22 students to State.

   Additionally, the Screamin’ Eagles won the Southern California Debate League Championships for the 26th year in a row, beating Arcadia High School by over a hundred points.

   On March 10-11, the East Los Angeles District Tournament took place at San Marino High School. The top three in each category advanced to the overnight National Championship tournament on June 10-12 in Arizona.

   The Informative category was dominated by Gabrielino students, with all top three spots taken up by junior Kate Hamamoto, senior Violet Wang, and senior Jordan Liu. The other qualifiers were senior Aidan Scannell in Humor, junior Sherry Shi in Dramatic Interpretation (DI), juniors Thao Le and Allyson Lay in Duo, and sophomore Veena Sundaramoorthy in Program Oral Interpretation.

   “Three or two weeks before [Nationals], I cut an entire book into a ten-minute speech that I was really, really proud of… after that, it was non-stop memorizing, non-stop practice,” said Shi, who won second in DI with an interpretation of the book Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.

   The East Los Angeles Tournament for Debate took place on March 18 at Flintridge Preparatory School. Senior Gabriel Sundaramoorthy won first in Congress, but he elected to compete in U.S. Extemporaneous at Nationals instead.

   The Southern California Speech and Debate League State Quals Tournament took place on Feb. 25 at Montebello High School for Speech, and on March 4 at Schurr High School for Debate, with the top six in each category advancing. A total of 22 Gabrielino students in ten categories qualified and will be participating in the State Championships at Carlsbad, California on April 20-23.

   “I caught some kind of cold or virus so my voice sounded very nasally[…] also, it was cold and raining on the day of the tournament,” noted junior Emi Naito, who won first place in Declamation. “But I really gave it my all so I ended up doing really well.”

   Those with dominant placements in the Fall and Spring Varsity tournaments auto-qualified to State and did not have to compete at State Quals.

   Both the National and State qualifying tournaments consisted of three preliminary rounds, one semi-final round, and 

See Speech Qualifiers, page 7

one final round, though the format varied slightly by category. 

   Overall, the team’s performance during the qualifying season echoed the dominance of previous years. However, in addition to their victories, the Screamin’ Eagles faced many narrow losses throughout this tournament season.

   “This was the year of fourth places. In Speech, we took five out of eight fourth places, and for Debate, we took another fourth place[…] we barely missed qualifying a lot of people,” said Sundaramoorthy, who attended all four tournaments.

   Prior to the qualifying tournaments, the Speech and Debate team spent long hours practicing after school, during lunch, and in Embedded Time. This lengthy work will likely be continued in the coming weeks as students ready themselves for more high-stakes competitions.

   “[Regarding] the group of students who qualified for State and Nationals, I am extremely confident that they will do everything they can do as best they can,” said Derek Yuill, the Speech and Debate coach. “They are not happy with just being qualified. They understand the history. They understand the level of excellence at this program. I think that that’s the key.”

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Screamin’ Eagles succeed at qualifiers