2020-21 National Points Race, September Update: Paltzik Claims Yale Championship, Dharmapurikar Wins Season Opener, Tjan Takes Duke

Welcome to the first of nine monthly updates on the standings and tournament results for the 2020-21 National Points Race! This edition features the results from the UK Season Opener, the Duke Invitational, and the Yale Invitational.

The 2020-21 National Points Race has begun! The season opened with the University of Kentucky Speech and Debate Season Opener, which was held online from September 12th – September 13th. Along with the Duke Invitational, which was held online from September 19th – September 20th, the UK Season Opener was not initially listed as a National Points Race tournament in July. Nonetheless, the strength and size of the competition pool at both tournaments led us to bump them both up to a Tier 5 tournament for this season. If their strength continues next year, they will remain points-earning events next year; if not, they will lose their statuses.

At UK, 2020 MBA Invitee Mukta Dharmapurikar, who competes for Durham Academy (NC), continued her streak of success by winning the tournament. One rank behind was 2020 NSDA finalist Peter Alisky of Smoky Hill High School (CO). In third place was Krishna Sanaka of the Hawken School (OH), while fourth place was fellow Ohioan Brady Condon of University School (OH). Fifth and sixth place finishers were Alex Sorgini of La Salle High School (PA) and Caroline Xie of Princeton High School (NJ) respectively.

Semifinalists and UKTOC bid earners (but without points) are Dev Ahuja (Solon, OH), Katelyn Cai (BASIS Scottsdale, AZ), Neha Modak (Milton, MA), Molly Xiao (Hawken, OH), Aditya Kalahasti (Solon, OH), and Antonina Clementi (Teurlings Catholic, LA).

One week later, at Duke, competitor Tyler Tjan of the Milton Academy (MA) took first, narrowly beating out Peter Alisky on reciprocals; both had final round cumulative rankings of 12. In a close third was Laurel Holley of Riverside High School (SC), and behind her was Mary Courtney Finn of Battle Ground Academy (TN). Tjan’s teammate Neha Modak placed fifth, while Diya Bhatt of Providence High School (NC) rounded out the event’s finalists.

While not receiving National Points Race recognition, Sean Nguyen (Thomas Jefferson, VA), Sydney Carroll (Battle Ground, TN), Grace Kim (Pine View, FL), Giselle Rasquinha (Syosset, NY), Pedro Manon (Har-Ber, AR), Samarth Nagaraj (Ridge, NJ), Natasha Banga (Coppell, TX), and Chirag Choudhary (Unionville, PA) also received bids to the UKTOC alongside the six finalists.

Finally, at the 2020 Yale Invitational, also held online from October 2nd – October 4th, 155 competitors from all across the US (and one from Canada!) competed at the first Tier 3 event of the season.

In the final round, sophomore McKinley Paltzik of Phoenix Country Day School (AZ) claimed the championship comfortably, beating out Ethan Jiang, who hails from Seven Lakes High School (TX), by six ranks. UK Season Opener champion Mukta Dharmapurikar‘s third-place effort pushed her above Paltzik to claim first in the current National Points Race standing as she beat fourth-place finisher Charles Hou of Plano West Sr. High School (TX) on reciprocals. Fifth-place finisher Kush Narang of Bellarmine College Preparatory (CA) was only one rank behind. Rounding out the finals was Gabriel Frank-McPheter from Gabrielino High School (CA) in sixth place.

Semifinalists (and UKTOC bid receivers) included Katherine Rollins (Potomac, VA), Rowan Haffner (Scarsdale, NY), Aniyah Nelson (Hawken, OH), Marc Zavarro (Western, FL), Jason Hu (Strath Haven, PA), and Anushka Kumar (Plano West Sr., TX). They will receive 250 points for their placement, while quarterfinalists will receive 100 points each.

You can find the full results for UK Season Opener here.

You can find the full results for Duke here.

You can find the full results for Yale here.

Here are the current standings for the 2020-21 National Points Race:

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