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2020-21 National Points Race, Nationals Update: Rollins, Dharmapurikar, Veluvali, Pattathunaduvil and Holley Each Claim a Title

Welcome to the final monthly update on the standings and tournament results for the 2020-21 National Points Race! This edition features the results from the end-of-season “national” tournaments: the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions, the Northwestern University Extemp Tournament of Champions, the National Catholic Forensics League Grand Nationals, and the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament. Final standings for the season have been published separately.

Every year, the speech and debate season ends with a series of “national” tournaments – ones that not only attract a range of national competitors, but often require qualifications to enter and compete in. This year, four national tournaments are recognized by the National Points Race.

The first is the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions (colloquially, the ToC), a Tier 2 tournament. At the event, which occurred on the weekend of April 16th, Kay Rollins of the Potomac School (VA) achieved a remarkable accomplishment: she championed the tournament for the third consecutive time in Extemp, combining with her 2020 championship in Original Oratory to win a cumulative four ToC titles in three years. Runner-up was McKinley Paltzik of the Phoenix Country Day School (AZ), who beat third-place finisher and fellow Arizonan Katelyn Cai of BASIS Scottsdale by just one rank. Fourth, fifth, and sixth belonged to Vikash Giritharan of Eastview High School (MN), Mukta Dharmapurikar of Durham Academy (NC), and Tilly Robinson of Bloomington High School South (IN), making her first National Points Race appearance this year.

Semifinalists, each earning 450 points, are Ryan Alappatt (Bellarmine College Prep, CA), Michelle Jin (Harker, CA), Cade Savoy (Teurlings Catholic, LA), Owen Thompson (Bellarmine College Prep, CA), Marc Zavarro (Western, FL), and Allen Zhang (A&M Consolidated, TX).

The National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament was held from May 26 – 30, marking the second national tournament of the season. The tournament is a second tier tournament for the points race. While there is no automatic qualification for the NCFL Grand National tournament, all semifinalists and finalists at this tournament automatically qualify to participate at next season’s University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions.

Winning the NCFL national title was Ananth Valuvali of Edina High School (MN), who not only took home the title but also picket fenced the final round, or received a rank of 1 from all the judges. Dharmapurikar was the runner up, earning herself 1000 points towards the points race. In third and fourth place respectively were Cade Savoy and Rushikesh Kulkarni of Upper St. Clair High School (PA). Rounding out the final round at NCFL Nationals were Karam Weigert of Woodrow Wilson High School (DC), and Faye Zhang of Eastview High School (MN), earning themselves 700 and 600 points for fifth and sixth place respectively. 

Semifinalists at the tournament received 450 points each, and included Rowan Haffner (Scarsdale, NY), Kay Rollins, Daniel Kind (Lake Highland Prep, FL),Tanvi Adige (Rosemount, MN), Diya Bhatt (Providence, NC), and Rithika Prasad (Shrewsbury, MA).

The Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions marks the second of only three tier one tournament of the season. The tournament is known for its incredibly competitive field coupled with high quality judging. 

NCFL runner-up Dharmapurikar took first place at the tournament, earning herself 1600 points towards the national points race. One rank behind Dharmapurikar was Rollins, who earned 1400 points for her second place finish. In third place was Cameron Roberts of Jack C. Hays High School (TX). One rank behind Roberts was Kind, who earned another 1200 points. In fifth and sixth place were Veluvali and Charles Hou of Plano West Sr. (TX) respectively, rounding out the final round. 

Semifinalists at ETOC earned 550 points each towards the national points race. Semifinalists included fellow MBA invitees Peter Alisky (Smoky Hill, CO) and Katelyn Cai, Anushka Kumar (Plano West Sr., TX), and teammates Kyle LettererGabriel Bo, and Madeline Tsao (Jasper, TX).

The last – and arguably, most prestigious – tournament of the season is the National Speech and Debate Tournament (NSDAs), which is also the only tournament where final round winners (“President’s Bowl” champions) receive extra points and where semifinal rounds (of fourteen competitors) are ranked. At NSDAs, the International and United States categories are awarded separately, since competitors can only enter one each.

In International Extemp, Pranav Pattatathunaduvil of Plano West Senior High School (TX) claimed a hard-earned victory to win the 2021 championship. The President’s Bowl, however belonged to Dharmapurikar, who won the final round with 35 cumulative ranks and finished second. Third was Rollins, who finished just three ranks behind Dharmapurikar. The IX round featured more familiar faces from previous national finals, as Paltzik took fourth and Jin placed fifth. Natasha Banga of Coppell High School (TX) had her strongest performance of the season with a sixth-place finish.

Semifinalists are 2019 NSDA IX Champion Angela Wang (Plano West Sr., TX) in seventh, Allison Herring (Eastview, MN) in eighth, Ashok Ramkumar (Bellarmine College Prep, CA) in ninth, Ethan Jiang (Seven Lakes, TX) in tenth, Shreyas Sriram (Cherry Creek, CO) in eleventh, Daniel Kind in twelfth, Marc Zavarro in thirteenth, and Iesh Gujral (Eden Prairie, MN) in fourteenth. All non-seniors in the Top 14 are automatically auto-qualified for the 2022 NSDA Tournament in International Extemp.

In United States Extemp, Laurel Holley of Riverside High School (SC) made a splash with her first national tournament victory on the country’s biggest stage. While ranked within the Top 25 previously, this was Holley’s best result of the season by far; she beat out formidable competition – such as Gabriel Frank-McPheter of Gabrielino High School (CA), who placed second, and William Chien of the Harker School (CA) in third to claim both the championship and the President’s Bowl. In fourth was Veluvali, while fifth featured Timothy Huffman of Lawrence Free State High School (KS) making his first appearance in a National Points Race event. The finals were closed out by Cai, who placed sixth.

Semifinalists were Kush Narang (Bellarmine College Prep, CA) in seventh, Kyle Letterer in eighth, Josh Morganstein (Miramonte, CA) in ninth, Vikash Giritharan (Eastview, MN) in tenth, Faye Zhang in eleventh, Sean Nguyen (Thomas Jefferson, VA) in twelfth, Coltrane Drexler (Pflugerville, TX) in thirteenth, and Kate Carline (Rock Hill, TX) in fourteenth. All non-seniors in the Top 14 are automatically auto-qualified for the 2022 NSDA Tournament in United States Extemp.

Congratulations to all national champions, finalists, and placers! We hope everyone had a great 2020-2021 season in extemp.

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