Over the past weekend, the very first tournament for the National Points Race commenced. The University of Kentucky’s National Speech and Debate Season Opener was held virtually (for extemp) this year, which explains the variety in competition—the tournament drew in over 40 entries from across the world, and after 4 prelim rounds, a semifinals, and a final round, the Extemper’s Bible is ready to award the first points of the season.
Since the UK Season Opener is a tier 5 tournament, only the finalists will earn points. If you are interested in the tiering system for this year, check out this article where we break it down.
This year, Amy Cao from Ridge HS (NJ) took the title. Cao had an impressive season last year, and this win only furthers that momentum. Out of the 5 judges, Cao took 3 first place ranks, and placed a comfortable 4 rank difference between first and second place. For this achievement, Cao will earn 400 points, and a lead in the NPR.
Brandon Cheng (Flintridge Prep, CA) took second. Cheng was in the top 25 for the 2022-2023 NPR, and this finish creates a strong start for him. Capturing most of the 2’s and a 1, Cheng earned 300 points for his accomplishment.
Rounding out the top three is Aparna Iyer, also from Ridge (NJ). Over time, Ridge has produced some strong extempers, and now, it is signaled by two final finishes at the Season Opener. Iyer had a comfortable lead to 3rd place, and this placement will give her 250 points.
Fourth is Sruti Peddi (BASIS Scottsdale, AZ). Peddi was the runner up to the NPR last year, and it seems that she is getting an early start this year. In the final round, while Peddi scored a few 6’s, she also earned a 2 and a 3 which pushed her up to 4th. This gives her 200 points in the NPR.
In fifth place is Sumedh Seetharam from Scottsdale Prep (AZ). There was a one point difference between fourth and fifth, making it an incredibly close call. Additionally, Seetharam tied Daniel Song of East Ridge (MN) — they both earned a cume of 23 in the final round, but a tiebreaker based on the judge’s preference gave the 5th to Seetharam. For their placements, Seetharam and Song will earn 150 and 100 points respectively.
Congratulations to all of the competitors! More updates will be posted in October, after the Yale Invitational (CT).