In The Schools

Montville Forensics Team Faring Well in Recent Competitions

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Members of the Montville Township High School Forensics Team From left to right: James Burnett, Claire Sullivan, Noah Weinflash, Shawn Brelvi, Stacy Wang, Jay Sirot, Vatsal Patel. Credits: Melissa Benno
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MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville Township High School forensics team has been attending competitions nearly every weekend and performing well at each tournament.

The weekend of Jan. 9, the team participated in three separate competitions at different locations. 

The Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum debate teams competed at the Newark City Invitational competition at Science Park High School in Newark.  Lincoln-Douglas debate is one on one, specialized debate regarding a resolution.  Public Forum debate is two on two debate regarding a resolution.  Teams are required to debate either pro or con over the course of the day and Public Forum teams don’t find out which side they must argue until they enter the debate room.

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James Min was named a double octafinalist in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate at that competition, while Parth Agrawal was named a double octafinalist and Andrew Sun-Yan was named octafinalist in the Novice Lincoln-Debate category. 

Enoch Jo placed as a quarterfinalist and attained a Second Speaker Award in the Novice Lincoln-Debate category.  “Double octafinalists” and octafinalists are winners of preliminary rounds.  “Second Speaker” means that out of all the competitors in the tournament (in novice Lincoln-Debate), Jo had the second-highest speaker points.

That same weekend, the Speech forensics team members had a competition at Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY.  The Speech category is composed of two sub-categories: Public Address, which is speeches, and Interpretation, which is considered acting.  Anjali Shah received an honorable mention in Declamation, Nithya Cheenepalli placed eleventh, and Arushi Gupta placed tenth.  Declamation is a Public Address event in which a competitor memorizes someone else's speech (a college commencement address, a TED talk, etc) and performs it.

In Extemporaneous speaking, which is a seven-minute speech on a current event, Chris Mayer placed eighth.  In the Congress division, Matt Pilsbury placed eleventh, and Pranav Kumar placed fourth.  All the novice-level congressional debaters who attended the competition were placed in the top eight competitors by the judges in their chambers.   “This is impressive for novices,” stated club president Noah Weinflash.

Also that weekend, three forensics team members traveled to the Sunvitational competition in Plantation, Florida.  Weinflash was a quarterfinalist in both Original Oratory (a speech about a topic) and Impromptu (a five-minute speech with only two minutes’ prep allowed), and he placed in the semifinals in Extemporaneous Speaking (a seven-minute speech about a current event).  James Burnett was a quarterfinalist in Oral Interpretation (which is a prose or poetry reading), and took fifth place in Dramatic Interpretation (performing ten minutes of a play).  Jay Sirot was a semifinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking, and took third place in Impromptu.

Two competitions took place the weekend of Jan. 17, one at Freehold Township High School, and the other at Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains.

At Freehold, Andrew Hong took first place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Novice), and Enoch Jo took second place in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Novice).  Andrew Sun-Yan took fifth place in Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate.  Asher Gilani was named Top Novice in Improvisational Acting and Vatsal Patel placed fourth in the Congress.  The Montville Team placed fifth in overall points.

At the Newark competition, Claire Sullivan and James Burnett placed first in Duo Interpretation and James Min placed first in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  Christopher Mayer placed second in Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, Zach Feldman placed second in Dramatic Performance, and Alexandros Pandazis placed third in Oral Interpretation.  Pranav Kumar placed third in Congress, Natasha Dusaj placed fifth and Noah Weinflash placed sixth in Original Oratory.  Thilaka Arunachalam placed sixth in Extemporaneous Speaking.  The team placed second in overall points.

“The weekend of January 31st is the Ridge Invitational at Basking Ridge, which is a large regional tournament which often garners competitors from the tri-state area,” stated Weinflash. “We have many kids currently in the running to make it to Catholic Forensics League [CFL] nationals.”

 “President's Day Weekend is the Harvard tournament,” continued Weinflash. “We're sending about 40 students to compete against people from all over the country. There are over 350 competitors in most categories and it is the largest non-national tournament of the year.”

Advisor Mary Gormley stated, “This Speech and Debate season is quickly moving towards its height. Harvard is imminent, there are three more local tournaments to qualify us for the New Jersey Speech and Debate League State Tournament, and the Montville Tournament [to be held at MTHS] is on track to be bigger and better than ever on February 28th.”

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