Debaters Excel at TFA State Competition

By Shawkin Kabir, Dreamcatcher Poetry & Prose Editor

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  • The Westwood Speech and Debate team poses for a picture. The team achieved many successes this year.

    Photo By Mr. Ruishi Wang

  • Daniel Shi '20 and Vikas Burugu '20 pose for a picture. They won first place in the policy debate division for the state tournament.

    Photo By Mr. Ruishi Wang

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The bus was bustling with students full of anticipation as they started their journey to El Paso. After a whole year of preparation, stress, and hard work, debaters qualified and attended the long-awaited Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Tournament. The prestigious tournament was held at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas, and began on Thursday, March 5 and ended on the night of Saturday, March 7. The tournament was a highlight for many students as they had earned the ability to compete against some of the best debaters in the state. This year the tournament was particularly special as Westwood debaters Vikas Burugu ‘20 and Daniel Shi ‘20 won first place in Texas in the partner event of policy debate.

“To have to accomplish something as a team requires a lot of trust in each other and a lot of continual faith that they [a debate partner] will do well and be consistent, and so I have Vikas to thank for the majority of my success,” Shi said. “I think that out of debate the fondest memories I have will not be what exact arguments were made [during the debates], but those moments in between, like talking with people in the hallway, being able to make friends with people who you normally can’t make friends with, and the fun nights in the hotel room. Those are all the things I’ll remember instead of the specific debates.”


Varsity Policy (CX) Debate:

First Place: Daniel Shi ’20 – Vikas Burugu ’20

Double Octo-Finalists: Ruhee Nemawarkar ’22 – Katherine Yan ’22

Varsity Lincoln Douglas (LD) Debate:

Triple Octo-Finalists:

Alice Zhang ’20

Anoop Rachakonda ’22

Varsity Public Forum (PF) Debate:

Triple Octo-Finalists:

Harsha Rajesh ’20 – Anand Singh ’21

Raymond Sun ’21 – Mahir Kota ’20

Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking:

Quarter-Finalists: Sonny Stenson ’20

Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking:

Fourth Place: Anurima Mummaneni ’20

Impromptu Speaking:

Sixth Place: Hrushikesh Saranu ’22

Quarter-Finalists: Aman Tewari ’22