2014 St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational: Sridharan Wins IX; Cash Defends Booker T. Washington’s Title in USX; Lin Scores National Points Race Win

st. marksThe 2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race continued last weekend at the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational. The tournament, a fifth tier contest in the National Points Race, is one of two tournaments in this year’s competition that allows extempers to compete in International and United States Extemp. In International Extemp, Abhinav Sridharan of Plano Senior High School (TX), who won the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Championship in International Extemp last season, finished three ranks ahead of teammate Kishan Srikanth to take the title. Phoebe Lin of Plano West Senior High School (TX) tied Srikanth for second place, but fell to third place on a judge’s tiebreaker.  Sridharan is the first Plano Senior extemper to win the IX category at St. Mark’s since the 2010-2011 season.

In United States Extemp, Micah Cash of Booker T. Washington High School (OK), a quarterfinalist at last year’s Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) at Northwestern University, successfully defended his team’s championship in the event by beating Lin by two ranks in the final round. Lin’s teammate Matthew Feng took third place.

To avoid double counting in the National Points Race, Extemp Central awards fifth tier points to the six extempers who had the best performances in each extemp category. Despite not winning either event, Lin will earn the forty first place points from St. Mark’s due to her high placing in IX and USX. She will also be credited with a victory in the National Points Race standings. Cash and Sridharan had the same point total when their finishes in both categories were calculated, so they will split the points awarded to a third and fourth place finisher in the National Points Race and receive twenty-four points each.  The six extempers who will receive points, as well as the extemper who finished next out in the competition, can be found at the bottom of the results listing.

All of the extempers who made the semifinal round of their respective extemp category earned qualifying legs to the 2015 Extemp TOC. Four extempers – Feng, Neil Patel of Plano West, Sridharan, and Srikanth – earned their TOC qualification at the tournament due to their performance in both category. Five other extempers earned their first qualifying legs. All of the extempers that earned a qualifying leg are indicated in italics below.

Here are the results of the 2014 St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational (Click here for tab sheet):
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HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of October 20th-26th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Should the international community be worried about Venezuela winning a UN Security Council seat?
2. Has a higher consumption tax damaged Japan’s economic recovery?
3. Should the EU change its migration rules?
4. Is German austerity holding back the world economy?
5. How would the EU’s recognition of a Palestinian state affect the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
6. Will Marina Silva’s endorsement enable Aecio Neves to capture the Brazilian presidency?
7. How should the Catholic Church handle homosexuality?
8. Are investors concerns about Greece’s economic future justified?
9. Should the international community be concerned about ISIS developing an air force capability?
10. Will Ukraine’s political purge do more harm than good?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of October 20th-26th, 2014

HOTtopics1. What is the most important gubernatorial race in this year’s midterms?
2. How should Detroit handle unpaid water bills?
3. Does the U.S. really need an Ebola czar?
4. How will the Ebola scare affect the American airline industry?
5. Does the Democratic Party have a male problem?
6. Was Houston’s subpoena of pastors sermons a violation of the First Amendment?
7. Does the U.S. have an Islamophobia problem?
8. Will the era of “a la carte television” be good for consumers?
9. Did Democratic midterm candidates make a poor strategic choice in running away from President Obama?
10. Will Texas’s voter ID law become a template for other states?

R&D from Prepd: Weekly Roundup for the Week of October 13th-October 19th, 2014

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

Here is our weekly survey of news stories to round out the week of October 6th-October 12th, 2014.

Good luck to all of the extempers attending St. Mark’s and the New York City Invitational.  If you have the results of the Crestian Tradition, please send them to me at logan.scisco@topper.wku.edu so that we can add them to our TOC qualification board.

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2014-2015 Extemp Central National Points Race: How St. Mark’s Results Will Be Calculated

st. marksStarting tomorrow, the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational will take place in Dallas, Texas.  The tournament is unique in that it allows extempers to do both United States and International extemp.  The St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational is a fifth tier tournament and is the third tournament of the year in the Extemp Central National Points Race.

To award points at this event, Extemp Central will combine extempers performance in both parts of the tournament in US and International extemp.  For each part of the tournament extempers will receive points based on their finish.  The points they can receive are as follows:

1st place = 1 pt.
2nd place = 3 pts.
3rd place = 5 pts.
4th place = 7 pts.
5th place = 9 pts.
6th place = 10 pts.
Semi-Finalist = 15 pts.
Quarter-Finalist = 25 pts.
Non-Break = 35 pts.

The top six extempers with the lowest total of points will be awarded the 1st-6th National Points Race fifth pier points.  This will prevent a double counting of St. Mark’s.  Extemp Central encourages anyone attending the tournament to send us information on finalists and final placings so that we can recognize those individuals in a timely manner.

Extemp Central wishes everyone competing at St. Mark’s this weekend good luck.

R&D from Prepd: Leon Panetta’s Criticisms of President Obama

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D provides resources for former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s criticisms of President Obama.  Panetta’s new book Worthy Fights criticizes President Obama for pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq and argues that the President is sheltered by advisers that are distrustful of the military.  Since Panetta was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff between 1994 and 1997, some have argued that his book is meant to weaken President Obama so as to make Hillary Clinton look better for 2016.

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R&D from Prepd: Sino-American Relations

l_2Today’s R&D is brought to you by Prepd, the only software built specifically for extemp. Prepd makes it easy to research, practice, and compete!  Visit www.prepd.in to learn more. Like Prepd on Facebook for special info and contests.

This R&D covers Sino-American relations.  The People’s Republic of China has benefited significantly from its trade relationship with the United States, but as its power grows in Asia it is challenging American allies in the region such as South Korea and Japan.  Due to the recent protests in Hong Kong, some politicians on Capitol Hill want the U.S. to take a harsher line on China’s human rights record.

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HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of October 13th-19th, 2014

HOTtopics1. Should President Obama close Gitmo via executive order?
2. Is Amazon’s decision to open a physical retail location a mistake?
3. How should the U.S. handle China’s human rights record?
4. Are companies doing enough to prevent data breaches?
5. Is Sam Brownback making a comeback in Kansas?
6. Are U.S. efforts against ISIS failing?
7. Who should the progressive left back for the presidency in 2016?
8. Are Leon Panetta’s criticisms about President Obama’s foreign policy correct?
9. Has the CDC done a poor job educating the public about Ebola?
10. Are the Republicans in danger of losing the South Dakota Senate election?

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of October 13th-19th, 2014

1. Why are political tensions increasing in Mozambique?
2. How can the international community promote female education in the developing world?HOTtopics
3. Are North Korea-South Korean relations on the mend?
4. Is Europe prepared for an Ebola outbreak?
5. What role should Egypt play in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
6. Will the ICC convict Uhuru Kenyatta?
7. Is Bolivia doing enough to reduce violence against women?
8. Will the Bahraini opposition’s boycott of November elections backfire?
9. What is the best way to resolve the India-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir?
10. Are human rights campaigns in the developing world neo-imperialistic?