The last National Points Race tournament of the first semester took place last weekend at the George Mason University Patriot Games, held on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Josh Wartel of Lake Braddock Secondary School (VA) won his first National Points Race event of the season, defeating arguably the most competitive field at a national circuit tournament this season. In a final round that featured five competitors in the top fifteen of the National Points Race and the winners of four Extemporaneous Speaking Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifying tournaments, Wartel defeated Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) by judges’ preference after both competitors earned a cumulative total of nine ranks from the five finals judges. Wartel took three of the first place ranks in the final round, whereas Graham took the other two. The final round was largely a duel between Wartel and Graham, as their combined cumulative total was double that of the third place finisher, Brian Anderson of LaRue County High School (KY) who took second at last year’s Patriot Games.
Wartel was also the winner of the tournament’s round robin competition, becoming the second extemper in the last three years to win both the general tournament and the round robin event. In that competition, Wartel defeated Eitan Sapiro-Gheiler of Durham Academy (NC). Graham took third.
The victory at GMU is Wartel’s second national circuit win in as many weeks, as he won Villiger the week prior to competing in Fairfax.
All of the competitors who reached elimination rounds earned points toward this year’s National Points Race. National Points Race leader Jack Glaser of George Washington High School (CO) qualified for elimination rounds, but was knocked out in quarter-finals. Sapiro-Gheiler and Yijia Liang of Upper Arlington High School (OH), who took fourth, made their fourth National Points Race final of the year, which is more than any other competitor.
The Extemp TOC at Northwestern University awards qualification legs to all extempers who made the quarter-final round and beyond at GMU. Ten extempers – Thomas Abel of the Delbarton School (NJ), Varun Bhatia of Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Robby Cummins of Good Counsel High School (MD), Glaser, Clare Halsey and Sejal Waghray of Ridge High School (NJ), Jad Hamdan of Jackson High School (OH), Alexander Hirsch of Stuyvesant High School (NY), Abhishek Kodumugalla of Durham Academy (NC), and Bill Peebles of Cary Academy (NC) – completed their TOC qualification by earning a second leg. Twenty other extempers earned their first qualifying leg at GMU. All of those earning a TOC qualifying leg are indicated in italics in the results listing.
All of the finalists earned an automatic qualification to the University of Kentucky TOC in April, but all of them were previously qualified.
Here are the results from the 2014 George Mason University Patriot Games (Click here for tab sheet):
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