Yijia Liang of Upper Arlington High School (OH) ended the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Grand National Tournament exactly where he began the season – in the winner’s circle – as he defeated the top two competitors in the National Points Race – Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) and Brian Anderson of LaRue County High School (KY) – to win his first major championship. Liang’s victory is his second national circuit title of the season as he won the Wake Forest National Early Bird back in September. His win is the first time that an Ohio extemper has won the NCFL national title since Alex Draime of Howland High School took the crown in 2009.
Graham and Anderson tied for second place, but Graham had a cumulative score that was two ranks better than Anderson in the final round. This matters for the National Points Race as Graham will be able to enlarge his lead by fifteen points going into the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament.
Montville Township High School (NJ) placed an extemper in the final round for the second consecutive year, with Christopher Mayer coming within four places of repeating teammate Monica Coscia’s national winning performance at last year’s tournament.
Samhitha Sunkara of Ardrey Kell High School (NC) finished the tournament in sixth place, becoming the first North Carolina extemp finalist at NCFL Nationals since 2011.
Trinity Preparatory School (FL) did quite well at the tournament, placing two competitors in the final round. Along with Graham’s runner-up performance, Nathaniel Saffran took fourth. This is the first time since 2009 that a school has had two extemp finalists at an NCFL National Tournament. Howland High School was the last school to accomplish the feat.
The tournament’s octo-final round also lived up to its cursed reputation as several prominent national competitors had their dreams of a national title end prematurely. Josh Wartel of Lake Braddock Secondary School (VA), who took third at last year’s tournament, was eliminated in octo-finals and was denied the opportunity to win the third leg of the Grand Slam. Yale Invitational winner Jasper Primack of Newton South High School (MA) and New York state champion Charlie Barton of Regis High School were also eliminated from the competition early Sunday morning.
Since the NCFL National Tournament is a third tier tournament in the National Points Race all of the competitor who reached the quarter-final round and beyond will earn points. If the Extemp TOC maintains its existing qualification system for next year, all of the underclassmen that reached the semi-final round will earn a leg for next year’s competition in Evanston, Illinois.
Here are the results of the 2015 NCFL Grand National Tournament (Click here for tab sheet):
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