2016 Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin: Sweet Sixteen Preview Part II

mba2010Here is the second part of our participant capsules for this year’s Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin in Nashville, Tennessee.  Check back tomorrow for a poll, where you can cast your vote for who you think will win this year’s tournament!  If you missed part I of this preview, you can read it here.

KEY:  DNA = Did Not Attend; DNC = Did Not Clear (Break); NR = Not Ranked

CHRISTOPHER MAYER

*School:  Montville Township High School (Montville, New Jersey)
*Class:  Senior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  None
*Top School Finish at MBA:  First appearance for school
*National Ranking:  14th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  New York City Invitational – 3rd; Yale – 6th; Harvard – Quarterfinalist; University of Kentucky TOC – Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL – 5th; NSDA – DNA
*Notes:  One of three New Jersey extempers in this year’s field and is the first Montville extemper to be invited to the Round Robin…Observers of the national circuit may note that Montville nearly took home the U.S. Extemp national championship at last year’s NSDA Nationals, with Jay Sirot coming just short of taking the title from Brian Yu.  With Sirot lost to graduation, Mayer will look to make some history of his own and for his school…Has posted two final round placings at National Points Race tournaments this year, finishing in the top three in the New York City Invitational behind Nathaniel Saffran and Justin Graham and sixth place at Yale…Finished runner-up to Vaikunth Balaji at last season’s New Jersey Forensic League (NJFL) State Tournament in International Extemp.

NEIL PATEL

*School:  Plano West Senior High School (Plano, Texas)
*Class:  Senior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  None
*Top School Finish at MBA:  1st (Tex Dawson – 2007)
*National Ranking:  19th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  St. Mark’s – 5th (USX), 6th (IX); Glenbrooks – Semifinalist; Harvard-Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL – DNA; NSDA – 8th (USX)
*Notes:  Is the second consecutive Plano West extemper to make the Round Robin in as many years, representing the school’s sixth bid as a whole in the tounament’s eighteen-year history.  Teammate Phoebe Lin set a high bar for him to match after she took third last year and won the Exhibition Round…Sits within the top twenty-five of the National Points Race after reaching elimination rounds at St. Mark’s and the Glenbrooks.  Was the fifth-highest finisher at the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational across both extemp categories…Attracted significant attention from those who follow the national circuit after placing eighth in United States Extemp at last year’s NSDA National Tournament in Dallas, Texas…Finished runner-up to fellow Round Robin competitor Marshall Webb in United States Extemp at last year’s Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Tournament.

NATHANIEL SAFFRAN

*School:  Trinity Preparatory School (Winter Park, Florida)
*Class:  Senior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  One (Participant – 2015)
*Top School Finish at MBA:  3rd (Miles Saffran – 2014)
*National Ranking:  2nd
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  George Mason – 1st; New York City Invitational – 1st; Florida Blue Key – 3rd (USX), Quarterfinalist (IX); Glenbrooks – 3rd; University of Kentucky TOC – Semifinalist; Wake Forest – Semifinalist; Harvard – Quarterfinalist; Yale – Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL-4th; NSDA-7th (USX)
*Notes:  Is making his second appearance at the MBA Round Robin and will look to improve on last year’s performance where he finished outside of the top six…Began the year slowly, failing to reach the final rounds of Wake Forest and Yale and not making the National Points Race cutoff at the Florida Blue Key, but stormed back with two victories at the New York City Invitational and George Mason and a third place finish at the Glenbrooks…Has exchanged places several times with teammate Justin Graham and he sits behind Graham in the National Points Race.  Has the best chance of replacing Graham after MBA due to the fact that he only trails him by twenty-nine points, a much slimmer margin than Marshall Webb, the second-nearest competitor, who trails Graham by ninety-nine points…Finished second to Graham in United States Extemp at last year’s Florida Forensic League (FFL) State Tournament…Was three ranks shy of appearing in last year’s NSDA United States Extemp final round.

SHREETIKA SINGH

*School:  Seven Lakes High School (Katy, Texas)
*Class:  Senior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  None
*Top School Finish at MBA:  First appearance for school
*National Ranking:  T28th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  George Mason – Semifinalist; Extemp TOC – Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL – DNA; NSDA – 7th (IX)
*Notes:  Will be the first extemper from Seven Lakes High School to compete in the Round Robin…Has not traveled the national circuit much this year, but did make the semifinal round of the George Mason University Patriot Games earlier this month.  This is her sole finish in a National Points Race event this season so she currently sits outside of the top twenty-five…She does have a victory at an Extemp TOC qualifier this year, though, having won International Extemp at the Plano West Senior High School Tournament in late October…Likely owes her bid to this year’s tournament due to her impressive showing as a junior in International Extemp at last year’s NSDA National Tournament.  She finished seventh there, just two ranks out of the final round…Was a semi-finalist at last year’s Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Tournament in International Extemp.

MARSHALL SLOANE

*School:  Milton Academy (Milton, Massachusetts)
*Class:  Junior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  One (Participant – 2015)
*Top School Finish at MBA:  1st (Jay Cox-1999, Josh Bone-2004)
*National Ranking:  18th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  Extemp TOC – 4th; University of Kentucky TOC – 4th; George Mason – 6th; Glenbrooks – Quarterfinalist; Harvard – Quarterfinalist; Yale – Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL-Quarterfinalist; NSDA-DNA
*Notes:  Has traveled the national circuit almost as much as any other competitor in this year’s field…Was the only sophomore in last year’s tournament…Took advantage of the “last chance” opportunity provided by the George Mason University Patriot Games to make this year’s Round Robin field.  His sixth place finish at George Mason allowed him to crack the top twenty-five in the National Points Race for the first time this season after some disappointing finishes to begin his national circuit season at Yale and Glenbrooks…Should not be overlooked as he has an ability to do well in “specialty” tournaments such as the Extemp TOC at Northwestern University and the University of Kentucky TOC.  He took fourth at both tournaments last year…Represents the tenth bid that Milton Academy has received to the Round Robin, the second-most of any school…Won the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League (MSDL) State Tournament as a freshman in 2014.

JACOB THOMPSON

*School:  Des Moines Roosevelt High School (Des Moines, Iowa)
*Class:  Junior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  None
*Top School Finish at MBA:  1st (Lily Nellans – 2012, 2013, 2014)
*National Ranking:  4th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  Florida Blue Key – 2nd (USX), Semifinalist (IX); George Mason – 2nd; Glenbrooks – Semifinalist; Marshall Speech Spectacular – Semifinalist; Wake Forest – Semifinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL – DNA; NSDA-Octofinalist (IX)
*Notes:  Represents the second Des Moines Roosevelt entry in this year’s competition…Has several elimination round placings in National Points Race tournaments this year, but what helped him climb in the standings the most was his runner-up finish at the George Mason University Patriot Games behind Nathaniel Saffran.  He nearly won that tournament, losing to Saffran by judges’ preference.  The strong GMU showing is what probably solidified his bid into the tournament…A strong showing has the potential to make him the National Points Race leader, although he sits 101 points behind Justin Graham at the moment…Is still looking for a career-defining national circuit victory, although at his present trajectory of finishes that may just be a matter of time…Won the United States Extemp state title at last year’s Iowa Forensic League All-Iowa finals.

MARSHALL WEBB

*School:  Saint Mary’s Hall (San Antonio, Texas)
*Class:  Senior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  One (Participant – 2015)
*Top School Finish at MBA:  Participant (Marshall Webb – 2015)
*National Ranking:  3rd
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  Glenbrooks – 1st; St. Mark’s – 1st (USX), 2nd (IX); Extemp TOC – Semifinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL-DNA; NFL-6th (USX)
*Notes:  Was the first competitor to attend the Round Robin from Saint Mary’s Hall last year and he gets another chance to become the first Texas Round Robin winner since 2010…He is tied with Justin Graham and Nathaniel Saffran for the most victories at National Points Race tournaments this season with two…Could become the highest ranked competitor in the National Points Race with a victory, but will have to hope that Graham and Saffran finish outside of the top five to do so…Traded victories with Micah Cash of Booker T. Washington High School at St. Mark’s, but ended up as the highest-ranked competitor in the field and received the forty National Points Race points from the event…His victory at Glenbrooks marked an improvement over his finish the previous season where he placed sixth…Is one of three NSDA finalists in this year’s field…Won the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Tournament in United States Extemp last season, triumphing over Neil Patel, who will also be at the Round Robin.

BRIAN XU

*School:  San Marino High School (San Marino, California)
*Class:  Junior
*Previous Invites to MBA:  None
*Top School Finish at MBA:  1st (Nabeel Zewail – 2011)
*National Ranking:  5th
*2015 National Points Race Finishes:  Glenbrooks – 2nd; Stanford – Semifinalist (USX); Yale – Semifinalist; California Invitational – Quarterfinalist; Extemp TOC – Quarterfinalist; George Mason – Quarterfinalist
*National Finishes Last Season:  CFL – DNA; NSDA – Quarterfinalist (USX)
*Notes:  His bid to the Round Robin marks the first time that San Marino has made an appearance since Nabeel Zewail won the tournament in a rout in 2011.  He will be the fifth San Marino extemper to attend the tournament (and he represents the school’s seventh-ever entry)…It is unusual to see a California extemper ranked so highly after the first semester since all of the National Points Race events during that time are east of the Mississippi except for St. Mark’s.  The fact that he is ranked so highly now bodes well for his National Points Race prospects as three West Coast tournaments exist after the Round Robin (although James Logan’s MLK Invitational and Stanford are taking place on the same weekend this year)…Highest finish on the national circuit this year was a runner-up finish at the Glenbrooks, where he lost to Marshall Webb by five ranks…Finished third in United States Extemp at last year’s California High School Speech Association (CHSSA) State Tournament, where he finished behind three-time champion Brian Yu (who went on to win the NSDA U.S. Extemp national title) and Bryan Yuan Wang of Miramonte High School…Travel could end up being an issue as he has the longest trip to Nashville than any of the other competitors.

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