After ten rounds, International and United States Extemp have only fourteen competitors remaining. Six competitors will be left standings after the next two rounds and will be this year’s National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) national finalists for 2016. The next two rounds will feature five judge panels and two minute cross-examination.
The top three competitors in this year’s National Points Race stayed alive in International Extemp. Vaikunth Balaji of Ridge High School (NJ), who was a semi-finalist in IX two years ago, returns to the round of eleven, while Marshall Sloane of Milton Academy (MA) is in the midst of his deepest run at the NSDA National Tournament. Justin Graham of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) also advanced. In addition, Shreetika Singh of Seven Lakes High School (TX), who placed seventh at last year’s nationals in IX, returns to the semi-final round for the second consecutive year. However, quarter-finals was not as kind to other members of the National Points Race as Jarrek Holmes of Kent Denver School (CO), Christopher Mayer of Montville Township High School (NJ), and California Invitational winner Matthew Zheng of Mira Loma High School (CA) failed to advance. Also, Roman Shemakov of McClintock High School (AZ), who placed eleventh in IX at last year’s nationals, was eliminated.
United States Extemp also had its fair share of notable eliminations, with two of the biggest coming from Trinity Preparatory. National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) finalist Varun Bhatia was knocked out, as was Nathaniel Saffran, who was a seventh place finisher in USX at last year’s nationals. Major names remained alive, though, such as Marshall Webb of Saint Mary’s Hall (TX), who is seeking another opportunity to speak in the final round, Harvard winner Katherine Hu of Plano Senior High School (TX), Extemp TOC champion Brian Xu of San Marino High School (CA), and last year’s semi-finalists Neil Patel of Plano West Senior High School (TX) and Micah Cash of Booker T. Washington High School (OK).
Texas is the state with the most semi-finalists, with five competitors advancing to round eleven. California had the second-largest contingent with four.
Ten non-seniors qualified for the semi-final round, meaning that they will receive automatic qualifications to next year’s NSDA National Tournament. These competitors, who are listed in blue below, will also receive automatic qualifications to the University of Kentucky Tournament of Champions (TOC) next year in Lexington, Kentucky.
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