Month: December 2023

2023-2024 Extemp Central National Points Race: New Standings and a New Leader After the University of Texas-Austin Longhorn Classic and the George Mason University Patriot Games!

Updated standings for the 2023-2024 Extemp Central National Points Race have been released.  Check them out by clicking here or the “Natl Points Race” tab above.

The new standings, which reflect the results of the University of Texas-Austin Longhorn Classic and the George Mason University Patriot Games, have a new leader and a lot of new names in the top 25.

The next National Points Race competition will be the Montgomery Bell Academy Extemp Round Robin, taking place during the first weekend of January in Nashville, Tennessee.  As of right now, nine of the top ten competitors in the National Points Race will be attending that tournament.  MBA is a second tier tournament and will award 150 points to the winner.

2023 University of Texas-Austin Longhorn Classic: Lee is Sole Finalist in Both Extemp Categories and Wins IX; Haider Defeats Zhang by Judges’ Preference for USX Championship

This year was the silver anniversary of the University of Texas-Austin’s Longhorn Classic. Held on December 1-3, the tournament drew a wide field of extempers from Texas, Louisana, Utah, California, and Florida.

In International Extemp, Katherine Lee retained the title for Plano West Senior High School (TX), beating #6 Brandon Cheng of Flintridge Preparatory School (CA) by three ranks. Lee’s is the fourth Plano West extemper to win the Longhorn Classic’s International Extemp title since 2019. She was also the only extemper at the tournament to final in both extemp categories, taking fifth in United States Extemp.

Cheng was appearing in his third National Points Race final round of the season.  He last appeared in a National Points Race final at the New York City Invitational in October.

Plano East Senior High School (TX) had two finalists in the International Extemp category. Kate Liu took third and Ishika Kothari took fourth.

Two ranks behind Kothari was Daniel Rupawalla of Tompkins High School (TX). The sixth place finisher was Pranav Kalakuntla of Plano West.

Waleed Haider of Hendrickson High School (TX) won the United States Extemp category. Haider tied #4 Robert Zhang of Elkins High School (TX) with a composite of seven at the end of the final round and was awarded the title via judges’ preference 2-1. It was Zhang’s third final round appearance at a National Points Race tournament that he has attended.

Haider’s win broke a three-year winning streak by Plano West Senior High School in the category.

#8 Tyler Crivella of Seven Lakes High School (TX) finished third, two ranks behind Haider and Zhang. Crivella had a path to win with two judges awarding him second place ranks but a fifth place rank from the third final round judge doomed his title hopes. It is the second time that Crivella finished behind Zhang in a National Points Race contest as the two also clashed at the Glenbrooks.

Glenbrooks winner #2 Lishore Kumar of Tomball Memorial High School (TX) placed fourth. Kumar has made three National Points Race final rounds this season.

Sophia Wei of Plano West Senior High School (TX) reached her first National Points Race final round of the season, taking sixth.

#11 Ronak Patel of American Heritage School – Broward (FL) was in the field as well.  He was a semi-finalist in United States Extemp and a quarter-finalist in International Extemp

All of the elimination round participants will earn National Points Race points because the Longhorn Classic was a third tier event for the first time. Lee and Haider will be awarded 100 points for their victories. To avoid double counting, an extemper’s highest finish will be credited for points, so Lee will not receive points for her finish in United States Extemp.

Here are the results of the 2023 University of Texas-Austin Longhorn Classic (Click here for tab sheet):

Extemp Central News Quiz for the Week of December 11-17, 2023

Note:  This is the last news quiz for the next two weeks.  The news quiz will return after the winter holiday on January 3.

Here is this week’s news quiz!  Good luck!

2023 George Mason University Patriot Games: Ural Denies Burris a Second Title; The Potomac School Has Two Finalists

George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia hosted 55 extempers for its annual Patriot Games tournament on December 2 and 3. Siri Ural of Shrewsbury High School (MA) denied #14 Taylor Burris‘ attempt to repeat as champion, winning the final round by three ranks to take the title.

Ural is the first extemper from Massachusetts to win the Patriot Games title in seven years. Marshall Sloane of Milton Academy won the championship in 2016.

Burris, who competes for the Potomac School (VA), finished runner-up for the second time at a National Points Race tournament this season. She was runner-up at the Florida Blue Key in October. Burris was also the only final round finisher who is ranked in this year’s National Points Race.

Navya Raju of Ridge High School (NJ) finished third, one rank ahead of Meredith Vorndran of the Potomac School. Vorndran took one of the five available first place ranks in the final round, with the others going to Ural (three) and Burris (one).

Jack Anderson of Lincoln Southwest High School (NE) and Logan Mitchell of Martin County High School (FL) finished further back in the final round. Anderson’s final round composite was 12 ranks behind Vorndran but was enough to beat Mitchell by one rank for fifth.

#3 Amy Cao and #20 Aparna Iyer of Ridge High School (NJ) were in the field but dropped in quarter-finals.

All of the finalists earn National Points Race points as the Patriot Games is a fifth tier tournament. Ural will receive 40 points for winning.

Here are the results of the 2023 George Mason University Patriot Games (Click here for tab sheet):

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of December 11-17, 2023

Note:  These will be the last questions for two weeks due to the winter holiday.  New questions will be posted on January 1, 2024.

1. Did Ron DeSantis improve his presidential hopes in his debate with Gavin Newsom?
2. Have academic standards become too low in American schools?
3. Should Alaska Airlines be allowed to merge with Hawaiian Airlines?
4. Why are Democratic attacks warning of Donald Trump’s threat to democracy failing to resonate with voters?
5. Should media outlets use AI to write stories?
6. What must the U.S. do to contain jihadist violence in West Africa?
7. Are Vivek Ramaswamy’s attacks on Nikki Haley sexist?
8. If New York City Mayor Eric Adams is indicted in an FBI probe, should he resign?
9. Does the Biden administration need to rethink its Ukraine strategy?
10. Should the next healthcare reform focus on better mental health coverage?

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of December 11-17, 2023

Note:  These will be the last questions for two weeks due to the winter holiday.  New questions will be posted on January 1, 2024.

1. Should debt relief be leveraged for renewable energy investment in African nations?
2. What should Brazil do if Venezuela seizes the Essequibo with military force?
3. Should a new international institution be created to replace the United Nations?
4. What does the Indian National Congress need to do to win back power?
5. How would the formation of an OPEC for nickel affect the global economy?
6. Will Ukraine’s military effort against Russia collapse without U.S. aid?
7. Has China become the new “honest broker” in the Middle East?
8. Will Milei be able to translate his rhetoric about the Argentinian economy into bold action?
9. Should Guatemala re-run its presidential election?
10. Will Azerbaijan’s territorial revisionism stop at Nagorno-Karabakh?

2024 Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin: This Year’s Field

This afternoon Adam Johnson, the tournament director of the Montgomery Bell Extemp Round Robin, announced this year’s tournament field. The Round Robin will take place January 7-8 on MBA’s campus in Nashville, Tennessee. It is the year’s first major championship.

In a departure from recent editions, no school earned more than one bid to this year’s tournament. Texas has six competitors in the field, more than any other state.

Congratulations to the following extempers for being selected to compete:

*Taylor Burris (The Potomac School, Virginia)
*Amy Cao (Ridge High School, New Jersey)
*Brandon Cheng (Flintridge Preparatory School, California)
*Tyler Crivella (Seven Lakes High School, Texas)
*Lishore Kumar (Tomball Memorial High School, Texas)
*Meghana Kunapareddy (Tompkins High School, Texas)
*Katherine Lee (Plano West Senior High School, Texas)
*Kate Liu (Plano East Senior High School, Texas)
*Sruti Peddi (BASIS Scottsdale, Arizona)
*Isabella Razdan (Lincoln East High School, Nebraska)
*Charlotte Reitman (The University School, Florida)
*Eshaal Ubaid (Stuyvesant High School, New York)
*Siri Ural (Shrewsbury High School, Massachusetts)
*Rohit Vakkalagadda (Bellarmine College Preparatory, California)
*April Zhang (Neuqua Valley High School, Illinois)
*Robert Zhang (Elkins High School, Texas)

Exodus to Excellence: The Lloyd Memorial/Harrison County Swing – December 2, 2000

“Exodus to Excellence” is a four-year series that will focus on my high school journey through extemporaneous speaking.  Assisted by old ballots and a journal kept during these years, these columns will provide reflections on lots of old competitions and the lessons learned along the way.  Each week that a tournament took place in my career, one of these columns will appear.

Extemp Central News Quiz for the Week of December 4-10, 2023

Here is this week’s news quiz.  Good luck!

HotTopics: International Extemp Questions for the Week of December 4-10, 2023

1. What does Xi Jinping need to do to stop capital flight?
2. Should Nigeria embrace greater environmental protections as an anti-poverty measure?
3. Is al-Qaeda on the verge of a comeback?
4. Should India cease its cooperation with Myanmar’s junta?
5. How should Lula handle Milei?
6. In light of growing white lung syndrome cases globally, should China be expelled from the WHO?
7. Would a large-scale war against Israel mean the end of Iran’s Islamic Republic?
8. How should Britain’s Tories handle the Reform UK threat?
9. Does AUKUS have the potential to be a more important security arrangement than NATO?
10. How can Belarusian citizens best oppose their autocratic government?

HotTopics: United States Extemp Questions for the Week of December 4-10, 2023

1. Who will win the GOP “mini primary” between Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley?
2. Should the U.S. impose conditions on military aid to Israel?
3. How can the RNC fix its fundraising problems?
4. Will the U.S. be able to close all of its coal-fired power plants by 2035?
5. How should U.S. health officials respond to growing cases of white lung syndrome?
6. Are assertions about the decline of U.S. global influence exaggerated?
7. Would greater restrictions on cell phone use by children improve their mental health?
8. What should the U.S. do if Venezuela goes to war with Guyana?
9. Should the size of the U.S. House of Representatives be increased?
10. Does the U.S. need to launch a new “war on drugs”?

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