Ridge Forensics’ First Catholic Forensics League Tournament Of the Year

Varsha Bhargava ‘23

While other students were enjoying time with family, vacationing, or possibly snoozing, forensics students were hard at work. With a tournament approaching quickly, frantic forensics members substituted lying in their beds for pacing around their room, speech in hand. Instead of spending time with family, they were shut in their room, speaking aloud to themselves with great emotion, or placed in front of a mirror, observing themselves as they rehearsed their memorized speeches. 


At 7:20 AM, on November 9, 2019, an ordinary, yellow school bus rolled out of the Ridge parking lot, anxious forensics members in tow. On the way to the tournament, a spectrum of behaviors popped up around the bus, some prepped for their upcoming speeches, others watched Victorious on their phones, and some simply snoozed, catching up on beauty sleep. As they approached Union Catholic Regional High School, in Newark, New Jersey, the sleepy students trailed out of the bus and made their way to the big school building, where the fun would really begin. 


Gia Iyer ‘23, a new member of the Ridge Forensics team, competed in the JV Public Forum Debate tournament, with her partner, Ana Hodges ‘22, in this particular event. The duo placed 5th in their category. Regarding the tournament, Iyer remarks that the judges were fair and gave good feedback to contestants, although she had some reservations in terms of the experience levels for novice debate competitors. The competition was relatively even, Iyer relays, although she would like to see separate tiers or levels separating the experienced from the novice in tournaments in the future.


In Congressional Debate, where high school students take on Congressional roles, and debate the validity of legislative matters, Grace Zhu ‘20 was the champion, followed by Injae Lee ‘20 in second, Reya Brahmbhatt ‘22 for third, and Mason Krohn ‘20 taking fourth.


For Original Oratory, where forensics members provide an informative speech on a topic of their liking, Nihal Kurki ‘20  took the champion slot, with Libah Farooqi ‘20 in second, Daniel Zhang ‘21 in fourth, Audrika Chattaraj ‘ in fifth, and finally, Pasha Saidi ‘21 in sixth place.


In the Extemporaneous Speaking category, the category where members deliver an impromptu speech based on facts given, and their own dissection of the information, James Gao ‘20 took home first place, second place went to Samarth Nagaraj ‘ , with Mayin Puri ‘ in fourth place, Amy Huang ‘21 in fifth, and Joshua Lee ‘  in sixth place.


For the Dramatic Performance, students engagingly and emotionally read pages from an existing book, while voicing the characters authentically and sparing catharsis in the audience. In this category, John Tondora ‘20 was the champion, followed by Miah Vesotsky ‘20 in second place, Divya Krishnan ‘21 in fourth place, Emma Reilly ‘20  finished in fifth place.


In the JV Lincoln-Douglas Debate category, where participants debated philosophical beliefs, Shruti Narayanbhatla ‘23 and Diya Jain ‘23, were co-champions, both taking first place, then Akhil Khade ‘23 took fourth place, and the pair, Gia Iyer ‘23 and Ana Hodges ‘22 took fifth place in this category.


In the Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate category, Nicholas Ge ‘ was the champion, earning first place, and Tanvi Namjoshi ‘ was a semi-finalist. 


For the Varsity Public Forum category, the participants had to persuasively communicate various ideas in a debate, and win the case, using clear logic and evidence, when necessary,  AR Raviarasan ‘20 and Aman Singh ‘21 won first place in this category. 


For the Declamation category, where participants must perform a piece of a speech previously given by another speaker, Brian Liu ‘22, won second place, Humphrey Chen ‘22 won third place, Minaal Kauser ‘23 came in fourth, and Nabeeha Mamun ‘22 won fifth place. 


Jaya Patel ‘20 earned fifth place in Varsity Oral Interpretation, where Patel had to hold a script out in front of herself, and act as though she was reading from it. She presented the judges and audience with meaningful pieces of poetry and speech. 


In addition, Laasya Gaddipati ‘21 and Sathya Gopinath ‘21 won third place, as a pair, in Duo Interpretation. Duo Interpretation is a category where a pair performs scenes from an existing piece of literature, with the participants as main characters who interact with one another.


Ridge Forensics is looking to compete in many more competitions in the future. This CFL tournament was the first of many this year. Some additional competitions in the future could take place at prestigious colleges, including Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The team is looking forward to extending their list of victories!


[1] http://www.ridgeforensics.com/results.html

[2] http://www.ncfl.org/NCFLnew/pages/ncfl.html