2013-2014 Bid List: At Large Applicants Will Be Bolded

Congratulations to Shelby, Anisha, Parth, James, and Nick for finishing their quals!

USC ends the season’s bid opportunities. Congratulations to La Jolla’s Ram Prasad for being the bid leader of the 2013-14 season and Scarsdale for leading the season in team bid count!

If you’re applying for the at large, please message me so I can bold your name on this list. – ben K

10 Bids

Ram Prasad’14- La Jolla (Greenhill, Valley, Voices, Bronx, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, Blake, VBT, Stanford, Harvard)


9 Bids

Danny DeBois’14- Harrison (Greenhill, Bronx, Apple Valley, Hendrick Hudson, Glenbrooks, Princeton, VBT, Lexington, Harvard)

Chris Kymn’14- Loyola (Greenhill, Valley, Voices, Bronx, Glenbrooks, College Prep, VBT, Stanford, USC)


8 Bids

Akhil Jalan’15- PV Peninsula (Loyola, Greenhill, Bronx, Harvard-Westlake, College Prep, VBT, Emory, Harvard)

Leah Shapiro’14- St. Louis Park (Valley, Bronx, Iowa Caucus, Apple Valley, Blake, VBT, Stanford, Harvard)


7 Bids

Jackson Lallas’15 Brentwood (Loyola, Greenhill, Bronx, Meadows, Glenbrooks, College Prep, VBT)

Pranav Reddy’15- Harker (Greenhill, Voices, St. Mark’s, Glenbrooks, VBT, Golden Desert, Berkeley)

Annie Kors’14- Harvard Westlake (Greenhill, Bronx, Glenbrooks, Blake, VBT, Stanford, Harvard)


6 Bids

Andrew O’Donohue’14- Collegiate (Yale, Valley, Bronx, Princeton, Lexington, Columbia)

Jake Steirn’16- Cypress Bay (Greenhill, Valley, Walt Whitman, University, Lexington, Emory)

Chloe Naguib’14 Hockaday (Grapevine, Greenhill, Valley, St. Mark’s, Lexington, Colleyville Heritage)

Charlotte Lawrence’14- CPS (Valley, Voices, St. Mark’s, Meadows, Glenbrooks, Berkeley)

Arjun Tambe’15- PV Peninsula (Greenhill, Glenbrooks, College Prep, VBT, Stanford, Harvard)


5 Bids

Jason Smith’14- WDM Valley (Bronx, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, Dowling Catholic, Blake)

The Azbel’14- Lake Highland (Cypress Bay, Walt Whitman, Apple Valley, Dowling Catholic, Myers Park)

Jessica Levy’14- Walt Whitman (Valley, Bronx, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, University)

Nikhil Nandu’14- Lake Highland (Valley, Cypress Bay, Dowling Catholic, Myers Park, University)

Adam Tomasi’15- Sacred Heart (Yale, Voices, Bronx, Hendrick Hudson, Lexington)

Shania Hunt’14- Northland Christian (Greenhill, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, VBT, Berkeley)

Daisy Massey’14- Walt Whitman (Bronx, Apple Valley, Blake, Lexington, Harvard)

Travis Chen’14- Palo Alto (Greenhill, Voices, VBT, Stanford, Harvard)


4 Bids

Akhil Gandra’15 Westwood (Grapevine, St. Mark’s, Glenbrooks, UT)

Varad Agarwala’16- Greenhill (Meadows, Apple Valley, Emory, Colleyville Heritage)

David Branse’15- University (Valley, Cypress Bay, Emory, Harvard)


3 Bids

Davis Labarre ’15 Northland Christian (Grapevine, Greenhill, Bronx)

Matthew Meyer’14-Isidore Newman (Valley, St. James, St. Mark’s)

Tyler Gamble’15- Kinkaid (Greenhill, St. Mark’s, Meadows)

Rahul Gosain’15- Scarsdale (Yale, Cypress Bay, Apple Valley)

Xixiang Xiong- Cypress Woods (UT, Isidore Newman, Strake Jesuit/TDC)

Srikar Pyda’14- Harker (Greenhill, College Prep, VBT)

Ben Ulene’14- Scarsdale (Yale, Valley, University)

Courtney DeVore- Louis D. Brandeis (St. Mark’s, UT, University)

Arun Sharma- Travis (St. Mark’s, Strake Jesuit/TDC, Churchill)

Neel Yerneni- Katy Taylor (Valley, Apple Valley, Emory)

Noah Thaler’14- Scarsdale (Yale, Hendrick Hudson, Columbia)

Ruchir Rastogi- LAMP (Cypress Bay, University, Emory)

Daiya Massac’14- Bronx Science (Walt Whitman, University, Emory)

Katie Hughes’14- Immaculate Heart (Harvard-Westlake, Alta, Golden Desert)

Bennett Eckert- Greenhill (Apple Valley, Colleyville Heritage, Berkeley)

Salim Damerdji- Los Altos (Golden Desert, Stanford, Berkeley)

Preetham Chippada’15- Lexington (Greenhill, Scarsdale, Harvard)

Varun Bhave’15- Del Mar Independent (Valley, Voices, USC)

McKay Giller’14- Loyola (Apple Valley, VBT, USC)


2 Bids

Michael Bogaty’15- Scarsdale (Yale, Cypress Bay)

Drew Burd’16 Westlake (Grapevine, St. Mark’s)

Adam Young’15- Scarsdale (Yale, Walt Whitman)

Alberto Tohme- Strake Jesuit (St. Mark’s, Apple Valley)

Claire Kueffner- Hopkins (Iowa Caucus, Apple Valley)

JP Stuckert- Strake Jesuit  (St. Mark’s, Houston- Memorial)

Matthew Koshak- Christ Episcopal (St. James, Houston-Memorial)

Saahil Jain- University (Valley, Glenbrooks)

Andrew Bower’15- Miramonte (Meadows, Alta)

Anthony Tohme- Strake Jesuit (St. Mark’s, UT)

Eric Hale-Bettendorf (Iowa Caucus, Dowling Catholic)

Jack Patton- Vestavia Hills (Ohio Valley, Isisdore Newman)

Tom Kadie’15- Miramonte (Voices, College Prep)

Micah Rosen’15- Brentwood (Meadows, College Prep)

Emma Weddle- Des Moines Roosevelt (Glenbrooks, Blake)

Jacob Chorches- Brentwood (Meadows, College Prep)

David Wang’16- Scarsdale (Walt Whitman, Blake)

Cameron Cohen- Harvard Westlake (Alta, VBT)

Jae Ahn- CTY (Isidore Newman, VBT)

Jamie Hintson- Wren (Wake Forest, Myers Park)

Sarah McDonagh- Centennial (Whitman, UPS)

Gina Scorpiniti- Valley (Blake, Omaha Westside)

Charlie Blatt’14- Scarsdale (Yale, Lexington)

John Sasso’14-  Strake Jesuit (University, Emory)

Anne-Marie Hwang’15- Hockaday (Grapevine, Colleyville Heritage)

Michael O’Krent’14- Harvard Westlake (Meadows, Golden Desert)

Sabrina Shammas- Brentwood (UPS, Stanford)

Jack Wilson- Ridge (Hendrick Hudson, UPenn)

Lucas Smith- Monticello (Princeton, UPenn)

David Dosch- John Marshall (St. Mark’s, Berkeley)

Jared Paul’15-Brentwood (Bronx, Berkeley)

Christian Quiroz- Newark Science (Glenbrooks, Harvard)

Nathan Cha- Randolph (Newark, Harvard)

Danny Li- Hunter College (Scarsdale, Harvard)

Anisha Vora- Annie Wright (Whitman, Vestavia)

Nick Steele- Harvard Westlake (Alta, USC)

Shelby Heitner- Harvard Westlake (Alta, USC)

James Zhang- PV Peninsula (College Prep, USC)

Parth Kalaria- Trinity Valley (Myers Park, Vestavia)


1 Bid

Logan Parke- Pinecrest (Wake Forest)

Nick Anderson- Christopher Columbus (Yale)

Troy Thisler- Fort Lauderdale (Cypress Bay)

Nalin Vattigunta- Oxbridge Academy (Cypress Bay)

Jim Huang’14- Jesuit (Valley)

Christian Paz- Loyola (Voices)

Lyndie Ho- Marcus (St. Mark’s)

Azam Baig- Kempner (St. Mark’s)

Sunay Nanavati- Westwood (St. Mark’s)

Joe Zaghrini- Strake Jesuit (St. Mark’s)

Yael Caplan’14- Walt Whitman (Bronx)

Taylor Amey’14- Bettendorf (Bronx)

Jacob Reiter- Brentwood (Meadows)

Sean Doherty-Powell- St. Thomas (Iowa Caucus)

Carolyn Lau’15- Bronx Science (Walt Whitman)

Ariel Shin’14- Immaculate Heart (Harvard-Westlake)

Abigail Chapman’14- Woodlands (Apple Valley)

Maddy Ober- Apple Valley (Glenbrooks)

Emily Hu- DuPont Manual (Ohio Valley)

Matthew Zhu- Hawken (Ohio Valley)

Jack Weisman- Hawken (Ohio Valley)

Amos Jeng- Byram Hills (Princeton)

Anand Balaji- Mission San Jose (Alta)

Sanika Kulkarni- Presentation (Alta)

Dhruv Walia- Lynbrook (Alta)

Mitali Mathur- Greenhill (Isidore Newman)

Ryan Teehan- Delbarton (Blake)

Omar Gaidarov- Del Mar Independent (VBT)

Rahul Raghavan- Southside (Myers Park)

Arianna Montero- Colbert (Newark)

Rebecca Gelfer- Clements (Churchill)

Dana Councilman- St. Louis Park (Omaha Westside)

Carson Horky- Brentwood (UPS)

Alex Sapadin- Snohomish (UPS)

Rakshit Garg- Milpitas (UPS)

Sophia Caldera- Walt Whitman (Lexington)

Madeline Otto- Gig Harbor (Federal Way)

Jayaram Ravi- Tahoma (Federal Way)

Julie Engel- Harvard-Westlake (Golden Desert)

Jordan Friedman- Cypress Bay (Berkeley)

Venkatesh Muppaneni- Woodlands (Harvard)

Rachana Jadala- Stony Point (Harvard)

Tomer Cherki- Scarsdale (Harvard)

Chris Jordan- Brophy (SWSDI)

Lyubov Kapko- Tempe (SWSDI)


Automatic Qualifiers

Carlton Bone ’14 Carlbrook

Danny DeBois’ 14-Harrison

Ram Prasad’14- La Jolla

Jim Huang ’14 New Orleans Jesuit

Adam Tomasi ’15 Sacred Heart

Leah Shapiro ‘14-St. Louis Park



1. Scarsdale- 18 (Ben Ulene, Noah Thaler, Charlie Blatt, Rahul Gosain, Adam Young, Michael Bogaty, DWang, Tomer Cherki)

2. Brentwood- 17 (Jackson Lallas, Jared Paul, Micah Rosen, Jacob Reiter, Jacob Chorches, Sabrina Shammas, Carson Horky)

3. Harvard Westlake- 16 (Julie Engel, Annie Kors, Michael O’Krent, Cameron Cohen, Shelby Heitner, Nick Steele)

3. PV Peninsula- 16 (Akhil Jalan, Arjun Tambe, James Zhang)

5. Loyola-13 (Chris Kymn, Christian Paz, McKay Giller)

6. Walt Whitman- 12 (Jessica Levy, Daisy Massey, Yael Caplan, Sophia Caldera)


82 are qualified to the TOC


  • sjadler

    Look, I don’t really care to get involved in the various fights going on below, but I think it’s worth clarifying what this conversation really is (or should be) about:

    Very few people are arguing against the ability of independents to attend TOC. Personally I’ve enjoyed learning more about Paras’s and Brennan’s experiences (seriously, since I too had tons of issues with being an independent at one point or another). But they aren’t really what the TOC’s question is.

    Jae is not a normal independent; he is not somebody without a proper school team, but somebody who was kicked off their school team for fairly specific reasons. Jae thinks that the reaction was a bit extreme, but even he admits that he didn’t conduct himself well this year. You can choose to forgive him and let him compete at TOC, or you can choose to hold steady to his team’s will and not let him, but either way this is a conversation about Jae specifically, not about the TOC and independents. If people want to use this platform to argue for independents at TOC, then I suppose you can go for it, but that isn’t really TOC’s issue with Jae.

    I’ve heard rumors that Stuyvesant might be letting Jae compete under their name at TOC. If that’s true, then it’s not really any of TOC’s business why he was kicked off the team. But it could still be the TOC’s business the actions he did *while* kicked off the team, e.g. Lexy Green’s complaints about Jae at CPS, or various other accusations of misleading tournaments. Again, though, that would be a question about Jae and his specific behaviors while an independent, rather than an independent overall.

    So, quick summary: This discussion has mostly been about independents broadly, but that isn’t really what the TOC is concerned with here. I don’t care to get involved in the various fights going on below, but if people are going to argue then they should at least be arguing about the right thing (e.g. Sweyn and Jae’s discussion about why Jae was kicked off the Stuy team).

    • Salim Damerdji

      “To make it clear to everyone, Brennan was kicked off his team following the Lexington Round Robin because his head coach was angry about him entering independently to get around district-imposed travel restrictions.” – Fritz’s comment

      Brennan was kicked off his team as was Jae because Brennan purposefully tried to break the rules. I’m not sure why you think the two are distinct cases.

      Regardless, the TOC is functionally banning independent entries. It seems absurd to say “we allow independent entries as long as those schools are willing to sponsor those entries financially via liability insurance.” The whole point of being an independent is that your school is no longer supporting you. So let’s be frank: the TOC is making it very difficult for a lot of independents to enter the tournament.

      • sjadler

        I don’t know what to tell you except that I think there are clear differences from the TOC’s perspective, particularly re: how the debaters represented themselves to tournaments, the extent of the actual program they were kicked off, etc. Like I said, I don’t really want to get into specifics on a public message board about Jae or Brennan’s conduct, because that’s not really my place.

        Is it harder to enter the TOC as an independent? Yeah, it is. But it’s especially hard if you’re an independent who was apparently kicked off your team with prejudice (and your team is already one that competes nationally), rather than an independent because your program hardly exists.

        Regardless, I think the point about “liability insurance” is irrelevant to what I’m saying, which is that people here are arguing as if the TOC is keeping him out for being an independent, when it seems to me he’s an independent who’s being kept out because of conduct while independent. Jae’s parents seem willing to accept liability for him that weekend; the liability isn’t the issue.

  • Anti Oedipus


  • Brennan Sterling Caruthers

    Allow me to make this simple and neat:

    The ToC is a bully. Jae Ahn is a fully qualified debater who, as of now, will not be allowed to compete this year. He is being restricted on the basis of not having a school to affiliate with. The ToC has made exceptions in the past to allow debaters, even those not fully qualified, to compete at their tournament. That this process is even being repeated dumbfounds me.

    I don’t care what you think of Jae. He earned his place to compete. He’s willing to cooperate with the ToC to the fullest extent that he can, and he has made clear his intentions to do so.

    As far as I’m concerned, the ToC has no sense of ethical judgement until it’s “cool” to do so. So please, make it “cool” for them to allow Jae to compete this year. And don’t you dare market yourself as a catalyst and a champion of reducing structural inequality when it’s right in front of your eyes and you do nothing about it.

    Sign this petition.


    Email Andrea Reed and give her a piece of your mind. Let her know that this will not be stood for.


    • Jae Truther

      Feelings about Jae aside, this is *NOT* simple or neat. The fact is that Jae shouldn’t be allowed to compete at TOC because of the decisions he made this year. I am quite happy that I will not have to compete at the tournament with him (sorry if that’s too personal).

      First off, Jae *does* have a school to affiliate with. It is Stuyvesant in New York, and it has sent several qualled debaters to the TOC in recent years.

      Second, it is true that the TOC made a recent exception about an independent student–you–but that is only because Andrea was effectively deceived about how your school felt about your competing. She apparently wanted to terminate your entry, even after you’d arrived, but felt she had a gun to her head. Either way, it’s clear that she didn’t intend to establish a new precedent by (incorrectly) letting you in.

      The Jalon incident–sick allusion bro–is different altogether. Yes, it’s fucked up, but that isn’t an issue of letting in a student without a school; it’s about Timmons being corrupt as fuck. But I’m with you on that.

      Anyways, one reason to not allow these independent students is because they are a huge liability risk to tournaments when they are not traveling with their team, and especially if they’re independent of a team structure (so that there aren’t even consequences at their school if they do something horrible). From what I’ve heard, it sounds like Jae lied about his independent status at Isidore Newman, and that’s why the TOC won’t recognize his entry. That strikes me as hugely reasonable, given the risks he imposed on that tournament.

      Another possible reason is that, like I said before, Jae actually *has* a potential team. Stuyvesant goes to bid tournaments and regularly quals debaters. The issue is that Jae wants to be free of the reign of his team, and that means he is basically uncontrollable in the debate world, unless you restrict entry to tournaments. Look, Stuyvesant had him on his team. If they have determined that because of bad behavior, insubordination, or whatever really that he is now too risky to allow on the team, then that is their right. And to go above them and let him compete anyway means that there is no real check on students listening to their coaches or obeying their schools’ wishes.

      Jae should not be allowed to compete at TOC. I am sorry if that upsets you, but he is a risk to other people at that tournament, particularly if he’s unattached from a school structure. But even without the “personal history” element of it, it’s just a bad precedent to let students splinter off from their teams, because that’s the only way of ensuring that students are held accountable for their behavior.

      It would be a huge mistake to let Jae compete at TOC. If I and other students have to be accountable to teams and behave well to continue to compete (so we don’t harm others), then he should have to as well. Anybody who really knows Jae knows that this claim you’re making is ridiculous, and we’re all a bit happy that debaters can’t just go flaunting the school system and getting away with it.

      • Fritz Pielstick

        “Second, it is true that the TOC made a recent exception about an independent student–you–but that is only because Andrea was effectively deceived about how your school felt about your competing. She apparently wanted to terminate your entry, even after you’d arrived, but felt she had a gun to her head. Either way, it’s clear that she didn’t intend to establish a new precedent by (incorrectly) letting you in.”

        You’re just objectively wrong. First of all, Brennan, myself, Bill Smelko, and Brennan’s father all independently sent emails to the Andrea Reed explaining why Brennan was relegated to competing as an independent entry for a good portion of last season. Reed also communicated with the principal of La Costa Canyon High School, who clarified everything. Unless you are Andrea Reed, or one of the four aforementioned people who are not myself, I suggest that perhaps you should not act like you have any semblance of a clue what you are talking about with regards to Brennan’s at-large application because, well, you don’t. Second, Brennan isn’t the only recent example of an independent entry being allowed into the TOC. Paras Kumar competed in ’11 as an independent entry, and no one seemed to have a problem with that.

        Look, I barely know Jae. I’m not affiliated with him as a coach, judge, or whatever. The extent of my interactions with him includes judging him in two different rounds, where he has gone a staggering 1-1 in front of me. Maybe Jae did something shady to get kicked off his team. I have no idea, because it’s none of my business. That being said, my issue with this decision is that it is a textbook example of how flagrantly arbitrary the TOC is with rule enforcement. Two different students with zero bids have been allowed to compete in the last 6 years, but a student with two bids can’t compete? Last year, Brennan was granted an at-large and then had his at-large overturned. The ensuing shitstorm had less to do with the fact that they were not going to let him compete, and more to do with the fact that they went back on their word (after Brennan had already purchased plane tickets). But seriously, in what world is having a piece of paper with a principal’s signature on it a more pressing concern for the TOC than having the requisite number of bids to compete in the first place? Obviously, there are compelling arguments for why students should have school approval to compete. I get that. There are also compelling arguments for why students should have at least one bid in order to compete. So why does the TOC only find these respective arguments compelling in SOME students’ cases?

        • Jae Truther

          LOL @ the idea that I’m “objectively wrong.”

          I’ll make two brief points.

          1. I’m not surprised that Brendan, his father, and his private coach supported his competing. Kudos to you. But the idea that the principal “clarified everything” is ludicrous. This is why Andrea was mad: Because the principal literally only clarified that Brendan was eligible to earn a diploma from LCC, NOT that he was allowed to debate. When Andrea found out that he had been kicked off the team, she was pissed and felt deceived.

          But either way, the Brendan point is pretty irrelevant because:

          2. The fact remains that Jae has conducted himself horribly as a debater and should not be at TOC as an independent. Paras did not lie to tournaments about his independent status (he seems to have declared himself at places like Stanford). And Jalon and the other one are both Timmons examples, which I’ve already spoken to. Yet with Jae, he has lied time and again, and he was kicked off his own school’s team. I’ve explained why it would be a huge mistake to let him compete as an independent.

          Anyways, I’ll conclude with this message from TOC Advisory Member Lexy Green on your status. People can take it as they wish: “I would be a heck of a lot more likely to support this petition had he not said that he was home schooled when he tried to enter my tournament, failed to provide the documentation of home schooling needed to enter my tournament, failed to send his entry fee, and failed to drop his entry by the drop deadline.”

          • Fritz Pielstick

            Okay, first of all, I’m going to operate under the belief that if you lack the intellectual capacity to spell Brennan’s name correctly (it’s Brennan, not Brendan), you probably are not the best source for what transpired last year when he applied for an at-large. The only people directly involved in that fiasco were myself, Brennan, Brennan’s father, Bill Smelko, Paras Kumar (who also coached Brennan), Andrea Reed, and the administration at La Costa Canyon. So unless you are one of those people, then keep your irritatingly false opinions to yourself.

            Look, I will freely concede that there are reasons why a principal’s signature should be obtained before competing at the TOC. But as I stated earlier, these restrictions are enforced by the TOC in a way that is haphazard at best. Like it or not, there will always be independent entries earning bids. Therefore, unless the TOC can demonstrate some goddamn consistency in how they enforce their rules, the effect will be that some students will be left out for reasons that leave everyone scratching their heads.

            Both of your posts have included personal attacks on Jae. I think that illustrates your real motive here. You’re not standing up in support of maintaining the law and order of the TOC. You’re not trying to spare tournaments the liability costs of those pesky independent entries who cause nothing but trouble. You’re not trying to save debate as we know it from falling apart as hundreds of students catastrophically circumvent the rules to compete independently. You’re just smearing someone you don’t like (which is fine, I do that all the time, even on this site). If you’re going to do that, though, at least have the courage to not do it anonymously. If I can dedicate 2000+ words to viciously calling Aaron Timmons out on his bullshit without hiding behind an anonymous account, then you can make the case for why Jae Ahn shouldn’t be let into the TOC and still have people know who you are.

          • Jeremy

            I was unaware that debate was a personality competition.

          • Paras Kumar

            For what its worth, I’ve found the TOC policy on independents to be interestingly inconsistent.

            Cameron Baghai received bids at CPS and Stanford as an independent, but was allowed to compete at the 2008 and 2009 TOC as RB (Rancho Bernardo). He was coached by Mike Bietz at the 2008 TOC and by Adam Nelson at the 2009 TOC.

            I received bids at Stanford and Harker as RB Independent, but also received bids at Bronx, VBT, and Berkeley as RB. On my application, I wrote everything down, and presumed I’d get in either way given I had at least 2 bids under both names. Harker was a bit stressful for me because I wasn’t sure what would happen if I only had 1 bid as an independent, and I’m glad I didn’t find out. I was coached by Wes Craven at the 2011 TOC (along with Tara and Cam), and it’s worth noting I also prep-shared with Brentwood, who had Victor.

            Cameron competed as RB, but I was RB independent.

            Brennan’s fiasco of an application has been well-recorded. It’s worth noting that Brennan only had me and Fritz pulling for him, until Mr. Smelko also joined in, at which point the TOC’s stance seemed to finally start to budge.

            This is a small sample size, but in my opinion, all 3 of these cases were handled very differently. The relevant factors I’ve seen in TOC’s evaluation of independents is

            a. principal signature

            b. who is vouching for you (Bietz, Adam, Wes, and Victor have at least SOME say with Ms. Reed, but maybe not as much as we think they do–I’m really not sure the exact extent of their influence. The other thing I’d like to note is that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know all 4 of these people personally, and even if they do have power, all of them truly do want what’s best for the community and are incredibly well-hearted/intentioned and have not, do not, and will not abuse said power)

            c. whether an adult is present

            In my case, I had literally no issues with TOC. I got a principal signature, even though I did not have an adult present at toc and was underage until out rounds, which I think qualifies as the worlds least relaxing 18th birthday. It’s worth noting that under Jae truthers logic I technically “lied” to the TOC and RB because I told them I’d have an adult present. This fact would seem to deem me a “danger” or whatever Jae truther seems to consider Jae to the rest of my peers. I’ll let you decide how dangerous you think I am.

            I’ll have to double check Cam’s situation, but my memory seems to indicate him having a huge fiasco with TOC. My recollection is it had to do with a principal signature and lack of adult presence, but I am not positive on that.

            I’m not sure if Jae should compete, I don’t know the details and have no dog in this fight (but I’m sure Michael Vick does). Just though I’d shed some light on the independent situations that were not Brennan and were of relatively recent history.

            BTW: I had an extensive conversation with Jon Cruz about independent entry status some point at VBI between my junior and senior year, and realized that as small school debaters and coaches, we don’t really put ourselves in the shoes of tournament directors like AT, Dave, Jon, etc. It really is a legal hassle (hassle is an understatement) to have independents compete, because it opens the tournament up to a whole host of issues if any number of unpredictable things happen to said independent entry, be it a car crash, random heart attack, falling down the stairs and breaking a leg, suicide, etc.

            I’m not sure I’d allow independents to compete if I hosted a tournament. That being said, it’d be nice if the TOC took some time to set out a consistent interpretation of independent entry status, because I’ve seen nothing but inconsistency. It would have been incredibly frustrating to have worked my butt off for 4 years and then been told I can’t compete at TOC my senior year.

            Stay merry ya’ll,


            PS: Fritz’s point about not being anon and posting your name is something that merits serious consideration. If he can spend 2000+ words calling out someone as firmly present and influential as AT, you should probably attach your name to your comment, even if its mean and personal. I don’t think this is as much about growing a pair as it is about realizing debate isn’t that important in the long run of things known as your life. Learning to articulate a view and then defend it in a public space is what debate’s supposed to be about, and it’s sad that we feel uncomfortable doing that as a community. It’s a topic that has been broached several times on other forums (lddebate, vbd), and the conclusion has never really been positive. My impression has been that people really are afraid of “political backlash.” It’s a view that has been pretty firmly rooted in the minds of many since the day I joined debate. That’s sad.

            PPS: There’s been a Wes sighting. He emailed me 2 days ago. For those of you who care, he’s incredibly happy and doing dope shit, stuff he has wanted to do for a while now. Email me and I’ll tell you more!

            PPPS: can we all at least agree this song’s dope? If you don’t like this song, you suck. He literally made a jam using like 5 phrases.

          • Fritz Pielstick

            “PPS: There’s been a Wes sighting.”


          • Dhruv Walia

            Paras – could you tell me what the legal issues are or if someone is lawyer or something could you clarify. My intuition tells me that if a student’s parent is at the tournament they are responsible for his or her child – not the tournament. Am I wrong here?

          • Paras Kumar

            Nah, you’re right. But in my case at least, I never had parents accompany me. I think my mom and dad have never seen me debate. They probably would’ve flipped a shit if they had.

        • Jacob Nails

          Please leave Bon Jovi out of this.

          • Anti Oedipus

            Bon Jovi ain’t washed up.

        • Dhruv Walia

          I’m going to copy paste my problem with excluding independents from facebook:

          “If it’s about independents as much as I see the problem with privatizing debate, it’s impossible for most public school students to do debate if they face the same constraints as the public schools in norcal do. Here in the Fremont Union High School District – it is mandatory that all tournaments have a district employee on campus to allow a team to go with the school’s name. The problem is that no teacher is willing to do that so teams turn to higher coaches who want to travel but it gets worse. The new law in California makes it so that any public school extracurricular cannot have mandatory membership fees- only donations. Also because of recent budget cuts we get a very little stipend for coaches from the district. So we’re in a trap – we need to have our school name -> we need an employee from the district for that -> we need to raise money to get the employee -> we can’t have any mandatory fees. You see the problem? The only reason Lynbrook is running is because the students love the activity so much but it’s not sustainable. I don’t think the team will exist after I graduate. The donations we get are barely enough to make it to a positive bank balance at the end of the year.

          Now I understand this isn’t Jae’s problem. My point is simply that exclusion on the basis of being an independent isn’t fair. I’m thankful I have a coach who loves the activity more than money and that’s the only reason I still am able to compete nationally. So what we face here is the exclusion of most public school teams from the national circuit if we make this the norm. I’d love to hear the responses supporters of no-independent entries. I’m not being sarcastic because this issue affects me. What would be your alternative to independent entries?”

          I’m truly curious what is the alternative? Excluding every debater who’s family isn’t rich enough to send them to a private school where the program is funded properly? Please don’t take this as an insult I just want to know what I can do to get around this independent issue should the team decide to cut my coach out like so many others have which I don’t think will happen while I debate but I worry for the future of my team.

      • Reject The Opressor

        Samantha Hom is the sole reason Jae Ahn had past issues with Stuyvesant. She bad mouthed him to the director of the debate which lead to Jae Ahn being restricted to competing at only east coast tournament. Additionally, since then his school has granted him permission to compete at the TOC under the school name but the TOC is restricting his ability because his bids were not acquired under his school name. This seems absurd to me because he worked just as hard as anyone else who qualified if not more considering the fact that had to go through external means to attend tournaments. Plus, Jae Ahn cases is unique because all the concerns and issues of having an independent compete at the TOC are solved back by the fact that he will be competing under Stuyvesant.

        • Samantha Hom


        • Mark Gorthey

          this is a really productive and mature contribution, thanks Reject The Oppressor!!

        • David Joannides

          “Samantha Hom is the sole reason Jae Ahn had past issues with Stuyvesant. She bad mouthed him to the director of the debate which lead to Jae Ahn being restricted to competing at only east coast tournament.”

          this is so thoroughly absurd that it does not merit a response.

          “Additionally, since then his school has granted him permission to compete at the TOC under the school name but the TOC is restricting his ability because his bids were not acquired under his school name.”

          seems logical to me

          “This seems absurd to me because he worked just as hard as anyone else who qualified if not more considering the fact that had to go through external means to attend tournaments”

          indeed, it must be quite the burden to break every rule of tournament registration

          “Plus, Jae Ahn cases is unique because all the concerns and issues of having an independent compete at the TOC are solved back by the fact that he will be competing under Stuyvesant”

          i am baffled that stuy would still let him compete under the schools name.

      • mcgin029


    • saint paddy

      It baffles me that the TOC wants to actively discourage people from debating. There are coaches out there who oppose national circuit debate and won’t let their students compete on the circuit. And there are districts that require coach attendance at all tournaments but don’t have adequate coaching resources. So all those students, if they compete independently, don’t get to go to TOC? How can the TOC have a blanket rule against independent entries? Unless they’re going to investigate every case individually and verify all the facts–surely not–they should butt out and allow all qualified debaters to compete.

      Brennan makes an excellent point about “structural inequality”. There’s a ton of hypocrisy here among the big opponents of independent entries.

    • Anti Oedipus

      Let’s ease the situation with some Young Michael and a meme from your one and only Anti Oedipus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2xc8xZ0tV0

  • Guest

    I believe that Rebecca Gelfer from Clements also applied for an at-large.

    • Guest

      So did Maddy Ober from Apple Valley

  • Gus

    If there are 82 debaters qualled to TOC this year, does that mean that less people will at large?

    • Salim Damerdji

      Didn’t turn out that way last year. They still accepted 5 at-larges

  • Paras Kumar

    Don’t know where to put this since the coaching exchange is down, so I’m leaving it here. Feel free to remove if it’s inappropriate.

    I’ve been tied down with getting wrecked by pre-med classes/enjoying college/needing a break from LD. But, after watching rounds at Cal, I realized I miss doing drills with debaters and watching them grow.

    I’m looking to coach 1-2 kids for ToC/NDCA. I think I’d be best suited for someone who wants to debate tech, topic specific, and preferably with the utilz. My expertise in terms of coaching/drilling is with theory, util, defending util fwk’s, non-ethical approaches to fwk justifications, and strat/time trade-offs (especially in the 1ar/2n). I also think I have a lot to offer on giving effective CX and big picture analysis in the 2n/2a. I have an endless amount of drills from years of self-teaching/camp/cameron & tara that you’ll find incredibly helpful for all the skills above.

    I will not cut cards. I will not write cases. I will not attend ToC. This is all non-negotiable. I will only do drills.

    I’ve had this arrangement with debaters for the last 3+ years and they’ve all found it tremendously beneficial. At some point (not always for ToC, sometimes just over summer) and with varying levels of commitments, I’ve drilled with Regan, Jacob, Yang, Brennan, Chris, Chat, Murali, Dan, Karan, Pranav and Srikar. I think they’d all recommend me so hit them up if you’re skeptical.

    Qualifications/pay can be discussed offline. Shoot me an email if you’re interested: pkumar15 at berkeley dot edu

    Hope ya’ll gave Srikar shit for being the worst sports fan ever.

    • Brennan Sterling Caruthers

      Paras is an awesome coach, and a great friend.

  • Richard Dunn

    I was wondering, what is the record for the most bids any debater has ever gotten in one season?

    • Guest

      I believe Nadir Joshua and Steven Adler are tied for the record with 13.

    • sjadler

      I received 13 (2011); Catherine Tarsney received 12 (2010); Nadir Joshua (1998) and Bob Overing (2012) each received 11.

      A few different people have received 10, including now Ram, and before then I believe Sophie Ruff (2011) and Paul Tyger (2009). Might be others too here, not that sure.

      • Rebar Niemi


  • akdio

    didn’t danny win Harvard. Therefore also got a bid there….

    • Drew Burd

      Which is exactly what the list shows…

  • Paras Kumar

    Attention Everyone:

    I know I haven’t posted in a while, but this needed to be shared, and I’m not on social media, so I had no way to share other than through here.

    Srikar and I are video chatting and were talking about the Superbowl, when he made the brilliant observation that “we lost pretty badly.” Now, by we, he means the San Francisco 49’ers. Everyone please kindly give him shit about this.

    Also, while giving him shit, wish him a happy 17th.

    Hope ya’ll have been well,

    • Rebar Niemi

      “We” won the superb owl.



      TO THE NINERS, I SAY SIMPLY “scoreboard”

    • BenjaminKoh

      Happy Birthday, Srikar!

    • Fritz Pielstick

      The Niners actually scored almost as many points in the Superbowl as the Broncos did.