Anisha Vora and Parth Kalaria are Co-Champs of the 2014 Vestavia Hills Tournament







Alabama, USA- Congratulations to Annie Wright’s Anisha Vora and Trinity Valley’s Parth Kalaria for winningthe 2014 Vestavia Hills Tournament. Parth is coached by Nathan Johnston, Steven Adler, Yang Yi, and Stephanie Allen. Anisha is coached by Daniel Selman, Charles Chy, and Sonia Vora.



Annie Wright AV def. Del Mar OG (Omar Gaidarov)

Trinity Valley PK def. Oxbridge NV (Nalin Vattigunta)



Annie Wright AV def. Trinity Valley PK (Parth Kalaria)

  • Omar Gaidarov

    Huge shout out to Jae Ahn for conceding in quarters to help me get to the bid round

  • Daniel Selman

    Having attended/worked the Vestavia tournament for the last 5 years I thought I would chime in on why a lot of these problems occur. The first is that Vestavia’s coach does not prioritize the tournament as “national circuit,” but instead runs it like any other local tournament that just happens to have a bid. He doesn’t necessarily prioritize judging qualifications for important rounds, for example. Rather I think he runs the tournament for efficiency since Vestavia was notorious for running late into saturday night in the past. Im not saying this makes for a better tournament, but rather I’m just giving an explanation of why this might occur. I may be mistaken about these issues, however, this is just what I’ve gathered over the years.

    On the issue of judges lying about their qualifications, I think debaters at this tournament took too many liberties given their questions about the judges paradigm’s. Its easy to see that a local debater who never attended a national circuit tournament isn’t going to have a modern, in depth understanding of theory. A lot of the judges in question havent debated/been involved in the community since 2010 and what theory looked like then and now, and how easily judges are willing to vote on it, is very different. Asking more in depth questions concerning how easily they will disregard theory would highlight this distinction.

    Finally, on the issue of high schoolers being in the judging pool. This has been a problem on the local circuit in alabama for about a year now from my experience. These judges don’t mention they are in high school when signing up to judge and act as if they are not at the tournament, so it is hard to pin point them. Once tab discovered they were in high school they were removed from the judging pool. Im not really sure what more you could ask tab to do given the situation.

    • Tommy Archibald

      I think Daniel’s analysis is pretty spot on. Coming from another Vestavia debater who’s been involved with the tournament for three years now, I think that many of the problems with this tournament that are cited on this website simply represent a conflict of interests. The individuals in charge of running the tournament have different expectations, priorities, and notions of proper procedure with regards to operating a tabroom than many of the people on this forum. The tournament primarily caters to the interests of local coaches and debaters, and those in charge give little thought to things like TOC bid status and what people say on NSD Update. Whether you all, myself, or anyone else thinks this is the “correct” way of doing things is beside the point. It is simply the way it is.

      I also tend to agree with Daniel on the issue of judge qualifications. The outround that I watched was characteristic of a higher level prelim round/early outround at a major national tournament. It was a messy round with many arguments on the flow, pretty dense theory, and tons of modern jargon, tricks, and arguments delivered at high speeds. In no way was this a fitting round given the panel’s overall experience, so much so, that two of the three judges said so in their RFD’s. At some point, the responsibility falls in the debaters’ hands to adapt to the preferences of the judge. I know that many of us don’t like it, especially given the extremely high expectation of tabula rasa and highly literate judges in outrounds at bid tournaments, but it was simply the circumstances that arose.

      You can interpret this however you may and draw whatever distinctions that you want, but this is simply the way things were. Vestavia certainly is not a perfect tournament, but I feel that this year’s tournament is pretty consistent with reasonable expectations set by previous years. I talked to many of you all who were at the tournament, and you know my personal feelings on these issues.

    • tlonam

      I just want to agree with Daniel’s sentiment here. I haven’t personally attended the Vestavia tournament as a student or coach but I have been getting reasonably well involved with the local Alabama circuit and I think Daniel’s comment brings to light a lot of the issues that surround the local circuit that I’ve discussed with coaches.

      Alabama used to be a powerhouse in TOC level LD, with lots of debaters in deep elimination rounds and several championships at the TOC in the late 90s. As debate has evolved and become faster and far more complicated, Alabama coaches experienced less success and the incentive to fund debate become less and less apparent to administrators. I think its fair to say that while schools like Vestavia and Altamont and Montgomery Academy, etc. managed to keep competing nationally, the regional circuit turned inwards and became more and more entrenched in traditional LD, which is cheaper, easier to teach (and to find teachers to teach it) and more accessible to administrators.

      Now, very few Alabama programs compete at bid tournaments outside of the south (Vestavia and MA come to mind) and so the local circuit has developed norms completely distinct to the national circuit. This extends to the Vestavia tournament, which is run by a tournament director who runs an efficient, albeit very traditional, debate tournament. You can’t blame tournaments like Vestavia for not catering to every whim of the national circuit, because that’s just not its target audience.

      Its really important to note that just because Vestavia generally fields debate rounds that aren’t national circuit style, that it shouldn’t lose its bids. If you take all the bids away from the south, any chance of having strong national circuit debaters or programs will die completely. Bids don’t only reward tournaments that are the best in their region, they provide opportunities to debaters who don’t otherwise have the means to enter the national circuit, be it because of administrative hurtles or finances or what have you.


    “lone” = only

    • Sarah McDonagh

      I didn’t mean to misappropriate the apparently coveted LoneWolf(tm). I apologize and redact my earlier comment. I now congratulate Anisha for succeeding as a member of a small, underfunded flock of ducks. Hopefully this is agreeable to all

  • Charles Chy

    I don’t know when the criteria for what constitutes a “lone wolf” became laid out in such objective form, but thanks for the input.

  • CTYcrossoverJA

    Hey, apart from this, I forgot about quarters, so here it is:

    Annie Wright AV def. Mountain Brook JF
    Oxbridge NV def. Prattville PF
    Trinity Valley PK def. Mountain Brook AF
    Del Mar OG def. CTY JL

  • Salim Damerdji

    Um, I’m guessing you haven’t seen Nalin debate before. He would’ve beat Pranav in prelims while affirming at stanford if it weren’t for a cx fuck up before Pranav’s NR. (I think the round was recorded.) Like, Nalin is insanely good for his year and his tech definitely is much better than most seniors. Anyhow, it’s really disappointing Nalin couldn’t finish the qual at Vestavia.

    • Mathew Pregasen

      Hey, operation #atlarge is still game. Also – if you guys have comments for Vestavia I think it is probably best to email them politely and voice concerns opposed to just posting here on NSD primarily because I am not absolutely sure if a comment/criticism here will get to them in person.

      That being said, in Vestavia’s defense, the tournament is going to have more lay panels. If MJP was used at Vestavia, then go to MJP. If not (likely given its a finals bid), then you can’t really blame a director for not putting in the more “legit” judge if they do not know who that is.
      If I was to suggest the best judge to put in, I am 100% sure that there would be someone to disagree with me (hence the birth of MJP over the years).

      I know a lot of people criticize how someone could get a bid based on a lay panel. Not absolutely sure if that’s a bad thing, however. There are a ton of bid tournaments with technical panels but it would also be odd to completely shut out debaters more skilled for traditional panels. I feel like this functions in the some way that some panels are more adapt to “LARP” aspects of debate and others less inclined to vote on theory. 90% of debate is about adapting. I am not advocating we throw MJP out of debate or have more lay panels, but I think we cannot blame directorJust food for thought.

    • Nonnymus23

      He also didn’t win the round… Someone’s tech can be good but that doesn’t mean they ‘deserve’ a qual. If you qual, you qual. If you don’t, it’s no one’s fault but your own. I don’t think you can attribute lack of performance to anyone but yourself.

      Sure, this kid may be good, I’ve never seen him debate, but people should stop egoistically fanboying someone who’s just handing out money to people who apparently just flame NSDUpdate if their kid messes up.

      Looking forward to watching that video.

      • Salim Damerdji

        Are you really saying Nalin pays Jae to fanboy him online? They’re close friends and work hard together, but seriously?

        Anywho, I never claimed Nalin won the bid round or that the judges made a mistake or that Vestavia is bad; I just thought it was wrong to insinuate Nalin’s bad at debate. (eg: “Maybe it’s the debater… disrespect, man.”) That’s a pretty dickish to say anonymously on public forums. Anyhow, I have nothing against Vestavia or that particular panel. I just think good debaters should qual to the toc and it sucks when they don’t. Hopefully we’d reward good debating since that’s literally the point of the activity. I never said anything about what Nalin deserves, but, based on what I saw at Stanford, i think Nalin should be at the toc

        • Guest

          Guys, I don’t coach Nalin. He does not pay me. To be honest, Nalin and I are really close friends and he’s taught me a lot this year. If you think sharing prep and working together on casing is coaching, be my guest. However, we help each other out in crucial situations. For example, at VBT, Nalin and I wrote T and theory shells and scouted out rounds in order to write prepouts. We don’t pay each other to do anything. We work hard together and the reward we get out of that is our payment. Nalin does not pay me to do any work for him. We’re just good friends. I’m sorry if you thought otherwise.

          • Sam_Azbel

            Can I pay you to coach me?

  • Sarah McDonagh

    shoutout to one of the nicest and most hardworking debaters I know GOOOOO ANISHAAAAA your lone-wolfiness is inspiring way to rep dis young northwest

  • CTYcrossoverJA

    Although Vestavia is a primarily lay tournament, I strongly believe that a bid round panel should consist of qualified individuals who are honest about their capacities to judge. In no way is this a personal attack on any individual, but in the round I watched, one of the debaters who was so clearly winning before the opponent’s next speech was voted down as a result of false judging capabilities. On top of this, the most capable judge in the pool was observing another round because of lack of coordination. I hope the south is able to retain bids, but what I had watched was ridiculous.

    • Dhruv Walia

      thats what happens when you bid hunt… (I know from experience)

    • Debater

      While I think the scenario you have described with regards to the judging at Vestavia Hills is unfortunate, it can’t have been entirely unexpected… I can’t help but refer back to these comments from Jeff Liu a few years back:

      “Anyone who has recently attended a finals bid in the South knows that they are not much more than local tournaments. Judging is mostly lay, the few good judges are usually not prioritized on outrounds panels, and national circuit competition is thin.”

    • ConscentiousDebater

      Agreeably, this year’s Vestavia tournament had some dubious judging. Through the first 5 rounds of prelims, high schoolers from competing schools were judging the Varsity LD division. Although lay debate is implied within this kind of a tournament, judging by those in the same age and position as the debater is not. Not only are there problems here with the experience of judges, but also with the inherent biases that high schoolers have towards and against specific individuals. The judging issue extended even further when, in the bubble, judges evaluating their very first LD round were deciding who would break. And, in both semi-final rounds, to my knowledge, multiple judges falsely answered debaters’ questions about their capabilities, leading to misinformed debate and evaluation. This is, of course, not an issue with lay judges in general, but rather with the judges chosen to evaluate crucial rounds throughout the tournament. I am not attacking any particular individual within the tournament, but I am saying that tournaments with bids should probably not create an environment that has the potential to stop deserving debaters from attending the TOC.

  • CTYcrossoverJA


    Del Mar OG v. Annie Wright AV
    Oxbridge NV (neg) v. Trinity Valley PK (aff)