Pacific Forensics starts season off strong on its way to 5th Place Ranking Nationally
By Steven Kalani Farias, Director of Forensics
With three tournaments in three weekends, Pacific Forensics is off to a fast start as it finds itself 5th overall in the National Parliamentary Debate Association rankings with its top team of Senior Kayla Gerdes and Junior Dominic Lesaca ranked 8th in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence rankings. These rankings cap off a strong start to the season that saw the team with multiple elimination round appearances, first place finishes in individual events, and three top 3 overall finishes as a university.
Golden Gate Opener
First was the Northern California Forensics Association’s season opener—The Golden Gate Opener hosted by San Francisco State University from Sept. 21-23. On their way to a second overall finish in tournament sweepstakes (the 4th straight year the team has finished in the top five at the season opener), the team received contributions from both returning and new competitors. First was parliamentary debate on Friday and Saturday where 10 students (including 5 new students) competed in partnerships of 2 against schools such as UC Berkeley, St. Mary’s, and University of Nevada, Reno. Gerdes and Lesaca and transfer Junior’s Alan Fishman and Robert Torralva finished prelims with a 5-1 record while Junior Ravi Prasad and Freshman Arshita Sandhiparthi (in her first collegiate tournament ever!) finished with a 4-2 record. All three teams would make it to the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
1: Senior Joslynn Howard and Sophomore Cassidy Johnson celebrate multiple victories at Season Opener
Next up were the Individual Events where two tournaments happened across Saturday and Sunday. Across the two tournaments Pacific competitors would win a total of 16 awards across six events. Highlighting these placings were: Senior Joslynn Howard who had three first place finishes (including TWO in Programmed Oral Interpretation) and another placing; Senior George Cruz took 1st in Poetry on day one and 3rd on day two; Sophomore Cassidy Johnson who took 1st place TWICE in After Dinner Speaking; and Junior Ravi Prasad who took 1st place in Impromptu Speaking and 3rd place in Extemporaneous speaking. Freshman Cassandra Ribeiro and Arshita Sandhiparthi, along with Junior Ariella Aung would each place multiple times across multiple events as well
Finally, there was Lincoln Douglas Debate where Pacific debaters Fishman, Torralva, Lesaca, and Gerdes would finish in quarterfinals, quarterfinals, semi-finals, and in 2nd place. respectively, in Open division. Sophomore Connor Lemmon would be the Tournament Champion in Junior Division!
Rice University Classic
2: Seniors Kayla Gerdes and Joslynn Howard excited to start their fourth and final year on the team with multiple victories
Next the team would travel to Houston, Tx to compete at the Rice University Classic from Sept. 28-Sept. 30 where Gerdes and Lesaca would debate against 3 of the top 10 teams in the nation; also, Howard and Prasad would compete against some of the fiercest Individual Events competition Texas can offer. With a 4-1 record, Gerdes and Lesaca would advance to quarterfinals once again and both would find themselves as top 10 overall debaters at the tournament. Not to be outdone, Howard would place three times once again with a 1st place finish in Prose and a 1st and 2nd place finishes in Programmed Oral Interpretation. Prasad would place in Extemporaneous speaking as well.
Santa Rosa Junior College Invitational
Because the veteran members of the team travelled to Houston immediately after the season opener, they would sit out the next tournament while newer members got another opportunity to showcase their abilities. Traveling to Santa Rosa Junior College Oct. 5-6, Pacific would once again use an entire team effort to take 2nd Overall in Individual Events Sweepstakes and claim Tournament Champions in University Sweepstakes.
On day one, new comers Junior Marlu Reyes and Freshman Cassandra Ribeiro would advance to the quarterfinal round in Open NPDA debate at their first tournament debating together! On day two, Connor Lemmon would prove that his success at the Golden Gate Opener in Lincoln Douglas was no fluke making it to Semi-Finals in Open Lincoln Douglas debate. Finally, Cassidy Johnson would win 1st place in After Dinner Speaking and Prose interpretation, Arshita Sandhiparthi would win 1st place in Novice Impromptu Speaking as her freshman counterparts Cassandra Ribeiro and Ta’Niyia Smith would finish 3rd and 4th, respectively. Ta’Niyia would also place 5th in Poetry Interpretation.
With well over 30 awards across three tournaments the team is well on its way to another strong season. We know that the rankings will change and if we do not keep working hard we will fall behind other programs. Still, it feels good to be ranked so high for now and we hope to carry our early success forward.