Junior Amitoj Singh Cuts Close to Nationals at Yale Invitational Debate Tournament


Krisha Konchadi

After many years of debate experience, Singh says testing his abilities at an extremely high level, he is finally able to see his progress, and is proud of how far he has come.

Junior Amitoj Singh was one win away at the virtual Yale Invitational Debate from qualifying for a spot at the Tournament of Champions over the weekend of Oct. 2-4. 

“The Yale Invitational is special partially because it is a prestigious speech and debate tournament in the East coast, and the East coast’s high schools have a long and rich history of highly competitive debate teams,” speech and debate co-advisor Doris Schlothan said. “The Yale Invitational, not only being at one of the top Ivy Leagues but also being one of the first ‘big’ tournaments of every school year, means there is always extra excitement and competitiveness about that particular tournament.” 

With the tournament being on a Zoom call, debaters had to speak to each other in breakout rooms with their competitors and the judges. Technical difficulties such as bad microphone quality and video lag added more complications to the already nerve-wracking tournament. 

Singh placed in the top 16, which moved him on to the finals round, then won 5 out of 6 debates placing him in 14th place in the preliminary round. He was one win away from bidding in the national tournament.

According to the Yale Invitational website, the topic for this year’s Lincoln-Douglas style debate was resolved: in a democracy, voting ought to be compulsory. Debaters switched between affirmative and negative stances on the topic during the preliminary rounds, which would advance him into the elimination rounds. 

“After prelims, I was pretty stoked because I had five wins and only one loss, and I thought I was in a good position to get that big win, but right after the tournament when I heard the decision, I was pretty sad because I was so close. I just couldn’t pull through that one round,” Singh said. “But after I was reflecting on the rounds, I was pretty proud of myself. I felt like all the hard work I put into debate is starting to really pay off at this point, and I’m starting to see the results I want to see.”

Winners of the tournament can not only win the honor of a physical award, but also the chance for a spot at the Tournament of Champions, one of the most reputable high school debate tournaments in America, according to Schlothan. 

“I was reflecting on the round, and I was pretty proud of myself,” Singh said. “I felt like all the hard work that I put into debate and all the time I’ve put is starting to really pay off at this point, and I’m starting to see the results I want to see. As the season progresses forward, I can only look ahead and feel confident in myself that I’m at the level of debate where I’m in position to get a bid and go further in these debate tournaments… I’m pretty optimistic about the future.”