Two east debate teams took the top spots in the Kansas 6A state tournament this weekend. Seniors Ali Dastjerdi and Henry Walter became the state champions. Senior Shrushti Mehta and junior Bhavish Dinakar won second place.
After both East teams reached the final round, Coach Trey Witt chose to name the higher seeded team the winner instead of making two East teams compete against one another.
This was the second time in 6A Kansas debate history that a school has sent two teams to the final. The first time was also East in 2002.
Teams debated six rounds in Derby, Kansas, before entering a 32 team bracket. Each debate is decided by a vote of three judges. Dastjerdi and Walter won unanimously until the semi-final round.
Before they entered the semi-final, Dastjerdi and Walter knew Mehta and Dinakar had qualified for the championship.
“When we won [the semifinal], Henry and I knew we were going to be the champions by default,” Dastjerdi said.
Now that Kansas high school debate has ended, East teams will continue to progress to various tournaments around the country until the summer, beginning in Dallas with the Colleyville Heritage Winter Invitational on Jan. 30.