Berkeley's Debate Team Wins Big!

Berkeley’s debate team pulled off something amazing and extremely unusual at the 49th Annual Harvard High School Speech and Debate Tournament this past weekend in Cambridge, MA. 
More than 80 teams of two students competed from high schools across the country. From Berkeley, 10 Upper Division students competed—four varsity teams and one JV team. The top 32 teams moved on to the elimination round, and Berkeley was the only school in the tournament that had three teams make the elimination round. 
In just their third varsity tournament ever, Maryclare Nestor ’25 and Emma Yu ’25, the #26 seed, had a strong showing in the elimination round, upsetting the #7 seed. And the two other Berkeley teams in the elimination round went all the way to the finals! Since teams from the same school can’t compete against each other, the top two teams were named co-winners: Antonio Souchet ’23 and Peter Zinober ’23 made up one team (the #5 seed); the other team was the #2 seed, Michael Ross ’25 and Sameer Varkantham ’25 (who was ill and had to be excused from competition, but Michael was allowed to finish the tournament solo).
Dr. Kevin Kuswa, an Upper Division History and Religious Studies Teacher who has coached the team for the past seven years, says: “Every so often we have a lot of things go right and we’ll win a tournament, but it’s rare. We have never closed out a tournament with both finalists being from Berkeley—especially at one of the largest national tournaments of the year.” 
Founded in 1960, Berkeley is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory day school located in Tampa, FL, for boys and girls in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Approximately 1,400 students gather here from the greater Tampa Bay area to form ONE Berkeley.