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Competitive Speech & Debate

Speech and Debate Students
Speech & Debate - Chris Wardner and Students
Speech & Debate - Chris Wardner and Students
Speech & Debate - Students
Speech & Debate - Student
Speech & Debate - Students
Speech & Debate - Chris Wardner and Students
Speech & Debate - Students

The ACDS Speech and Debate Team

Competitive Speech and Debate at Almaden Country Day School is a fun and exciting way for students in grades 6-8 to develop their public speaking and debate skills under the guidance of nationally renowned Coach Chris Wardner. The Speech and Debate team is open to all middle school students. ACDS does not hold tryouts or cut students from the team. During the 1st trimester, the students take an elective class that allows them to prepare for competition with minimal impact on after-school activities. During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters coaching is one-on-one and scheduled by appointment after school. 

The ACDS Speech team participates in 6 to 10 tournaments each season. The team is invited to both middle and high school invitational tournaments held both locally and at locations outside the Bay Area. The season concludes with the State and National championship tournaments. The 2024 National Tournament will be held in Des Moines, Iowa. In 2021, ACDS was named a School of Excellence. This award is given to the top 20 schools in the country and recognizes outstanding achievement as a team.

Speech & Debate Tournament Highlights

The Almaden Country Day School Competitive Speech and Debate Team placed at these tournaments:

  • 2023 Bay Area MS Championships: Dramatic Interpretation Tournament Champion Harper Buck, Alayna Latif 3rd place Humorous Interpretation, Byron Liu 3rd place Informative Speaking, Makoto Abe 5th place Humorous Interpretation, Abigail Peterson 6th place Declamation
  • 2022 All Inclusive Invitational: Abigail Peterson 4th Place Declamation, Alayna Latif 2nd Place Humorous Interpretation, Sarah Vender 4th Place Humorous Interpretation, Makoto Abe 5th Place Humorous Interpretation
  • 2022 Holiday Classic: Harper Buck Tournament Champion Dramatic Interpretation, Sara Vender 2nd Place Humorous Interpretation, Alayna Latif 3rd Place Humorous Interpretation, Matvei Potov 3rd Place Informative Speaking, Ryan Wilkinson 3rd Place Original Oratory, Armaan Bhasin 4th Place Original Oratory, Byron Lu 5th Place Informative Speaking
  • 2022 Aurevoir Invitational: Sarah Vender Tournament Champion Humorous Interpretation, Ryan Wilkinson Tournament Champion Original Oratory, Harper Buck 2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation, Alondra Surani Semi Finalist Declamation, Abigail Peterson Semi Finalist Declamation
  • 2022 John Lewis Invitational: Abigail Peterson 3rd place Declamation, Ryan Wilkinson 4th place Original Oratory, Harper Buck 7th place Dramatic Interpretation, Byron Liu 9th place Informative Speaking
  • 2022 University of Pacific: Kostantina Bala 2nd Place Dramatic Interpretation
  • 2022 Gray Middle School Tournament: Tournament Champion and 6th Original Oratory, 4th Duo Interpretation, Tournament Champion Declamation, Tournament Champion, 3rd, 5th, 6th Humorous Interpretation, 5th Storytelling
  • 2022 Highlands Middle School Tournament: Tournament Champion and 5th Original Oratory, 4th Duo Interpretation, Tournament Champion, 2nd and 6th Humorous Interpretation, Tournament Champion and 2nd Declamation
  • 2022 Bixby Green Corn Classic: Tournament Champion Duo Interpretation, Tournament Champion, 2nd and 3rd Original Oratory, Tournament Champion, 2nd and 3rd Declamation, Tournament Champion and 2nd Informative, Tournament Champion, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 Scholars Invitational: Bronze Informative Speaking, Bronze Original Oratory, Silver Original Oratory, Gold Original Oratory, Bronze and Gold Declamation, Bronze Storytelling, Gold Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 John Lewis Invitational: Tournament Champion, 3rd and 6th Novice Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Novice Declamation
  • 2021 NSDA National Tournament Showcase: Showcase Champion Humorous Interpretation and Declamation 
  • 2021 CMSF State Championships: 2nd Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 SCJFL League Championship: Tournament Champion Duo Interpretation, 2nd and 3rd Declamation
  • 2021 CHSSA State Tournament: 3rd Sweepstakes, State Champion Duo Interpretation, State Champion Storytelling, State Champion Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 Southern States Invitational: Tournament Champion Duo Interpretation, 2nd Impromptu Speaking
  • 2021 SCJFL League 3: Tournament Champion Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Duo Interpretation
  • 2021 Henry Clay: 3rd Declamation
  • 2021 Bardstown Blizzard: 2nd Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 Gray MS Tournament: Tournament Champion Humorous Interpretation, Tournament Champion Impromptu Speaking, 3rd Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Place and 3rd Declamation
  • 2021 Highlands MS Tournament: Tournament Champion Declamation and Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Impromptu Speaking and Humorous Interpretation, 3rd Declamation
  • 2021 Cabot Classic: 4th Informative 
  • 2021 SCJFL League 1: 2nd and 3rd Duo Interpretation
  • 2020 John Lewis Invitational: Tournament Champion, Runner Up and 6th Humorous Interpretation, Tournament Champions Duo Interpretation
  • 2020 Wolpert-Gawron Invitational: 2nd and 3rd Duo Interpretation, Tournament Champion and 4th Declamation
  • 2020 NSDA Middle School Challenge: Showcase Champion Congress Authorship Speech

  • 2020 SCJFL National Invitational: Tournament Champion, 2nd and 4th Dramatic Interpretation, Tournament Champion and 3rd Duo Interpretation
  • 2020 CMSF State Championships: State Champion, 2nd, and 3rd Dramatic Interpretation, State Champion Duo Interpretation, 8th Overall Sweepstakes

  • 2020 Golden State Invitational: Tournament Champion Spontaneous Argumentation, Tournament Co-Champion Declamation, 2nd and 3rd Humorous Interpretation, 2nd and 3rd Dramatic Interpretation

Click here for full LIST OF results

About Chris Wardner

Christopher Wardner

Mr. Wardner has been the Public Speaking teacher and Director of Speech and Debate at Almaden Country Day School for over 30 years. He is a National Speech and Debate Association Four Diamond coach and was named the 2021 Middle School Coach of the Year. Mr. Wardner also coaches at Leland High School, which has been awarded the National Speech and Debate Association School of Distinction given to the top ten schools in the country. During his tenure, numerous students at ACDS and Leland have reached the State and National tournament final rounds where 3 were named National Champions, 5 were named Middle School National Tournament Showcase Champions, and 15 have won State Championships.

For more information on Almaden Country Day School’s Competitive Speech and Debate Program, please read our FAQs and/or contact Coach Chris Wardner.


I'm blown away that ACDS has a middle school speech program of this caliber. This program is world class and a natural extension of the school's values. Beyond trophies, I'm impressed and grateful for how dedicated a coach and mentor Chris is, whether students are managing disappointment or are winning state. Middle School Parent

2023-2024 Tournament Season Schedule *tentative* 

Jon Schamber Invitational
(Univ of Pacific)

October 28 - 29, 2023
In Person

John Lewis Invitational
(Silver Creek HS)

November 18 - 19, 2023
In Person

Bentley Invitational
(The Bentley School)

December 9, 2023
In Person

Ryan Mills Invitational

March 16 - 17, 2024
In Person

Kennedy MS Tournament
(Kennedy MS)

March 30, 2024
In Person

Bay Area MS Champs (Presentation HS)
April 6, 2024
In Person

CHSSA State Tournament
April 26 - 28, 2024

SCJFL SoCal Champs
(East Los Angeles College)

May 4 - 5, 2024
In Person

CMSF State Tournament
(TBD Northern CA)

May 18 - 19, 2024
In Person

NSDA National Tournament
(Des Moines, IA)

June 18 - 21, 2024
In Person

Speech & Debate News


Rostrum Magazine - An NSDA Publication





April/May 2021

"Meet us in the Middle: The State of Middle School Speech and Debate"