Competitive Speech & Debate

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. Students take an elective class in the first trimester to prepare for competition. 

The ACDS Speech team participates in both middle and high school invitational tournaments including the State and National championship tournaments. In 2021, ACDS was named a School of Excellence, an honor only the top 20 teams in the country can receive. 

Speech & Debate Tournament Highlights

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

  • 2021 John Lews Invitational: Tournament Champion, 3rd Place and 6th place Novice Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Place Novice Declamation
  • 2021 NSDA National Tournament Showcase: Humorous Interpretation and Declamation Showcase Champions
  • 2021 CMSF State Championships: 2nd Place Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 SCJFL League Championship: Tournament Champion, Duo Interpretation, 2nd Place and 3rd Place Declamation
  • 2021 CHSSA State Tournament: 3rd Place Sweepstakes, State Champion Duo Interpretation, State Champion Storytelling, State Champion Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 Southern States Invitational: Tournament Champion Duo Interpretation, 2nd Place Impromptu Speaking
  • 2021 SCJFL League 3: Tournament Champion Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Place Duo Interpretation
  • 2021 Henry Clay: 3rd Place Declamation
  • 2021 Bardstown Blizzard: 2nd Place Humorous Interpretation
  • 2021 Gray MS Tournament: Tournament Champion Humorous Interpretation, Tournament Champion Impromptu Speaking, 3rd Place Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Place and 3rd Place Declamation
  • 2021 Highlands MS Tournament: Tournament Champions Declamation and Humorous Interpretation, 2nd Place Impromptu Speaking and Humorous Interpretation, 3rd Place Declamation
  • 2021 Cabot Classic: 4th Place Informative 
  • 2021 SCJFL League 1: 2nd Place and 3rd Place Duo Interpretation
  • 2020 John Lewis Invitational: Tournament Champion, Runner Up and 6th Place Humorous Interp, Tournament Champions Duo Interp
  • 2020 Wolpert-Gawron Invitational: 2nd Place and 3rd Place Duo Interp, Tournament Champion and 4th Place Declamation
  • 2020 NSDA Middle School Challenge: Showcase Champion Congress Authorship Speech

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

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

  • 2020 Berman Invitational: Tournament Champion, 2nd and 3rd Dramatic Interp, Tournament Champion Novice Spontaneous Argumentation

  • 2020 Stanford Invitational: 2nd Dramatic Interp, 5th Humorous Interp 

  • 2019 Panther Invitational: Tournament Champion Dramatic Interp, Tournament Champions and 2nd Duo Interp
  • 2019 Bay Area Congressional Debate: Chamber Champion 

  • 2019 Burnett Invitational: Tournament Champion Duo Interp

  • 2019 NSDA National Championships: 7th Humorous Interp, 9th Storytelling

  • 2019 Middle School State Championships: State Champion, 3rd, 5th Humorous Interp. State Champion, 2nd, 5th Storytelling
  • 2019 Bay Area Middle School Championships: 2nd Dramatic Interp, 2nd and 3rd Humorous Interp, 2nd Duo Interp

  • 2019 Stanford Invitational: 3rd Duo Interp, 2nd and 4th Humorous Interp

  • 2018 Panther Invitational: Tournament Champion, 2nd, 3rd Humorous Interp, Tournament Champions and 2nd Duo Interp, 3rd Dramatic Interp

  • 2018 NSDA Middle School National Championships: Humorous Interp Quarter Finalist

  • 2015 Middle School National Championships: 5th Original Oratory

  • 2015 Dempsey Cronin Invitational: Tournament Champion Informative 

    Click here for full results

About Chris Wardner

Mr. Wardner has been the Public Speaking teacher and Director of Speech and Debate at Almaden Country Day School for over 25 years. He is a National Speech and Debate Association Three 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 have reached the State and National tournament final rounds where 2 were named National Championships, 6 Showcase Champions, and 10 State Championships.

For more information on Almaden Country Day School’s Competitive Speech and Debate Program, please 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

Speech & Debate News


Rostrum Magazine - An NSDA Publication





April/May 2021

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


2021-2022 Tournament Season Schedule *tentative* 

NSDA Springboard Scrimmage #3
October 5, 2021

NSDA Springboard Scrimmage #4
October 7, 2021

NSDA Springboard Scrimmage #5
October 19, 2021

Springboard Scrimmage #6
October 21, 2021

SCJFL Speech Tournament 
October 30, 2021

John Lewis SVUDL Invitational
November 20-21, 2021

SCJFL Speech Tournament 2
December 11, 2021

SCJFL So-Cal Champs
May 7-8, 2022
Online or In-Person CA

CMSF State Championship State 
May 21-22, 2022
Online or In-Person CA

2022 NSDA National Speech & Debate Tournament
June 12-17, 2022
Louisville, KY