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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:

  • 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

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 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

Speech & Debate News


Rostrum Magazine - An NSDA Publication





April/May 2021

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


2022-2023 Tournament Season Schedule *tentative* 

Jon Schamber Invitational (Univ of Pacific)
October 29 - 30, 2022
In Person

John Lewis Invitational (Silver Creek HS)
November 19 - 20, 2022
In Person

Holiday Classic
December 16 - 17, 2022
Record and Submit

All Inclusive Invitational
February 23 - 25, 2023
Record and Submit

SCJFL Speech Tournament 
October 30, 2021

Ryan Mills Invitational (Westmont HS)
March 18 - 19, 2023
In Person

Bay Area MS Champs (Presentation HS)
April 2, 2023
In Person

CHSSA State Tournament
May 11 - 13, 2023

NSDA National Tournament (Phoenix, AZ)
June 12 - 16, 2023
In Persoon