Elizabeth Avalos' team beats USC and advances to nationals

Wearing a green baseball cap over her jet-black hair, she looks too cool for words, but actually [Elizabeth Avalos is] already on a state championship team and is bracing herself for verbal, intellectual combat — on a national level.

Avalos' confidence is etched on her determined face. Just two months ago, she and her debating teammates from tiny NHU in East San Jose defeated a heavily favored team from the University of Southern California to win the state Ethics Bowl title and a berth at the national championships next week.

Fearlessly, NHU will go up against 30 bigger regional champions, including perennial debating powers from UW, Indiana, Clemson and Navy.

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