By Michael Sugerman
Freshmen Tommy Choi and Annie Kors shared first place in the Novice division at the Woodward Novice/Second Year Nationals debate tournament in Atlanta April 1-3. In addition to the co-champions, freshmen Garret Cayton, Julie Engel, William Gingold, Shelby Heitner and Michael O’Krent attended the tournament.
All seven Harvard-Westlake novice debaters, Choi and Kors included, advanced past six preliminary rounds into the elimination round of 16. Six of them advanced to the round of 8 and three made the semifinals. The tournament ended with Choi and Kors in the final.
Kors “walked over” Engel in the semis; debaters from the same school are not allowed to debate against one another, and as Kors was seeded higher in the tournament, she moved on to the finals.
Choi defeated Elisse Johnson of Las Vegas’ Meadows School to advance.
Both debated the topic “Juveniles who have committed violent crimes ought to be treated as adults.”
However, as both are Harvard-Westlake students, they could not actually debate each other and were deemed co-champions. In the Second Year division of the tournament, Brendan Gallagher ’13 took second place.
The team had been preparing the tournament’s topics since January. Senior debaters Jake Sonnenberg and Ben Sprung-Keyser write most of the team’s material and find much of the evidence referenced in debate, Choi said.
Choi said he felt that the team’s months of preparation made his and Kors’ win not necessarily exciting, but simply appropriate.