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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Debate team competes in local competition

Printed with permission of Mike Bietz
Members of the novice Lincoln-Douglas debate team pose together at an in-state tournament after completing a match.

The debate team competed in the Peninsula Invitational in Rolling Hills Estate, California, from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22. The school competed in the varsity and novice Lincoln-Douglas divisions.

Asher Meron ’25 and William Liu ’25 received Tournament of Champions (TOC) bids at the tournament through the Open Lincoln-Douglas division. Olivia Zhu ’27, Elijah Yguado ’28, Michael Reola ’28, Lucy Shi ’28, Jacob Waxman ’27 and Beau Cartwright ’27 placed in the top 10 speakers in the Novice Lincoln-Douglas division.

Director of Debate Mike Bietz said the team showed up in large numbers and performed well in both categories at the tournament.

“I think it’s the most debaters that we took to a tournament this year,” Bietz said. “We took 17 debaters to the tournament, and they got to stay overnight. They did very, very well. I think we had six of the top 10 speakers. And in varsity debate, we had two debaters earn bids to the Tournament of Champions, so it was a very successful weekend. ”

Bietz said he was impressed by the team’s performance but felt proudest about how well team members helped each other.

“Debate is an activity where you go in and debate by yourself,” Bietz said. “But the preparation and all those things that we do as a team, I get to see. To see the older debaters helping the younger debaters and being supportive is always gonna make me more proud than winning. Judges decide who wins, but in terms of how the kids acted and supported each other, those are deliberate choices, so I’m proud of them for that.”

Debater Kaison Maruyama ’27 said the support the team gave him along with his own work made him feel prepared for the tournament.

“I put in a lot of work before the tournament, and I think it really payed off,” Maruyama said. “Even though I wasn’t 100 percent prepared for everything, I felt that my team was really able to help me.”

Meron said he felt he made a lot of progress since his last tournament and is now focused on getting a second bid to advance to the TOC.

“I feel like this tournament was a big improvement in my performance which was obviously reflected in getting my first bid,” Meron said. “Now I’m aiming to get a second one so I can fully qualify for the TOC, so I’ll definitely be working hard on getting that by the end of the season. Hopefully that push will start in Atlanta this weekend.”

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