Debaters fail to advance to US championship elimination rounds

Claire Goldsmith

Five debaters competed in the Tournament of Champions last weekend, but none advanced to the elimination rounds. Seven had qualified for the national championship, which is held every year at the University of Kentucky for the top 75 debaters in the country.

Annie Kors ’14 won four of her seven preliminary rounds, falling short of the five wins needed to “break” or advance to the elimination bracket. Tommy Choi ’14, Julie Engel ’14 and Michael O’Krent ’14 won three out of seven rounds and Shelby Heitner ’14 won two and lost five.

“This year was my first time attending TOC and it really wasn’t like any other tournament I had been to before,” Heitner said. “We all worked hard this year to qualify and it was very rewarding to even be competing with the top debaters in the country.”

Neither senior who qualified to attend participated in the tournament. Brendan Gallagher ’13, who was recovering from an illness, and Andrew Sohn ’13, who injured his back the week before the event, yielded their spots to other debaters on the national wait list.

“The competition in Kentucky was fierce, but it felt great to be amongst the best in the nation,” Engel said. “We were motivated by the extra challenge but managed to have a great time as well.”