Debaters compete, place at tournaments nationally

Jessica Spitz

Debaters competed in a tournament at Stanford University Feb 7-9 and received numerous recognitions.

Annie Kors ’14 finished the preliminary rounds as the top seed and advanced to the semifinals, also winning the third speaker award and her sixth bid for the Tournament of Champions. Cameron Cohen ’14 and Nick Steele ’16 both made it to triple-octafinals, but because teammates are not allowed to debate each other, Cohen let Steele “walk over” him, providing an opportunity for Steele to earn a second and qualifying TOC bid. Cohen won the  20th speaker award, and Steele went on to lose in octafinals, which was one round short of earning a bid.

“I’m really grateful that Cameron let me walk over him in triple-octos and gave me another shot at a second bid to the TOC,” Steele said. “We had a great tournament as a team, and I’m looking forward to competing in the future.”

Nine debaters traveled to Las Vegas Feb. 3-Feb. 5 to participate in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Tournament. Cohen and Shelby Heitner ’14 both lost in the quarterfinals after having made it through the preliminary rounds undefeated.

Cohen and Heitner were awarded eighth and 19th speaker awards respectively.

Kors and Michael O’Krent ’14 both made it to the octafinals, and O’Krent walked over Kors and advanced to the quarterfinals, though Kors still won the top speaker award with 119.1 out of 120 total adjusted points. Julie Engel ’14 walked over O’Krent in the quarterfinals and competed in the semifinals, also winning the fourth speaker award. O’Krent earned his qualifying bid for the TOC and Engel won her first bid of the season.

“As we head towards the big end of the year tournaments, I think our team is in a great position to continue our success,” Heitner said. “We’ve had some amazing accomplishments recently. I’m especially proud of our sophomores,  [Cohen] and [Steele], who have both received bids to the TOC. I can’t wait to see how we will all finish the season.”

Harvard-Westlake hosted the Victory Briefs Tournament at the upper school campus Jan. 3-Jan. 5.  Cohen advanced to the quarterfinals and Kors advanced to the semifinals.

Kors received her fifth bid for the TOC and Cohen received his second, officially qualifying him for the TOC at the end of the season.

In Blake, Minn. Dec. 20-22, a total of 176 debaters representing 14 states competed in a national TOC qualifier.

Cohen advanced to the octafinals while Kors went undefeated in the preliminary rounds and lost in quarterfinals. Kors won the third speaker award and Cohen won the 12th.

“It’s really exciting,” Cohen said. “We’ve been working extremely hard all year so it’s great to finally be [qualified]. We’re all still working really hard to prepare for future tournaments and especially the TOC.”

The debate team will participate in a World Schools Round Robin competition in Dallas, Texas, where they will be competing against students from Australia, Canada, England, Mexico and across the United States March 22-March 30.

In addition, they will compete in tournaments at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University and the University of Southern California.