What in refutation: debate team prevails

Eli Adler

Following a successful regular season which included a win of the Duke and Bailey’s Cup and a semifinal finish at the National Debate Coaches Association tournament, the debate team is gearing up for their Tournament of Champions run.
Evan Engel ’17 notched the school’s first win of Duke and Bailey’s, an award given for best performance throughout the season.
In addition to this victory, Engel also finished in the semifinals at the elite NDCA tournament.
While this may not have been the finish that the team wanted, Head Coach Mike Bietz said that he is overall still satisfied with the tournament’s results.
“NDCA maybe was a little disappointing to lose in the semifinals,” he said. “However, it was a positive experience and we all enjoyed it.”
In addition to Evan Engel’s high-level finishes, Spencer Paul ’19 finished in the quarterfinals of the NDCA, capping off a successful season for him.
“My sophomore year has been a great experience getting rounds against high level debaters and having some success,” Paul said.
At the international Harvard College World Schools Invitational, the team of Liz Yount ’17, Kevin Wesel ’17, Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Jesse Nadel ’17 and Chronicle Sports Online Editor Dario Madyoon ’17 saw success.
They advanced to the quarterfinal round after going undefeated in the preliminary rounds.
Evan Engel has overall been very happy with the team’s performance.
“We have the best debate team in the country both socially and in skill, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.
Even the younger debaters in the team have seen tremendous success in debate tournaments.
At Woodward Academy, the novice national championship, they advanced eight debaters to elimination rounds and took home the tournament win.
This was the team’s seventh win at the tournament in eight years.
The team is now beginning to prepare for the Tournament of Champions in Louisville, KY.
Nick Steele ’16 won the tournament last year and fellow team member Cameron Cohen ’16 had a semifinal finish.
The tournament will take place between April 29 and May 1.
This year, the team qualified eight debaters, which is more than Bietz expected.
He is confident that the Wolverines will perform well.
“I don’t think any school will be more prepared than us,” he said. “We have the most people going, have a team that works exceptionally hard, and I feel good about where we are.”
Bietz also sees the results at the NDCA tournament as motivation for a higher place finish at the Tournament of Champions competition.
“I’m hoping that the semifinal finish [at the NDCA] will mean that Evan [Engel] and everybody else is just hungry for the Tournament,” he said.
Bietz, who has known both Evan Engel and his brother Connor Engel ’17 since they were in sixth grade, is excited to attend one last tournament with them.
“It’s exciting to go to TOC with Evan [Engel] and Connor [Engel] because it’s their last year,” Bietz said. “It’s hard to think about the end of the year when something so big is coming up, and I’m really excited for it.”
Evan Engel said that he is hoping for a high finish at the tournament in a fitting conclusion to his high school debate career.
“My goal is to win it,” he said.