Debaters place at USC

By David Kolin

During last week’s tournament at the University of Southern California, Brendan Gallagher ’13, who reached the semifinals of the tournament, was awarded second speaker, and Annie Kors ’14 won fourth speaker.

So far this year, two debaters, Michelle Choi ’12 and Gallagher, have qualified for the Tournament of Champions in May in Kentucky by getting two bids. To obtain a bid for the Tournament of Champions, debaters have to attend specific tournaments and win a few elimination rounds. The exact number of rounds needed to get a bid varies from tournament to tournament. Aneri Amin ’12 and Michael O’Krent ’14 both have one bid for the Tournament of Champions, but they will need to attain one more to qualify.

At the USC tournament, the team debated the topic “Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.” However, the topic will change once this year before the Tournament of Champions.

To prepare for the tournaments, debaters occasionally attend school practices, but the majority of work and preparation occurs outside school. Students prepare for tournaments by researching on the internet, doing drills at home, emailing coaches about the topic and using Skype to talk with coaches.

“A lot of what we do is through email and we post articles on forums and discuss them,” Amin said. “A lot of it is not face-to-face.”

This weekend’s Glenbrooks Tournament in Chicago is one of the most difficult tournaments that the debaters will attend all year, Gallagher said.