Ethics Bowl team competes at regional tournament

Fallon Dern

14 Ethics Bowl members competed in the Southern California High School Ethics Bowl tournament Feb. 6. The competition took place over Zoom from 8:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m, featuring two teams of seven students. Students were asked to debate whether or not we should be dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic and what makes a charity worthy of donations.

The Ethics Bowl club competed as two teams at the tournament.

Team B is composed of captain Tessa Augsberger ’22, Katherine Steers ’22, Li Yam Kreiz ’22, Rhea Madhogarhia ’22, Georgia Goldberg ’23, Natalie Cosgrove ’23 and Ofek Levy ’23. The team went 2-1 in their rounds, winning against Arete Prep and Monrovia and losing to Glendora.

Team A is made up of club leaders Mia Shelton ’21, Chelsea Cho ’21, Micah Gold ’22 as well as Izzy Welsh ’22, Joy Ho ’22, Rohan Madhogarhia ’22 and Neha Tummala ’23. Their team won against Canyon Crest, University and Cathedral Catholic. This entered the team into the semifinal debate against Glendora, which they lost by one point.

Leaders of the club said the team worked hard to prepare for the tournament.

Gold, a club leader and player in the semifinal round, took pride in the team’s commitment and how well it paid off.

“We came out of the preliminary rounds as the number one seed largely due to the amount of time we spent preparing for the tournament and familiarizing ourself with each case,” he said. “Yet, oddly enough the most enjoyable part of the competition for me was when we were forced to think on our feet during the ‘Judges Question’ portion of the event. While we were able to make great arguments when presenting our cases, what really showed our mastery of the subject matter was our ability to adapt to the unprepared Judges Questions. Although there were some problems with the judging of the semifinal round, we got off of zoom after eight hours knowing that we had engaged in something meaningful.”

Following the tournament, Ethics Bowl coach Dr. Charles Berezin shared words of wisdom with the team regarding the surprising judgement call in the semifinals.

“I was very proud of all of you,” he said. “I have been doing Ethics Bowl for a long time, and in my experience in every Ethics Bowl, there are problems with judging. I was surprised by the outcome of the semifinal round. In my estimation, the result was not that close. I thought the [school’s] team had clearly done a better job. There were some very sophisticated and intelligent answers to the judges questions that I thought would throw it our way.”

Ethics Bowl members spoke about their pride in team members’ performances.

Tummala, the team’s youngest member and only sophomore, says she is proud of their team’s progress regardless of the final outcome. She mentioned this judging issue briefly, saying that she was surprised to hear a member of the opposing team unmute themselves and say that they were sure the HW team was going to win. However, as she was a round spectator and nonplayer, she says she watched the upperclassmen compete with eloquence and lightning-speed responses.

“While today didn’t go the way our team was hoping, I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be around and compete with such incredible people,” Tummala said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it past the semi-finals, but I completely believe that we did amazing and that we should be so proud of all the time and effort we put in to prepare these past few months.”

Cho, a club leader and speaker in this round said that she is impressed with club members and applauds their hard work.

“Our 2020-2021 Ethics Bowl season was particularly strong—both of our teams prepared and presented really compelling and well-articulated cases and I am so proud of Harvard-Westlake as one of this year’s club leaders,” Cho said. “One of our teams went undefeated and were ranked first place in the semi-finals round, which is a huge accomplishment. No matter the wins, I’m so grateful that all of our team members were so committed and gracious throughout the competition and also throughout the preparation process.”