On Feb. 28, four debating duos from the HWS Debate Team competed in the Northeastern Regional Debate Championships at Baruch College in New York City. Debating against larger contingents from other schools, including Cornell, two of the four HWS teams qualified for the elimination rounds and made it into the semifinals. One of those teams, comprised of David Hernandez ’09 and Buzz Klinger ’12, took home the championship title.
Hernandez and Klinger were the 8th seed while Hannah Zale ’09 and Dan Maguire ’11 advanced as the 15th seed. “Once we made it through the preliminaries, we were able to concentrate on the debate at hand and put aside any external, round-specific issues we may have had,” explained Klinger.
In quarterfinals, both teams were victorious in their debates concerning Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, allowing both to advance to the semifinals. In the semifinal round, the teams were challenged to debate the state’s role in the funding and creation of art. Hernandez and Klinger moved on to the final round, but despite a strong performance in the semifinal round Zale and Maguire did not advance.
In the final round, Hernandez and Klinger were arguing for a ban on medical reproductive assistance. Because Hernandez and Klinger were involved in the second half of the debate, they were fairly reliant upon another team from St. John’s to set up a good plan for them to defend. Fortunately, the team from St. John’s set up a good plan, while still leaving an opening for Hernandez and Klinger to offer new and stronger argument, which allowed HWS to win the debate. A team from the University of Vermont offered very strong competition in the finals but after approximately 20 minutes of deliberations, the judges announced that Hernandez and Klinger had won the final round and the championship.
“Part of the reason why we did well throughout the tournament was because many of our opposing teams lost perspective on what the particular round was about,” Hernandez said.
Explaining the success of the team in recent competitions, he added, “In the first few years on campus, the Debate Team aimed to simply compete in tournaments. Now, we expect to make it through the preliminaries; we’re not satisfied with just competing.”
This explains the Colleges’ recent rise in the debate circuit. Nearly a month ago, HWS won the UMass Debate Tournament. Over the past few years, the Colleges have consistently placed teams in quarterfinals or better in tournaments.
In addition to the debate team’s competitive prowess, HWS will also make their presence known by hosting the Hobart and William Smith / IDEA Round-Robin debate tournament from April 10-11 on the Colleges’ campus.
Hernandez explained that, “The whole team is very excited about hosting some of the top teams in the world right here at HWS.”