At the February “Trifecta Tournament of Love” debate tournament held at Cornell University, the HWS Debate Team took on issues ranging from poverty relief to public health to so-called “fake news,” contending into the late rounds of the competition.
The tournament, held Feb. 11 and 12, featured three divisions — the Novice National Championship, Spanish-Language Inter-Varsity and English-Language Inter-Varsity — each with five rounds of preliminary debating and five rounds of extended open adjudication.
In the Novice National Championship, which featured two-person teams of first-year debaters, Bart Lahiff ’20 and Jesse Maltese ’20 advanced to the quarterfinal round before bowing out against teams from Cornell and Clemson University in a debate over the Catholic Church’s selling of artifacts to fund poverty relief. Amanda Ngo’19 was invited to serve as chair of judging panels and Grace Marshall’19 served as a judge in the elimination rounds.
“Our 26 student participants — 17 novice debaters and nine varsity judges — is the largest contingent of students we’ve sent to a tournament,” says Steve Penner, assistant coach of the HWS Debate Team.
Promoting a culture of excellence, critical thought and strong teamwork, the HWS Debate Team is comprised of confident public speakers who continually hone their analytic and rhetorical skills to master the art of persuasion.
The team’s 2015-2016 academic year was marked by a series of successful tournament appearances, with wins at both the Brad Smith Invitational at the University of Rochester and Cornell Inter-Varsity tournaments. HWS also advanced teams to the elimination rounds at Yale IV and the National Championships, and they had a team in the final round of the highly competitive Colgate Open.
Every spring, the team hosts the International Round Robin Debate Tournament, the most elite debate tournament in the world. The 2016 event featured collegiate debate teams from about 20 countries ranging from Singapore and Sweden to Malaysia and South Africa. This year’s Round Robin is planned for NEED DATE
The team also maintains close connections with its base of alums, including Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12, who along with Will McConnell ’12 were named the United States Universities Debate Champions when they placed first in the nation among 156 top-ranked teams.