Debate team ends season at Tournament of Champions


Gabby Kepnes, Staff Writer

The Tournament of Champions (TOC), a nationwide debate involving over 100 teams, was held at the University of Kentucky this past weekend. 

Compared to other years, the tournament was more relaxed and team oriented, debate co-President of Debate Honor McCarthy (12) said.

“This year stood out to me mostly because of how incredibly collaborative and tight-knit the team felt,” debate co-President of Debate Elizabeth Raab (12) said. “We had never brought so many people to the TOC before,” she said.

To qualify for the TOC, debaters have to receive bids and make the top 16 or top eight in other tournaments, Siddarth Tripathi (12) said. A bid requires reaching elimination round and debaters ultimately need two for qualification, he said.

Nader Granmayeh (11) feels that the team did extremely well at the TOC, he said.

“Previously, we’ve only had one year in which we advanced to the elimination rounds in HM history,” Granmayeh said. “My partner and I made it to the silver division in the TOC but didn’t get far in the elimination rounds.”

Rhea Sanger (10) also thinks the team performed well, considering the TOC is supposed to be one of the hardest tournaments of the year, she said. Sanger and her partner won four rounds but lost three, signifying a winning record, she said.

Tripathi and his partner McCarthy made it to the quarterfinals and the top eight during TOC. They went into the year with really high expectations since they made it to the final rounds last year, placing second in the country, Tripathi said.

“Since Honor and I have been with debate since seventh grade, we’ve realized how debate had such an impact on our lives,” Tripathi said. “We work hard and end on a high note which we did.”

“We’ve been lucky enough to be part of the team for six years, attend over 30 tournaments, and debate in hundreds of rounds. We’ve travelled and met friends from across the country,” McCarthy said.

Eddie Jin (10) was disappointed that he did not make it to the out rounds, but at the same time he was content earning a winning record as a sophomore, he said.

“One of the problems we had this year was not doing enough prep and research beforehand,” he said. Jin thinks that the juniors next year are going to have to step up with more work, he said.

However, Raab thinks the team has never done so well at this tournament in terms of concrete success, she said. “I’m even prouder, though, of how mature the entire team was throughout the TOC,” Raab said.

“Everyone, even debaters who were not there, contributed hugely to the team’s success, by working on new responses and arguments,” she said.

Debaters have a love-hate relationship with the intense pressure and workload, Raab said. “But when our last tournament rolled around, we would’ve given anything for one more day of it,” she said.

McCarthy believes that at its core, the debate team is about arguing and laughing with your friends, she said.

“As we’ve gotten older and the team dynamic has shifted, we’ve gotten a sense of perspective,” McCarthy said. “It was bittersweet because this is the seniors’ last tournament

As the team moves on to next year with new leaders, Raab believes that the team will continue to foster the collaborative and supportive atmosphere that had made this year so special, she said.

Aaron Snyder (11) wants to focus on helping the freshmen to guide them to the TOC as a senior next year, he said.

“I know next year’s leaders will build upon the legacy of success and mentorship that has always defined HM Debate,” McCarthy said.