Debate Team Win West Point

Debate Team Wins Big at West Point Tournament

The Monmouth University Debate Team won two team awards, as well as three individual speaking awards, at the West Point Military Academy tournament the weekend of Oct. 28 – 30.

Two teams made it into the playoff rounds on Monday, Oct. 30, after winning five of the eight preliminary rounds, which were held on Saturday and Sunday. The teams consisted of Landon Myers and Chase Petras, both political science students, on one team, and Eric Schwartz and Matthew Cohen, a political science and computer science student, respectively, on the other.

The speaking awards were given to the top ten students out of the 160 competing. Alexis Vasquez, a political science student, was in fifth place, while Myers and Cohen were 6th and 10th place.

“It’s fantastic to have two teams reach the playoff rounds, and three debaters earn top 10 speaking awards against such tough competition,” said Joseph Patten, PhD, an associate professor of political science. “The team worked so hard during evening debate scrimmages and in researching new evidence since our last tournament a few weeks ago. I’m so happy to see all of their hard work pay off.”

The topic of the tournament was “Resolved: The United States Federal Government Should Establish National Health Insurance in the United States.” The topic, chosen by the American Debate Association, was selected in the summer to be debated throughout the year, according to Patten.

According to Patten, West Point has been hosting this tournament for over 60 years, and the University “makes it a point to regularly attend” the competition.

In total, the University had 16 debaters compete in the tournament. In addition to Myers, Petras, Cohen, Schwartz, and Vasquez, the competitors included Gregory Harpe, Kaitlin Allsopp, and Abdullah Rashid, who competed in the varsity division, co-captain Sabrina Saenger, and Sarah Bowers, Michael Scognomillo, Yendelli Bello, Nick Goranites, Alec Gullian, Mandeline Doe, and Claudia Di Mondo.

“This was my third tournament overall,” said Gullian, a sophomore political science student who has been debating for about a year. “The experience was awesome, especially getting to know some awesome people, while at the same time learning how to use critical thinking in a debate round.”

“Every team scored impressive victories against strong competition,” added Patten. Other competitors came from 16 schools, including schools such as Dartmouth University, New York University, and the University of Washington. The tournament included eight preliminary rounds, each lasting two hours. Each team of two students argued the affirmative side for four rounds and the negative for another four.

“Only teams that compiled a winning record in the preliminary rounds made it into the playoff rounds on Monday,” said Patten. “In the playoff rounds, both Monmouth teams eventually lost to close decisions to teams from Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia.”

The debate team will next compete at a tournament at the University on Nov. 18 – 19.

PHOTO COURTESY of Joseph Patten