Debate Hawks

Debate Team Wins at Rochester

The Monmouth Debate Hawks team of Payton Collander, a junior political science student, and Anthony Cendagorta, a sophomore sociology student, won the Brad Smith Invitational Debate Tournament at the University of Rochester the weekend of Oct. 11 through Oct. 13.

The Monmouth team of Mia Ardovini-Booker, a junior political science student, and Billy Siefert, a senior English student, took second place at the tournament.  Both MU teams went undefeated with 6-0 records before heading into the playoff rounds on Sunday. 

Collander explained that she and Cendagorta placed first in the tournament, and she was awarded second place for a speaker award.

“Personally, I find Debate very gratifying. You get out what you put into it and my partner and I work very hard,” she explained. “If you want to refine your public speaking skills or become a better critical thinker then debate is perfect.”

This tournament is the first time that the Debate Hawks won both a first and second place team award. Monmouth had eight teams of two debaters compete at the tournament, and six teams made it into the playoff rounds with winning records, a record number of Monmouth teams to make it into the playoffs in one tournament.

Each Monmouth team competed in six preliminary rounds before competing in the playoffs on Sunday.

“My favorite arguments that we ran was either our Securitization Kritik or our Politics Dis Advantage which we won on both of those agreements several times,” Collander continued. “The Debate team is like one big family and will cheer you on regardless of if you win or lose.”

The teams of Chyna Walker and Liam Crowley and the team of Natalie Cattuna and Bill Dailey went 5-1; Caitlin Hornbaker and Mia Jacob went 4-2 (and scored a playoff win against NYU); Anthony Calamari and Matt Filosa went 4-2; and Sabria Smith and Ariana Valencia also went 4-2 at the tournament.

“The debate tournament that took place at the University of Rochester this past weekend was amazing. This was my third debate tournament and I finally got the hang of what debate is all about. I went into the tournament with a brand new partner. I knew things would go well because of how we work together,” said Ardovini-Booker.

“We didn’t lose any rounds and were able to come out of the tournament undefeated. This is something I thought I would never accomplish. With the help of Dr.Patten, the captains, other debaters, and my partner I was able to accomplish something that I never thought was possible,” she continued.

“My favorite argument from the entire debate is the Politics DisAd we ran as the negative team. We said the Affirmative teams’ plan played into climate change due to the possible re-election of Donald Trump,” said Ardovini-Booker. “My partner and I love talking about how to improve the environment. If we do not try and stop climate change, it could led to the end of humanity. Overall, this tournament was so much fun and I am so glad I decided to debate again this year.”

Monmouth also received a number of individual speaking awards including: Payton Collander (2nd Place); Liam Crowley (4th place); Chyna Walker (6th Place); Anthony Cendagorta (9th Place); and Billy Siefert (10th Place).

The tournament included debate teams representing six universities including New York University, the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), U of Rochester, New School, Suny Binghamton, and Monmouth University.  Each year, a topic is picked to be debated at every tournament.  The topic for this year centers around U.S. foreign policy with China and Russia, particularly as it relates to the weaponization of space.

Joe Patten, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Debate Team’s advsior said, “It was especially meaningful to have debate alum Landon Myers, Greg Harpe, Sabrina Saenger, and Ryan Kelly come back to campus and help coach our team to the tournament championship.”

The Debate Hawks will next compete at Rutgers University on the weekend of November 8.