Debate Hawks Win Big at Season Opener

At the Missouri State University Debate Tournament last week, the Debate Hawks made a strong outing for their season opener. In the Novice category, Monmouth teams took first, second, fourth, and fifth place spots, with the doubles of Veronica Belloso and Isabella Jennison securing a final round lockout with Jacquelline “Jackie” Tamburrino and Camryn “Cami” Toth. Additionally, the doubles pairing of Patrick Carbone and Michelle Rymar took third place, with Michael Makfinsky and Paris Galgano securing fifth place overall. Matthew Boyle and Sarina Dadoun also participated in the tournament as a team.

Monmouth competed against debaters from seven other colleges including the University of Houston, Missouri State University, University of Oklahoma, Johnson Community College, Wichita State U, University of Texas-San Antonio, and University of Northern Iowa. Regardless of the ability of the competition, the final round ended in a Monmouth shutout. In the semifinal, Tamburrino and Toth received a unanimous 3-0 vote from the panel of judges against Northern Iowa. As Monmouth teams do not compete against each other when paired together in playoff brackets, the teams of Belloso and Jennison and Tamburrino and Toth were co-champions at the tournament.

Monmouth teams also remained dominant in the total speaker rankings, with Tamburrino taking first place with speaker points, Toth in third, and Makfinsky, Rymar, and Carbone in sixth, seventh, and eighth place, respectively. Belloso also took tenth place in speaker points overall.
In the Junior-Varsity category, captain Mariami Ramirez and Julia Schaefer took home an impressive fourth place finish with both Ramirez and Schaefer individually taking home a sixth and ninth place speaker award, respectively.

Jennison, a senior Criminal Justic major, expressed her worries and excitement prior to heading into the competition. She said, “I kept a positive and faithful mindset. I knew I could do it, but I wouldn’t have been able to without my partner Veronica.”

She continued to cite her partner and Joseph Patten, Ph.D., associate professor of Political Science and head coach of the debate team, as her biggest cheerleaders. “[Veronica] instilled that confidence that I needed desperately and taught me everything I needed to know,” she said. “The whole debate team and Dr. Patten were beyond supportive, and I knew I had to make them proud. They never failed to believe in me, even if no one else did.”

For a number of these teams, it is their first time in national tournament play. Despite this, the Debate Hawks are currently ranked eighth nationally in total CEDA points. Patten summed up the team’s tournament performance: “Don’t judge us by our methods—judge us by our results.”

The team hopes to continue with an incredibly strong ‘23-’24 season with captains Mariami Ramirez, Alex Mykulyn, Jocelyn Marsh, and coaches Patten and Sam Maynard, Ph.D., adjunct professor of Political Science and Sociology, assisting with the development of this year’s strategies and cases.

The Debate Hawks will be competing next at the University of Houston from Oct. 13-14.