Monmouth Debate Team Wins Team and Individual Awards at West Point Military Academy this Weekend

MU DebateThe Monmouth University Debate Team won a team and two individual speaking awards at the West Point Military Academy tournament this weekend (October 23-25).  Christopher D’Elia and Kevin Ospina made it into the playoff round before losing to a team from West Virginia University.  Victoria Esler also received the first place individual speaking award and Allison Ferraro received the second place speaking award in their division of 70 debaters.  They all received their awards in front of approximately 250 debaters and coaches from across the nation.  The awards banquet was held in West Point’s historic Officer’s Club that cradles and sits above the picturesque Hudson River. (see photo below).

Team Captain Michelle Grushko and Saliha Younas scored victories in the experienced division that includes debaters on debate scholarships.  Monmouth first year student James Hawke and Sabrina Saenger went 3-3 in the six round tournament, and narrowly missed making it into the playoff rounds.  The two person teams of Kaitlin Allsopp and Prachi Patel and Abdullah Rashid and Omar Moustafa also scored impressive victories in their debating debut.

The tournament included approximately 100 teams of two debaters from around 20 universities, including Cornell University, New York University, James Madison University, George Mason University, University of Miami (Fl), and Boston College to name a few.  Each year, a topic is picked to be debated throughout the year.  The topic for this year is Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce its military presence in one or more of the following: the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the Greater Horn of Africa, Northeast Asia. The Monmouth team researched and wrote three separate cases involving each of these three strategically important regions.

Each two person team competes in six rounds of debate, three on the affirmative and three on the negative, with each debate round lasting approximately two hours (two on Friday and four on Saturday).  Teams that make it into the playoff rounds continue debating on Sunday in one round eliminations until a champion emerges.  Monmouth alum and former debaters Dan Roman and Jessica Roberts helped coach the teams and served as judges at the tournament.  A special thank you also to Political Science Professor Cathy Bartch and political science student Angela Ryan for helping to coach the teams this weekend.

The Monmouth Debate Team will next compete in mid- November.  Please contact Prof. Joe Patten at jpatten@monmouth.edu if you are interested in learning more about the debate team.  

PHOTO COURTESY of Professor Catherine Bartch