Last updateFri, 08 May 2020 6pm


Monmouth Debate Hawks Won Team and Individual Awards at University of Rochester this Weekend

Debate HawksThe Monmouth University Debate Team won a team and an individual speaking award at the University of Rochester’s Debate Tournament this weekend (Nov 21-22). Payal Patel and Matthew Toto made it into the playoff rounds and Sabrina Saenger won an individual speaking award.  MU had 24 debaters (12 teams of two) compete at the tournament this weekend.

When asked about how she felt about making the playoff rounds, Patel said, “It was my last debate tournament so I was really nervous going in. But I had a good partner (Toto) and we made it through five rounds and into the playoffs, By the end of the tournament I was really happy because it was a good way to end my Monmouth debate year.”

Matthew Toto adds that the tournament was a learning experience. “We fought hard against schools like New York University, and Cornell and succeeded so that’s pretty cool. It is cool to show the younger debaters that what school you go to does not matter. Anybody can succeed if you work hard enough.”

Team Captain Danielle Doud and partner Victoria Borges competed in the varsity division that includes debaters on debate scholarships.  Monmouth debaters competed against other debate teams from teams from New York University, Cornell University, the West Point Military Academy, the New School and other teams from the tri-state area.

Doud said, “Overall, the Rochester Tournament was a great experience. Bringing twelve teams, we had the largest showing, meaning that pretty much every round in the Novice Divison involved one of our teams. It was great to see the new kids, and  the ones enrolled in the class taught by Dr. Patten, hold their own against students from big schools like Cornell, NYU, Binghamton, and Rochester.”


She continued, “While not everyone may have done as well as they would have hoped, myself included, the thing we liked to focus on is having fun. Whenever I had a second, generally during food breaks or on the bus heading back to the hotel, I always asked to make sure everyone was at least having a good time. Yeah, our eight hour bus heading up there could have been better, but at least we had some fun with it.”

The Monmouth teams included Danielle Doud and Victoria Borges, James Hawke and Sabrina Saenger;  Kaitlin Allsopp and Prachi Patel; Payal Patel and Matthew Toto, Christopher Daly and Emely Diaz; Lauren Fano and James McGinley; Marasia Laster and William Kimmel; Keith Lee and Austin Skelton; Edward Littig and Angela Ryan; Abdullah Rashid and Angel Soto; Kaitlyn Sibley and Matt Worral; and Christibel Tulashie and Nick Wiker. Many of these teams made their debating debut at the tournament.

Chair of the Political Science Department and advisor to the debate team said, “I’m have an enormous amount of respect for  our team captains Michelle Grushko and Danielle Doud and all of the members of the Debate Hawks. They work hard researching their case and in debate scrimmages and compete fiercely against debaters from some of the finest universities across the nation”.

Junior Political Science student and third year debator Angela Ryan said, “The tournament was a lot of fun and being a couch and debator, i got more enjoyment when I saw the team as a whole succeed. This particular debate tournament was such a learning experience. Everyone there was so enthusiastic to be there. Overall, this tournament helped all of us get together and bond. Going to Rochester was turly a memorable trip.”

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. 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, Jessica Roberts, and Dylan Maynard helped coach the teams at the tournament.  A special thank you to political science senior  and experience debater Saliha Younas for helping to coach the teams this weekend.

The Monmouth Debate Team received awards at the West Point Military Academy tournament a few weeks ago and will next compete in early Feb. at Cornell University.

Please contact Prof. Joe Patten at if you are interested in learning more about the debate team.

PHOTO TAKEN by Dr. Joseph Patten

Contact Information

The Outlook
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Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
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Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151