O’Dowd parliamentary debaters Shawn Cunningham & Lily Zaballos made history by winning the 2014 Stanford National Debate Invitational hosted by the Stanford Debate Society. This year’s competition, with 183 entries, was the single largest high school parliamentary debate tournament ever held in the United States, shattering the previous record of 136 entries set last month at the MLK Invitational hosted by James Logan High School.
The tournament saw the massive field compete in five preliminary rounds with a break to a 64-team triple octafinal round. Cunningham & Zaballos completed prelims with a 4-1 record and the 22 seed. In elims Cunningham & Zaballos defeated Claremont High School, Sierra Canyon High School, Lake Oswego High School, Sonoma Academy, and Washington High School before squaring off against Cupertino High School’s Diana Kruzman & Ashley Liu in the championship round. Debating before a panel adjudicated by seven members of Stanford’s parliamentary debate team, Cunningham & Zaballos successfully affirmed the resolution “The United States Federal Government should implement a national water management board,” winning the title on a 5-2 split ballot.
Stanford is the second title won by Shawn this debate season, his first coming last September at Yale with Tara Viviani. Ashley and Shawn are both alums of the POI Debate Institute’s class of 2013.