The 2014 Banana Classic kicked off the first round with resolutions on the right to know versus individual rights, and ended with the banana-based style of metaphor round that we Northern California debaters have learned to expect at the Analy High School starter tournament. To the surprise of many, not a single resolution involved the Islamic State, nor Ukraine, nor Ebola. Instead, topics focused on education and health, with a few outlying topics on immigration and the animalistic tendencies of police.

After the first four rounds of the season, five varsity teams remained undefeated, including, from Bishop O’Dowd, the teams of Shawn Cunningham & Anna Johnson and Ryan Seideman & Tommy Vaughan, and, from Windsor, the team of Claire Ernst & Anna Skarr. Around 17 teams earned a ballot count of 3-1, including teams from Bishop O’Dowd, Campolindo, Dougherty Valley, Sonoma Academy, and Windsor. Unfortunately, since the information packet hasn’t been released yet, the entirety of the winning records are not available. 

This tournament also gives us an introduction to partnerships for the upcoming season: the most notable divergence from my earlier predictions lies in Windsor’s top teams, as the partnerships of Lily Foster & Sebastian Miller and Tori Sheber & Jackson St. Amant mix things up, becoming Miller & St. Amant and Foster & Sheber.

For your convenience, included below is the open field, with known undefeated teams in bold, and known 3-1 teams in italics:

  • Analy: 1 team (Salkeld & Wilson)

  • Unknown: 1 team (Macpherson & Owens)

  • Bentley: 5 teams (Burshteyn & Holt, Bond & Heywood, Furer & Oczkus, Dubensky & Huang)

  • Unknown: 1 team (Bearson & Battles)

  • Bishop O’Dowd: 7 teams (Cunningham & Johnson, Seideman & Vaughan, Porter-McAvoy & Walsh, Beittel & White, McKenna & Hurtado, Figueroa & Ho, Choy & Mills)

  • Campolindo: 4 teams (Gomez-Siu & Hayes, Hanvey & Moore, Gong & Li, Liao & Rodriguez)

  • Dougherty Valley: 3 teams (Bhalla & Saranath, Sagar & Verma, Sawhney & Yu)

  • Irvington: 7 teams (Barma & Singh, Meswani & Moturi, Yoo & Liu, Acharya & Singh, Despande & Lingampali, Karshik & Mishra, Harith & Ghosh)

  • Leland: 2 teams (Davison & Lutzker, Larkin & Hess)

  • Lowell: 5 teams (Pollock & White, Chin & Rosenfeld, Cheng & McLean, Sutton & Wilcox, Chen & Jungreis)

  • Miramonte: 2 teams (Fogarty & Pister, Baum & Wang)

  • Santa Rosa: 5 teams (Fay & Suter, Spizman & Duffy, Bribiescas & Haugen, Galbraith & Hansen, Staten & Pastis)

  • Sonoma Academy: 7 teams (Maciorowski & Noel, Greenberg & Kolling, Bottari & Tamar-Mattis, Duncan & Saxena, Kornfein & Nekton, Marian & Teran, Griffin & Hynes)

  • Sonoma Valley: 2 teams (Kemp & Libbey, Cabrera & Gallo-Gaffner)

  • Windsor: 12 teams (Ernst & Skarr, Amant & Miller, LeRoy & Hatcher, Chu & Fraga, Davis & Escarcega, Shimizu & Shimizu, Inman & Hulett, Lavell & Nevin, Rosenthal & Dondero, Canozeri & Young, Espinoza & Ramirez, Christensen & Silver)

From a competitor’s perspective, this definitely wasn’t the easiest tournament to understand. The resolutions, while interesting, did seem to require some tricky maneuvering to keep affirmative and negative ground equal, and the need for topicality arguments in many rounds seemed to have a detrimental effect on parent judges, as we might expect. Of course, since the Banana Classic is, in essence, a warm-up tournament, and since we can expect primarily parent judges in the season to come, this tournament served for many as a reminder that in our style of debate, we must always focus on judge adaptation, rather than simply argumentation. 

And, furthering the warm-up aspect of the tournament, the banana trophies this year look amazingly realistic-- so there could be a few banana-confusion choking mishaps in the debate community’s future.