The smoothly run Notre Dame Invitational culminated in a final round between Windsor's Claire Ernst & Anna Skarr, and Bishop O'Dowd's Shawn Cunningham & Sophia Yau-Weeks, on the resolution "The United States Federal Government should significantly increase its deployment of ground troops against ISIS in Iraq." Though both teams' arguments were compelling, Windsor pulled through with a characteristically strong finish, winning the round on a 4-1 split decision. Judges Raskin, Singh, Abad, and Maciorowski affirmed; Judge Karhade negated.
With 43 teams in an open division and 21 in novice, the field sparkled with many of Northern California's most successful teams, which made the break to quarters even more intense, leaving behind 9th seed Bentley's Lucy Holt & Irene Partsuf, and 10th seed Bishop O'Dowd's Camille Porter-McAvoy & Danielle Viviani, both with 4-1 preliminary records.
The top speaker award in the varsity division went to Leland High School's Alex Luo, followed closely by Campolindo's Thomas Liao, Bentley's Gabriela Burshteyn and Katie Stamm-Kirk, and Lowell's Emily Hall.
Though most rounds followed standard rules and procedures, two "polygon" rounds for open debaters were organized differently. Voted on by competitors, each of the two followed a different format: one granted debaters 19 minutes of speaking time per team, which could be divided as debaters saw fit, and the second took place without notes.
Of 33 debaters who completed the post-tournament survey, 47% rated the "flex time" round with 4 or 5 points out of 5, and just over 50% of competitors did the same for the note-free round.
All in all, the NorCal season is off to an excellent -- and competitive -- start!
8. Windsor Christophe Davis & J.P. Escarcega def. 1. Bentley Gabriela Burshteyn & Katie Stamm-Kirk (2-1)
2. Bishop O'Dowd Shawn Cunningham & Sophia Yau-Weeks def. 7. Campolindo Conor Hanvey & Peter Moore (2-1)
3. Lowell Emily Hall & Thomas White def. 6. Campolindo Kaveh Boostanpour & Thomas Liao (2-1)
5. Windsor Claire Ernst & Anna Skarr def. 4. MVLA Spencer Dembner & Steven Herman (2-1)
Windsor Ernst & Skarr w/o Windsor Davis & Escarcega (n/a)
Bishop O'Dowd Cunningham & Yau-Weeks def. Lowell Hall & White (5-0)
Windsor ES def. Bishop O'Dowd CY (4-1)