Regis Prevails at Vassar

The inaugural Vassar Invitational culminated in a predictable result, based on past powerhouse teams at East Coast tournaments. Regis’s pair of Matthew Majsak & Aidan Woutas triumphed over Bishop O’Dowd’s Claudia Hester & Sophia Yau-Weeks on a 2-1 decision, negating the resolution, “This House would ban the release of video of police activity without court approval.”

Left to right: Aidan Woutas, Matthew Majsak, Claudia Hester, and Sophia Yau-Weeks

Left to right: Aidan Woutas, Matthew Majsak, Claudia Hester, and Sophia Yau-Weeks

A Catholic school in New York City, Regis High School puts substantial resources towards speech and debate: the team was allocated a $2.5 million endowment in 2008. Long a powerhouse in public forum and Lincoln-Douglas styles, Regis’s debate team has diversified the events it competes in over the past few years, becoming a frequent champion at parliamentary debate tournaments.

On the affirmative side, Bishop O’Dowd, a powerhouse in its own right, broke two teams to semifinals. Alden O’Rafferty & Sanah Basrai finished as the fourth team overall. Hester & Yau-Weeks, winners of the University of Pacific’s Jon Schamber Invitational, finished first and second, respectively, in the speaker ranks. The last semifinal team was Ridgefield’s Amelia Hadar & Kunal Chauhan, who placed third.

Two rounds of randomly-matched preliminary rounds proceeded three power-ranked rounds, with a hidden quarterfinal imbedded into the fifth round. After the fifth round came a break to semifinals. The two teams from California employed a style unfamiliar to many East Coast debaters, which relied more on strategy than the presentation-focused style used on the East Coast parli circuit.

In addition to the forty teams that competed in the varsity division, fifteen teams competed in novice. Amity’s Mounisha Anumolo & Kate Yuan took first place over Meghana Kandarpa & Oliver Shulman of Westfield Watkinson on a 2-1 decision.

“We hosted the tournament to give back to the circuit that I was on as a high school student,” said the captain of the Vassar debate team, Zariah Altman. While many teams in the Connecticut Debate Association compete at the large tournaments held at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, the East Coast has lacked an invitational specifically for parli. A successful Vassar Invitational, alongside the recent foundation of a parli league in New York, shows that the interest for parliamentary debate is alive and growing on the East Coast.


Regis Matthew Majsak & Aidan Woutas def. Bishop O’Dowd Sanah Basrai & Alden O’Rafferty (3-0)

Bishop O’Dowd Claudia Hester & Sophia Yau-Weeks def. Ridgefield Kunal Chauhan & Amelia Hadar (2-1)


Regis Majsak & Woutas def. Bishop O’Dowd Hester & Yau-Weeks (2-1)

Our East Coast correspondent is Paul Kim, who debates for Ridgefield High School. 

Paul Kim