BY PAUL KIM
180 debaters from 31 schools, 48 teams in varsity and 42 teams in novice, converged at Wilton High School for the seventh consecutive year to compete in the State Finals of the Connecticut Debate Association. Ridgefield’s Will Barth & Kunal Chauhan triumphed over the AITE team of Tanusri Balla & Brian Fleischer on a 4-1 decision to take top varsity team honors. On the novice side, Darien’s Paul Hager & Andrew Orner took home first place.
The topic was one of notable international prominence: “The US should resettle a significant share of Mideast refugees.” In the CDA, one topic is debated the entire day. At the start of the tournament, a packet with relevant information is handed out as an aide in writing arguments.
The structure of the Connecticut state tournament includes only three preliminary rounds before two teams break into a single final round. This format leaves many talented, and high scoring teams out. St. Luke’s duo of Chloe Kekedjian & Eliza Posner, the region’s highest ranked team, failed to break despite going undefeated in prelims. With only two teams breaking, the state finals typically take more luck than skill.
Debating together for only the second time, Chauhan and Barth finished the season undefeated together, also winning first place team honors at the February league tournament. Ridgefield captured the first state championship in team history.
Ridgefield Will Barth & Kunal Chauhan
AITE Tanusri Balla & Brian Fleischer
St.Luke's Eliza Posner & Chloe Kekedjian
AITE Tate Aronstein & Ryan Czelada
Amity Sam Wasserman & Dan DeDomenico
Full results may be found here.