Paul Kim

Yale Invitational Brings New Year, Familiar Faces

Paul Kim
Yale Invitational Brings New Year, Familiar Faces

    Sunday marked the resolution of the Yale Invitational, considered one of the premier fall tournaments for high school speech and debate. While the tournament is typically recognized as the official start of the new national circuit debate season, the parliamentary division this year was marked with relative familiarity.

    The hybrid pair of Los Altos’ Spencer Dembner & Notre Dame San Jose’s Lilly Hackworth triumphed on a 5-0 decision over Regis’ pair of Eoin Matthews & Randall Zuccalmaglio on the topic, “THW prohibit the use of laptops, tablets, cellphones and similar devices in classrooms.”

    Both Dembner & Hackworth and Matthews & Zuccalmaglio were considered early favorites entering competition. However, Dembner, ranked #1 nationally last year, and his partner Hackworth, ranked 12th, quickly ran into trouble, dropping the first prelim. However, Dembner & Hackworth regained form, cruising through Saturday’s rounds with a 4-1 record. This record left them seventh seed heading into outrounds.

Lilly Hackworth of Notre Dame and Spencer Dembner of Los Altos captured the top team trophy.

Lilly Hackworth of Notre Dame and Spencer Dembner of Los Altos captured the top team trophy.

    Although perennial debate powerhouse Regis fielded a full contingent in the parliamentary division for the first time ever, they were unable to repeat the triumphs of the previous year and settled for only two teams in semifinals. In 2015, entering only four teams, Regis managed to break two teams to the final round. Matthews & Zuccalmaglio placed second in last year’s tournament as well.

With 80 teams competing in a single open division, this year’s tournament broke the record for most participants.

    Matthews & Zuccalmaglio and Westfield’s Benjamin Mione & Maxwell Shulman were the only full teams to return to the outrounds from the previous year, but they were far from the only repeats. Ridgefield’s Nick Patterson, and St. Luke’s Chloe Kekedjian and Bilal Memon each broke with new partners.

    Debaters from all over the country, as well as Canada, competed in the parliamentary division, representing a unique blend of styles. Notably absent from rounds was the use of kritiks and other advanced tech.

I do think there's clash on the framework at some level but it happens implicitly,” said Dembner, who is accustomed to the Northern California circuit. “I almost feel like explicit use of theory or topicality would make those debates clearer but ultimately it's all a matter of community norms.” On the contrasting styles themselves, he said, there are clearly different expectations for evidence, the basis of decisions, and the role debaters play in the round.

    With a growing East Coast competition base, and a new tournament just for parli at Vassar College this November, parliamentary debate is now more nationwide than ever before.

Correction: This article erroneously referred to the number of teams competing as 84. There were only 80 who competed throughout the tournament. 

This article also claimed that rounds were not power-matched due to time constraints, but this was inaccurate: rounds three through five were power-matched, while rounds one and two were not. 


1 Regis Eoin Matthews & Randall Zuccalmaglio def. 16 Valley Charlotte Boland & Elise Wilson

9 Westfield Benjamin Mione & Maxwell Shulman def. 8 Regis Adrian Morrison & George Schouten

5 St.Luke’s Chloe Kekedjian & Bilal Memon def. 12 Horace Mann Redhika Mehta & Govind Menon

13 Regis Matthew Majsuk & Aidan Woutas def. 4 Wilton Cameron Berg & Michael Wallace

14 Wilton Lucas Adams & Ravi Siripuram def. 3 Simsbury Pritika Seshadri & Lila Rosenweig

11 Cary Chelsea Fang & Grace Jin def. 6 Regis Angelo Osofsky & Luke Valdes

7 Los Altos Notre Dame Spencer Dembner & Lilly Hackworth def. 10 Ridgefield Lauren Chakraborty & Nick Patterson

2 Dalton Jake Intrater & Bryson Weise def. 15 Wilton Catherine Singuina & Nickia Muraskin


Regis Matthews & Zuccalmaglio def. Westfield Mione & Shulman

Regis Majsak & Wota def. St.Luke’s Kekedjian & Memon

Cary Fang & Jin def. Wilton Adams & Siripuram

Los Altos/Notre Dame Dembner & Hackworth def. Dalton Intratier & Wiese


Regis MZ w/o Regis MW

Los Altos/Notre Dame DH def. Cary FJ


Los Altos/Notre Dame DH def. Regis MZ

Full list of results can be found here

Paul Kim, our East Coast correspondent, debates for Ridgefield High School.