The long anticipated 2018 Tournament of Champions (TOC) hosted by Ashland High School and the National Parliamentary Debate League (NPDL) culminated in a final round on Sunday night between Campolindo’s Kevin Deng & Krish Visht and Los Altos’s Ryan Lee & William Zeng. Campolindo emerged victorious on a 6-1 decision negating the resolution, “The United States Federal Government should prohibit non-medical vaccine exemptions for children.”
The final round consisted of a topical affirmative with critical and theoretical arguments from the negative. Los Altos defended the policy action of prohibiting non-medical vaccine exemptions for children, which they followed with an underview of preemptive framework arguments against critical positions. Despite this underview, Campolindo prevailed with their critique of ableism, biopower, and the securitized construction of health.
This year, TOC broke 16 teams for a full octofinals round instead of a partial octofinals round that occurred in 2017. The ballot count for advancing teams ranged from 7-7 to 13-1, a larger range in comparison to the 8-6 to 12-2 range last year. Both Deng & Visht and Lee & Zeng broke to elimination rounds on 10-4 ballot counts.
Campolindo's head coach, Lukas Schwab, expressed excitement over his team winning TOC for the first time since its foundation in 2012. "Obviously this is an amazing outcome for [Deng & Visht]. Very few debaters get to end their high school careers by winning their national championship," said Schwab. "I hope it’s also a point of pride for the other Campo debaters at TOC and the rest of our squad: this success would’ve been impossible without four years of practice rounds, shared prep, shared excitement, and telling Krish his ideas are bad."
Located in Oregon for the first time ever, this year's TOC saw many Californian debaters and judges driving long hours through intense rain and wind to compete, while East Coast teams flew through northeastern storms. Fortunately, Ashland itself only witnessed a light sprinkle during the weekend.
Despite the challenging journey, the Oregon circuit was ready and excited to receive competitors from across the nation. Ashland High School competitor and quarterfinalist Annika Larson believes that the location change allowed Oregon teams access to technical debate that was, for once, not far from home. “I was a fan of hosting the TOC in Oregon, mainly because it made the tournament a lot more accessible to Northern teams. Normally, to get in good flow rounds, [Oregon competitors] have to go to the Bay Area and beyond where there are more experienced judges and advanced competition,” said Larson.
Teams traveled from as far as New York to compete at TOC, and East Coast competitors noted differences in the norms of parliamentary debate between the two areas. "I thought that the tournament was highly competitive in terms of the quality of rounds, judges, and fellow competitors," said Horace Mann's Radhika Mehta, who serves as the executive director of the New York Parliamentary Debate League. "We had a lot of fun competing! That being said, we felt like some of the West Coast customs, namely running theories and kritiks, took away from the substance of debate."
In the break between preliminary and elimination rounds, the annual General Assembly for competitors was held. Coinciding this year with the NPDL's legislative meeting, the forum was led by a volunteer student, Los Altos's Javin Pombra, instead of an adult tournament director. The discussion centered primarily around equity concerns and solutions within the debate space, contrasting with last year’s focus on the passage of the NPDL, then Point of Information, constitution.
Pombra described the forum as a successful and comfortable starting point for debaters to voice their concerns. “The forum was natural, and I think that's what works best. We touched, with some heightened emotions, on the topic of flow and lay debate, which I think is a central conflict in the debate community, and came up with solutions,” said Pombra. Part of this discussion of solutions explored the possibility of splitting the parliamentary community into two separate lay and flow circuits, though implementation or enforcement of that suggestion was never clarified.
Meanwhile, the NPDL non-profit organization hosted the second of its biannual meetings, where members of the legislature met to discuss proposals and community issues. The current NPDL board also announced the upcoming open elections for the 2018-19 executive board, which will run from May 17th to May 23rd. With the NPDL officially completing its first year as an independently functioning organization, Board President Trevor Greenan commented on the upcoming elections with optimism.
“As I leave my position on the board, it's been great to see the legislature involved at the league meeting and operations continuing to run smoothly through the year," said Greenan. "With elections starting up in May and candidacy statements due near the end of the month, I hope that recent graduates and others with ongoing roles in high school parli can continue to find a way to contribute to the activity through NPDL."
SIDE BIASES (calculations courtesy of Keith A. Eddins)
This year's topic committee consisted of Sarah Bostch-McGuinn, Spencer Dembner, Keith Eddins, and Cindi Timmons. More information about committee members can be found here.
- Round 1: USFG should abolish the Export-Import Bank (2 Aff |12 Neg | 5 Split)
- Round 2: Florida should substantially restrict new development near coastlines as a response to climate change (8 Aff | 5 Neg | 6 Split)
- Round 3: USFG should accept at least 100,000 UNHCR-designated refugees per year (10 Aff | 2 Neg | 7 Split)
- Round 4: USFG should reject the February 2018 Nuclear Posture Review recommendation that the U.S. develop new, low-yield nuclear warheads and weapons (9 Aff | 5 Neg | 5 Split)
- Round 5: China should request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (8 Aff | 7 Neg | 4 Splits)
- Round 6: USFG should amend the Presidential Records Act to ban the deletion of social media posts from accounts associated with the President (9 Aff | 3 Neg | 7 Split)
- Round 7: USFG should re-impose sanctions on Myanmar in response to its treatment of the Rohingya minority (5 Aff | 3 Neg | 11 Split)
Article reporting General Assembly results can be found here.
Campolindo Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan def. Ashland Hannah Doyle & Alex Webb (2-1)
Campolindo David Gomez Siu & Sophie Stankus def. Irvington Reetam Ganguli & Isha Sanghvi (3-0)
Los Altos Ryan Lee & William Zeng w/o Los Altos Tamur Asar & Shirley Cheng (N/A)
Nueva Ben Cheng & Ben Shahar def. Gunn / Pioneer Thomas Li & Jessica Zhu (2-1)
Campolindo Kevin Deng & Krish Visht def. Bellarmine / Notre Dame Luke DiMartino & Daenerys Pineda (3-0)
Bentley Ryan Booth & Devin Pracar def. Los Altos Jodie Bhattacharya & Javin Pombra (2-1)
Nueva Adam Keller & Neeraj Sharma def. Bishop O’Dowd Alden O’Rafferty & Claudia Hester (3-0)
Ashland Sarah Aaronson & Annika Larson def. Aragorn / Nueva Albert Hao & Eugenia Xu (3-0)
Campolindo Bonet & Yuan def. Ashland Aaronson & Larson (3-0)
Nueva Keller & Sharma def. Campolindo Gomez Siu & Stankus (2-1)
Los Altos Lee & Zeng def. Bentley Booth & Pracar (2-1)
Campolindo Deng & Visht def. Nueva Cheng & Shahar (2-1)
Campolindo Deng & Visht w/o Campolindo Bonet & Yuan (N/A)
Los Altos Lee & Zeng def. Nueva Keller & Sharma (5-0)
Campolindo Deng & Visht def. Los Altos Lee & Zeng (6-1)