84 debaters from twelve schools converged on the campus of Columbia University in the city of New York for a two day tournament this past weekend. Of the twelve schools, ten were either private schools or magnet schools but at the tournaments conclusion it was the two public schools in the field who came out on top.
Wilton’s pair of Davis Langhoff and Rishabh Raniwala were victorious over Ridge’s duo of Jennifer Huang and Jerry Yang on a 4-3 decision, opposing the resolution: "This house, as a wealthy individual, would use that wealth to become a vigilante (e.g. Batman) in areas of high crime and a corrupt police force."
Wilton’s win is particularly notable given the team is not only devoid of a coach but also debating parli, an event that its debaters, who compete nearly exclusively in the CDA, are unfamiliar with.
The 32 teams in the varsity division debated five preliminary rounds before breaking to a quarterfinal. The break comprised 25% of the total field. In addition to finalists Huang and Yang, one other teams went undefeated in preliminary rounds, Mia Delnigro and Massimo Di Lullo of Vincent Massey Collegiate.
Jennifer Huang also placed first in speaker points followed by Raniwala. Izzy Johnson of AITE took the third place trophy. On the novice side Charlotte Ritz-Jack of the High School of American Studies took top honors, with Artem Ilyanok of Stuyvesant and Clara Chen of Loomis Chaffee filling out the top three.
Round motions were grouped based on specific topics, with themes ranging from healthcare to regulating technology. The final round resolution was chosen from a pool of topics labeled “fun stuff.”
Since parli is a less frequently contested event on the east coast, many competitors were debating in a style different then their primary event. “The difference in style put a lot more emphasis on general knowledge and I felt like there was more room for skill expression.” said Langhoff, comparing the style at the tournament to the style in the Connecticut Debate Association. “Since you don’t get an hour to craft an argument as a team, there is a lot more importance on your contentions, so sometimes if you have a good argument in comparison to your opponents you can win outright, unlike in CDA format.”
The East Coast parli circuit took a hit with the dissolution of the parliamentary division at UPenn’s Liberty Bell tournament last year, but with the introduction of two solely parli tournaments, the Vassar Invitational and the Ivy League Invitational, the circuit is making a strong resurgence in 2018.
Our East Coast correspondents are Haven Hunt, who competes for Immaculate High School, Hart Rapaport, who competes for the Dalton School, and Paul Kim, who competes for Ridgefield High School.