The Hillsdale College debate team won first place debate sweepstakes this weekend at a tournament at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
The eight debaters competed in the Lincoln-Douglas debate style, finishing on top through it was the first competition of the season for seven of the members.
Sophomore Lucy Meckler and senior Alexandra Negrich won second place in the open division and novice division, respectively. Meckler also won first place debate speaker in the open division.
Meckler said the whole team worked together to research the topic: police misconduct.
Three debaters competed in speech events. Freshman Patrick Mitchell, who was competing for the first time, won first place in the persuasion category, and senior Mary Blendermann won second place in the impromptu category.
Debate coach Matthew Doggett said he was really proud of the team, since the worst anyone did was to break even on wins and losses.
In the final debate round in the open division, Meckler’s opponent argued the federal government should increase regulations on police’s ability to confiscate materials from people.
Doggett described Meckler’s arguments: “The federal government [would] require states to use their funds in certain ways…it is unconstitutional. Police, because regulations are unclear, are hamstrung — they just don’t act, [so] crime increases.”
Meckler and Negrich both lost on 2 – 1 decisions.
The tournament was the first one for freshman Justin Politzer, who went 3 – 3.
“It was a trial by fire. I came in knowing basically nothing,” Politzer said. “I came out knowing basically how to debate.”
Sophomore Kathleen Hancock said she enjoyed this tournament more than previous ones.
“I feel more comfortable as a second-year debater, knowing people on the circuit and some of the coaches,” she said.
Meckler said the 10-hour drive was miserable, but good for team bonding.
“I’m really proud,” Meckler said. “It was definitely a team effort from start to finish.”