Hillsdale College Debate Team took first place at a tour­nament at Western Ken­tucky Uni­versity. Wiki­media Commons

The Hillsdale College Debate Team took first place in sweep­stakes at their first tour­nament of the season. The team traveled to Western Ken­tucky Uni­versity this past weekend.

Twelve debaters com­peted in the WKU/Alumni Fall Tour­nament & Round Robin. The team debated teams from Western Ken­tucky Uni­versity, Uni­versity of Bowling Green, Central Michigan Uni­versity, and other schools.

“It was the first time that we really got to get together with the debate com­munity,” junior  Kathleen Hancock said. “It was a really good time to just have an intro­duction to the topic from other people’s point of view and  see what we’re up against this season.”

The team com­peted in Lincoln Douglas Debate, a 1 vs. 1 form.

“It’s very policy-ori­ented,” freshman novice debater Ben­jamin Bies said. “You have a res­o­lution. Our res­o­lution right now is, ‘Should cyber coms sub­stan­tially increase actions?’ The affir­mative would propose a plan and promote it. The job of the neg­ative is to attack it.”

Three debaters advanced to out rounds, or the final tour­nament portion. Bies was one of the semi-finalists.

“I’d heard some horror stories about people’s first tour­nament,” Bies said.

After the tour­nament, however, Bies has no plans to drop debate.

“I’m ready to sell my soul to debate. I hate public speaking. I’m deathly afraid of it. For some reason, I kept walking out of my debate rounds thinking that it was very fun and I wanted to go do another one.”

The first tour­nament is a good way to identify strengths and weak­nesses.

“The first tour­nament is always a little bit rough,” said junior Hannah Johnson, the team manager.  “We’re hearing how other people approach the topic for the first time. We’re getting new debaters used to the format and fig­uring out logistics. Overall, it went really well as the first tour­nament.”