Two pairs of Hillsdale College debaters made it to elimination rounds during their fourth tournament of the season at Bowling Green University in Kentucky last weekend. Sophomore Jadon Buzzard and junior Henrey Deese took first place at the Sunday tournament.
Seven pairs of debaters competed in the first Parliamentary tournament of the season. While the team has attended Parliamentary tournaments in the past, it is still a relatively new form of debate for the team members. Parliamentary debate differs from Lincoln Douglas in both preparation and presentation, and junior Kathleen Hancock said the team is preparing and researching for this different type of tournaments this season.
“Parliamentary is a lot more extemporaneous,” Buzzard said. “You get the topic you’re debating only 20 minutes before the round. Then you just go in with the preparation that you did in 20 minutes and you debate it.”
Parliamentary resolutions can range from strictly policy questions to abstract and vague propositions.
“Sometimes you get very arbitrary random resolutions,” sophomore Caleb Lambrecht said. “We got resolutions such as ‘This trump will win the game’ or ‘A diamond with a crack is better than a pebble without one.’ It’s very interesting because you take these terms and you have to interpret what they mean.
When teams are given the proposition, they’re also assigned a side: either the government (affirmative), or the opposition (negative). The government team has the advantage of speaking first and, therefore, interpreting the proposition.
“It’s kind of difficult coming into these rounds as the opposition because you have no idea what the government is going to come in interpreting these terms as,” Lambrecht said.
Buzzard and his partner Deese won their semifinal round, debating the resolution that ‘Lighting a candle is better than cursing the darkness’. The pair took first place in the Sunday tournament.
“It was nice to beat out our main competitors, Grove City, who we beat out in finals,” Buzzard said. “Whenever we go to this tournaments, those are the people we’ve got to beat.”
One other pair advanced out of preliminaries. Sophomores Erin Reichard and Katrina Torsoe advanced, but lost out in the semi-final round in Saturday’s tournament.
“The tournament could have gone better for the school overall,” sophomore Caleb Lambrecht said. “Because we didn’t perform super well, we didn’t win sweepstakes. It was great that one of our teams was able to win.”