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Hillsdale’s Debate Team sent six stu­dents to Otterbein Uni­versity for its last tour­nament of the fall semester. Katrina Torsoe | Courtesy

Of the four com­petitors to reach semi-final rounds in the debate tour­nament at Otterbein Uni­versity this past weekend, two were Hillsdale stu­dents. The Hillsdale College Debate Team sent six stu­dents to compete in a Lincoln Douglas debate tour­nament.

Sopho­mores Katrina Torsoe and TJ Wilson broke out of the pre­lim­inary rounds on Sunday. Torsoe lost her semi final round but took third in speaker points. Wilson took first place in the tour­nament and in speaker points. Sophomore Jadon Buzzard also took sixth in speaker points.

“Overall, for the year, the team’s been doing well,” Wilson said. “Per­sonally, I haven’t, so this was me doing better than I nor­mally have, whereas everyone else did as they have done and con­tinued to do well.”

Wilson said he per­formed better this tour­nament because he was more pre­pared, and had a better under­standing of the topic, which he said comes as the season pro­gresses.

“I went to two Lincoln Douglas tour­na­ments before this,” Wilson said. “For those, there were lots of new things that I hadn’t heard before or didn’t under­stand and those threw me off a lot. At this tour­nament, I didn’t go against any­thing that I hadn’t heard before or that I didn’t under­stand. I was able to address every­thing.”

The team saw com­petitors from John Carroll College, Central Michigan Uni­versity, and St. Anselm College. Fresh off of a par­lia­mentary tour­nament from the weekend before, the debaters used their full semester of expe­rience.

“I think everyone has been a lot more ded­i­cated this year and a lot more orga­nized,” sophomore Erin Reichard said. “I think it’s really starting to pay off. We’ve been suc­cessful in basi­cally every tour­nament we’ve been to.”

The Otterbein tour­nament was the team’s last before Winter Break, though they’ll use the time off to con­tinue growing for next semester’s com­pe­ti­tions.

“It’s a lot of research,” Reichard said. “Hope­fully we’ll be coming up with some more cre­ative argu­ments. Coming up with new material rather than just improving what we have now would be really helpful. That’s what I plan to put effort into.”

According to Torsoe, Reichard, and Wilson, the team has greatly improved over the course of the season.

“Quite a few of our freshman have done really well and have put a lot in to it,” Torsoe said. “They obvi­ously came in with nothing or, at the very most, they came in with high school expe­rience. It’s always been a good team dynamic and that’s just con­tinued.”