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.”