The Hillsdale College Debate Team competed on its home turf this past weekend. Hillsdale hosted the Richard M. Weaver Tournament, the only debate tournament the college hosts.
Seven different schools, including John Carroll University and Penn State University, took part in the tournament, which was held in Lane Hall. Debaters had the opportunity to compete in two different debate forms: Lincoln Douglas and International Public Debate Association.
Sophomore Dan Grifferty took first in speaker points in IPDA, while junior Kathleen Hancock took second in speaker points and second in the IPDA tournament. Freshman Frank Vitale and sophomore Katrina Torsoe advanced to the quarterfinals in the Open Division of Lincoln Douglas. Grifferty said he took first place in speaker points but last place in the actual tournament.
“There’s two different competitions that go on at a debate tournament,” he said. “You can win awards for both of them. Obviously, winning the debate is more prestigious and more important. There’s which side the judge actually votes for. A lot of that comes down to their judging paradigm. And then there’s speaking, which is who sounded the best and made their arguments more cogently and most precisely.”
IPDA is a form of parliamentary debate. Instead of debating in pairs, debaters compete as individuals. Speech times are also shorter in IPDA than the standard form of parliamentary debate.
“The particular difficulty with IPDA is how concise you have to be with your words in order to make as many points,” Hancock said. “You also have to be very persuasive in your language. You can’t just make as many points as possible, like in Lincoln-Douglas, and expect to win. I use IPDA as a format to improve my speaking ability rather than improve my thinking ability.”
The tournament served as both a fundraiser for the debate team and as a chance for other debaters to qualify for the National Forensic Association tournament, which will be held in Los Angeles in April. Sophomores Jadon Buzzard and T.J. Wilson, along with coach Matthew Doggett, will travel to Sacramento this weekend to do research on California debate.
“The West Coast debate, even within LD, tends to be different,” junior Hannah Johnson said. “They have different arguments that they particularly like, and we don’t often get a chance to debate them because they don’t come to the East Coast or Midwest. We’re sending people out, not only for competition, but also to do a little bit of research to see what kinds of arguments California teams are running. That way we’ll be better prepared for Nationals in April.”
Hancock said the two are more focused on research in Sacramento than their place in the tournament.
“It’s not about how they do this weekend,” Hancock said. “Even though they probably will do fairly well because of our track record with tournaments in general, they’re more concerned with obtaining information this weekend.”