Hillsdale’s Debate team won top overall debate team at their first tournament of the season this past weekend at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
They competed against universities from as far as New York, Nebraska, and Alabama.
Matthew Doggett, debate coach and assistant professor of speech, said “it’s the first tournament of the year with a lot of young debaters, so expectations were lower than usual. And everyone overperformed.”
Hillsdale won debate sweepstakes, and its performance was so consistent that it even won 5th place overall sweepstakes.
Three freshmen and eight upperclassmen travelled to debate whether the federal government should increase investment in energy sectors like wind, solar, and nuclear.
Team Manager Jadon Buzzard and T.J. Wilson, both juniors, each had 3 – 1 records in the open division and made it to the octa-final round. Freshman Olivia Ols also had a 3 – 1 record in the novice division and made it to the semi-final round.
In his octa-final round Buzzard argued against a debater from Western Kentucky who argued the government should invest money into poor communities for them to build solar panels so they have greater energy security.
In his octa-final round, Wilson’s opponent argued that the government should regulate and subsidize nuclear energy to facilitate innovation in nuclear technology.
Ols’ semi-final opponent argued that the US military should lead the world in fighting climate change by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. She said this competition helped her see how she can improve.
“I’m still learning how to spend my time on the most impactful, persuasive arguments,” Ols said.
Buzzard and junior Katrina Torsoe were both invited to compete in a round-robin tournament a day before the main tournament began. They qualified for the invitational because they had both broken from the preliminary rounds into the out-rounds at nationals last season.
“We both finished around the middle of the pack,” Buzzard said.
The team also faced some physical adversity at the location. Road closures for a local marathon meant they had to walk up steep hills for over a half a mile, a painful journey particularly for those wearing high heels.
Ols said she enjoys how the team helps her grow.
“I love the team’s community,” she said. “They help you develop your strengths and grow from your weaknesses.”
Buzzard said the team made the tournament worth it, “especially bonding with them eating fast-food on the floor of a school we don’t attend.”
Doggett said he was proud of how the team stuck together.
“The team overcame the marathon, massive heat, a lack of usable electrical outlets, and many other things to live up to the Hillsdale slogan: strength rejoices in the challenge,” Doggett said.