The Hillsdale College debate team com­peted in par­lia­mentary debate March 18 – 21, winning first place for small school sweep­stakes. The tour­nament, which was virtual due to COVID-19, was hosted by Pi Kappa Delta, a forensics hon­orary.  The team also com­peted in a Lincoln-Douglas tour­nament through the Northern Tier Regional Debate League last weekend. 

At the par­lia­mentary tour­nament, Par­lia­mentary Manager and seniors Erin Reichard and senior Tavio Pela advanced to quar­ter­finals, seniors T.J. Wilson and Katrina Torsoe advanced to semi­finals, and senior Jadon Buzzard and junior Frank Vitale advanced to finals and won. 

Matthew Doggett, assistant pro­fessor of rhetoric and public address and director of debate, said he is proud of the team’s per­for­mance and that it indi­cates success for future seasons. 

“We did really well at the par­lia­mentary tour­nament. I was pleas­antly sur­prised because we only took five teams and three advanced,” Doggett said. “The result is that we were fourth overall in debate, and the three teams in front of us had more than 20 entries. We had five entries, so we won small-entry national champions.” 

According to Doggett, schools typ­i­cally win small-entry national cham­pions with closer to 20 entries, so winning with only five teams “speaks to how well everybody did.”

Buzzard, who won first place in par­lia­mentary with his partner Vitale, said one high­light of his weekend was com­peting against a team from Mis­souri State Uni­versity that had beaten them in a pre­vious tournament. 

“Going into this tour­nament, we faced them in quar­ter­finals and beat them, so that was really fun,” Buzzard said. “We were arguing about improving infra­structure in the United States.”

Erin Reichard said another good part of the com­pe­tition was that it occurred over spring break, giving the team time to refresh and prepare.

“It was over spring break so we had more time to compete,” Reichard said. “Hillsdale did won­der­fully overall. Jadon and Frank won, most of our teams ended up advancing, and even the teams that didn’t had a good time.”

The team also sent three debaters to the Northern Tier Lincoln-Douglas tour­nament and two debaters advanced to semi­finals. Although par­lia­mentary debate is fin­ished for the season, the team has one more Lincoln-Douglas tour­nament for the semester. 

Doggett said he is excited to lead the team through the com­pe­tition and enjoys com­pe­tition against “the best.” 

“We’ve got one more tour­nament left, which is the National Forensics Asso­ci­ation National Tour­nament from April 16 – 19. We’re taking five debaters in Lincoln-Douglas debate,” Doggett said. “Three of the five debaters are seniors and they all have done pretty well this year so there’s the potential that we will do well at the national tour­nament. And at the national tour­nament you get to meet people from around the country that you haven’t seen very much because you’re in dif­ferent time zones.” 

According to Buzzard, the final three weeks before the national tour­nament will be filled with meetings, research, and prepa­ration for the competition. 

“The rest of the season is going to involve us doing a bunch of research. We meet twice a week to go over strategy,” Buzzard said. “It’s really prep-intensive so you have to do a ton of prepa­ration before you go into the round.”