News Post

Rowland Hall Debate Completes Remarkable Regular Season and Qualifies for Nationals
Rowland Hall Debate Completes Remarkable Regular Season and Qualifies for Nationals
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The debate season is the longest of any activity in high school and for some Rowland Hall debaters, it's not over yet! After finishing another fine regular season, winning trophies at the region and state level, a handful of debaters qualified for Nationals and will continue a long tradition of competitive excellence at the national level.

The debate season is the longest of any activity in high school and for some Rowland Hall debaters, it’s not over yet! After finishing another fine regular season, winning trophies at the region and state level, a handful of debaters qualified for Nationals and will continue a long tradition of competitive excellence at the national level.

For the majority of debaters who compete locally, the Region and State tournament is the culmination of a long season. While Rowland Hall is technically a 2A school, the debate team has been competing in the 3A classification for years. Tooele High School hosted Regions and a number of our students brought home medals. Josh Cole ‘15 won the region title in Student Congress, which is an event where students simulate a legislative session. Callie Frey ‘16 & Sasha Uchitel ’16 along with Joey Amiel ‘17 & Maddie Barker ‘17 were co-champions in Policy debate, going undefeated in the tournament. Anne Kim ‘14 & Kyle Eng ’16 were undefeated in Public-Forum debate and finished 2nd overall. David Bernstein ’17 and Zach Levinthal ‘15 finished 2nd and 3rd in Lincoln-Douglas debate and Emily Sundquist ‘14, competing in a new impromptu speaking event, finished 3rd.  All of these students and more qualified for the State tournament in St. George but only Cory Abdalla ’15 and his little brother Jordan Abdalla ’17 made the sacrifice to represent Rowland Hall over their Spring Break; it was worth it! Jordan & Cory finished in 3rd place, ultimately losing to a pair of seniors from Stansbury High School on a 2-1 decision in the semi-finals (pictured right).

While the Rowland Hall Debate program is always pleased with regional and state success, many debaters have even more ambitious goals. There are three different organizations that sponsor a national championship and Rowland Hall strives to compete for all of them: NFL Nationals, the NDCA Championship, and the Tournament of Champions. Close to a dozen Rowland Hall students compete on the national circuit during the year, gaining recognition and hopefully qualifying to one of these tournaments.  

•    NFL Nationals is the largest speech and debate competition in the country and is sponsored by the National Forensic League. The qualifying tournament for Nationals is a special double-elimination competition where everyone in the district (from Logan to Lone Peak) debates each other until there are only two entries remaining. Those two entries qualify to the NFL National Tournament in June. This year, Harry Stone ’14 & Jaden Lessnick ’16, along with Claire Wang & Emily Gordon ’16, outlasted the competition to control the two national qualifications. Aaron Friedman ’15, Sam Lemons ’16, and Josh Cole finished as alternates. The overall performance of these nine competitors earned Rowland Hall its third-straight District Debate Sweepstakes award, which is given to the school with the best overall performance.

•    The NDCA Championship is sponsored by the coaches association and will be hosted by Weber State University in Ogden this year. To qualify, students must accumulate over 500 points in a complicated BCS-style scoring system that measures regular season performance. This year, Camila Reed-Guevara ’15 & Claire Wang ’15, along with Julia Goldman ’14 & Elliot Kovnick ’15, all qualified and are hoping to capitalize on the home-court advantage April 12-14, 2014.

•    The Tournament of Champions is considered the most prestigious debate tournament, especially for students interested in debating in college. The tournament is held every year in Lexington, KY and universities from around the country attend to scout and recruit talent. Only the top 72 teams in the country are invited to participate. To be eligible, debaters must have placed in at least two different national tournaments during the regular season. This year Julia Goldman and Elliot Kovnick will be representing Rowland Hall.

Over their seven-month season, Rowland Hall debaters heard judges give 824 decisions! While those decisions were for and against us at times, one decision was unanimous: the Rowland Hall Debate program had another incredible season! Wish the debaters good luck as we move forward to our National tournaments.



Check out additional pictures from these tournament and others at:
http://www.pinterest.com/rhsmdebate/