Last week, the debate team returned from a successful first major tournament of the year.
The tournament was hosted by Georgia State University and included over 100 teams from dozens of schools around the country.
â€œOur top team had a strong finish at 25th,â€ said William Mosley-Jensen, director of debate, in an interview via email. â€œOver the course of the weekend, our squad of 12 debaters defeated teams from Harvard, Northwestern, Emory, Michigan State and Wake Forest University (among others).â€
That top team, consisting of juniors Nathan Rothenbaum and Maggie Solice, was competing in the open division of the tournament against 112 teams from 37 Division I schools. They competed in a style of debate that is recognized as the most academically rigorous form of debating. Rothenbaum was also ranked 19th individually out of a field of 224 competitors.
â€œI knew that we would do well because, as a team, we had conducted thousands of hours of research to prepare, and we have amazing coaches,â€ Solice said.
â€œWeâ€™ve spent literally the past two months researching the topic and reading hundreds of academic articles,â€ Rothenbaum said.
This research process started well before the year began.
â€œPreparing for a tournament begins in the summer when we first get our topic,â€ Solice said. Â â€œThe research is basically the equivalent of writing a term paper every two weeks.â€
This yearâ€™s topics of debate include the costs and benefits of legalization of controversial activities.
â€œThe resolution is about legalizing one or more of the topics on a list, including marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, online gambling and organ sales,â€ Rothenbaum said.
The debate team will compete in its next competition this weekend in Ogden, Utah. The tournament was very selective.
â€œIt is a closed tournament that only invites a select group of approximately 32 nationally competitive teams,â€ Solice said.
The debate team looks forward to more success in this year.
â€œI am really excited for the team prospects,â€ Mosley-Jensen said. â€œWe have a young team and have been working hard on our current topic since July. We think the team is really ripe for a revival.â€