O’Dowd Debate turned in an exceptionally strong performance at the 2014 Jon Schamber Invitational hosted by the University of the Pacific hosted over the October 24-26 weekend in Stockton, California. O’Dowd Debate entered teams in all four debate event and advanced teams to elimination rounds in the novice and open divisions of Public Forum, Parliamentary, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate and in the novice division of Policy Debate.
Ryan Seideman & Tommy Vaugahn
The weekend’s most notable victory was achieved by debaters Ryan Seideman & Tommy Vaughan in open Public Forum Debate. Seideman & Vaughan, debating both the pro and neg of the resolution “On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities,” completed preliminary rounds, in a 69-team field, with a perfect 5-0 record and the #3 seed heading into elimination rounds. Seideman & Vaughan defeated two San Jose high schools, Presentation High School and the Harker School, in octafinals and quarterfinals, dropped Fremont’s Mission San Jose High School in semis, and secured the championship by defeating Florida high school Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in finals. This victory marks O’Dowd Debate’s first invitational championship by a non-parliamentary debate team. Seideman & Vaughan also picked up a bid to compete in the 2015 Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky, one of the nation’s most elite and prestigious national high school debate tournaments. Seideman & Vaughan each received a $5,000 debate scholarship to debate at the University of the Pacific. Mr. Seideman also received a speaker award, finishing #2 out of 138 Public Forum debaters.
The remainder of the Public Forum squad fared quite well. Isabel Weinerth & Evin Yang concluded prelims with a 3-2 record but did not advance to eliminations while Alex Badalamenti & Parker Halaburda finished prelims at 2-3. The novice Public Forum debaters, debating in a field of 50 teams, had an exceptional outing, led by Samantha Szuhajs & Beatrice Velline. Szuhajs & Velline ran the table through preliminary rounds and entered eliminations with a 5-0 record. The pair defeated4 Brooks Academy in octafinals but were dropped from the tournament by San Ramon’s Dougherty Valley High School in quarters. Elliott Hunt & Brandon Pang and Michael Jayasuriya & Maya Perkins concluded the tournament with identical 2-3 records.
O’Dowd Debate entered 4 teams into the the 62-team open Parliamentary Debate field. The pair of Shawn Cunningham & Anna Johnson turned in parli’s strongest performance and finished prelims with a 4-1 record but dropped in the octafinal round to Santa Rosa’s Sonoma Academy. Nathan Woods & Danielle Viviani and Mackenzie Mills & Camille Porter-McAvoy finished with 3-2 records while Sean Walsh & Sophia Yau-Weeks ended their tournament with a 2-3 record.
Claudia Hester & Adaya Wyatt
O’Dowd’s two novice Parliamentary Debate teams, competing in a 37-team field, turned in extraordinary performances, led by freshmen Claudia Hester & Adeya Wyatt. Hester & Wyatt powered their way through prelims, compiling a perfect 5-0 record and the #1 seed in elims. The duo dropped Dougherty Valley High School in octos and Windsor High School in quarters before matching up again Carmichael’s Jesuit High School in an exceptionally tempestuous debate in semis. After dropping Jesuit on a 2-1 split, the pair squared up against two seniors from Roseville’s Woodcreek High School. The freshmen duo, debating the affirmative on whether the U.S. should significantly increase investment in developing a vaccine against the Ebola virus, defeated the upperclassmen on a 2-1 split to take and the novice crown. O’Dowd novices Sanah Basrai & Maia Johnson compiled a 4-1 preliminary record but exited the tournament by dropping to Dougherty Valley High School in the octafinal round. The novice debaters dominated the individual speaking awards and swept the top-three spots (out of 74) with Maia Johnson placing third, Sanah Basrai taking second, and Claudia Hester finishing in the #1 spot.
From left to right: Novice Policy debaters Juliana He & Nathan Francis and Zoe Rennie & Aidan Forth.
Novice Policy debate advanced two teams to elimination rounds with the signature performance coming from debaters Nathan Francis & Juliana He. The pair, debating the aff and neg of “The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans,” finished prelims 4-1 and advanced to the tournament’s semifinal round. The duo of Aidan Forth & Zoe Rennie completed prelims 4-1 but dropped in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Mr. Francis was named the #2 Novice Policy speaker. O’Dowd’s Open Policy duo of Karla Ho & Eunice Jung made their debut with a 2-3 performance but did not break to elims.
In Lincoln-Douglas debate varsity debater Koosha Nouri, debating both sides of the resolution “A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased,” advanced to octafinals after completing prelims with a 3-2 record. Fellow varsity debater Graham Clark ended his prelim run at 2-3 and did not break. O’Dowd entered four debaters in novice Lincoln-Douglas with Christian Yau-Weeks finishing a solid 4-1 but did not advance past octafinals. Fellow LD debaters Tyler Jorgensen and Stefano Hurtado finished with winning 3-2 records but did not advance. Connor Tamor ended his tournament with a 1-4 record.
O’Dowd Debate will see its next action this upcoming Sunday, November 2 at a Golden Gate Speech Association league tournament hosted by San Francisco’s George Washington High School.