The Nevada Union Debate Team has earned many first place trophies and top tournament speaker awards over the years, but this year’s team is not only one of the largest in NU history, it is also off to one of the best starts of any NU Debate Team on record!
The team launched the tournament season at Yuba City High School on Sept 22, with a 4-0 win/loss record for senior Kris Colen and sophomore Teddy Hill-Weld, and a 3-1 record for sophomores Joe Fenner and Randy Svoboda. NU’s freshman debaters also did extremely well at their first tournament, competing in an open bracket that included both varsity and novice teams. In one of the day’s highlights, two of our freshman debaters, Lucy Meckler and Walker Subbotin, ended the tournament with a 2-2 record, beating a well-known varsity team as novices in their first league debate!
With just a week to rest, 18 NU debaters then headed down to Long Beach for the Jack Howe Memorial Tournament held at California State University. The Long Beach Invitational offers a very competitive policy debate tournament, attracting many nationally ranked teams. For the first time in Nevada Union history, an NU student won the Top Speaker Award at the tournament! Competing against 150 top national debaters, senior Kris Colen brought home the hardware with a first place trophy! “I couldn’t have done this without my debate partner Teddy,” Colen said. “It was an amazing experience, receiving the award was unreal. The first thought that went through my mind was that the 2nd speaker is arguably the best debater in the state and one of the best debaters in the nation, and it is humbling to think that I out-spoke him.”
To add to the riches, incoming freshman Leo Zlimen won the Top Speaker Award in the Novice Division! Nathan Potter and Colby Scanlon also ranked 3rd and 5th speakers respectively in the Novice Division. From a team perspective, freshmen Daniel Sonnenberg and Nathan Potter advanced to novice elimination rounds, making it to the quarterfinal round. In all, the NU Debate Team won 11 varsity rounds, and an additional 14 novice matches. “This is a very exciting way to start the year, and we are looking forward to continuing our great momentum into the rest of the season,” stated Gabe Olson, one of the Nevada Union debate coaches who graduated from NU in 2007. “It is great that we are able to engage students from a rural public high school in such a meaningful activity, and the fact that we are able to be highly competitive in the process is just an added plus. The debaters have prepared all summer for this tournament, and it is fantastic to see all of that hard work pay off.”