The debate season never really stops for MBA debaters. After more than 7 long weeks of practice, research, and speeches the students are ready for another year of competition. Returning from camps all over the country, the team is more prepared now than we ever have been at the start of the year. Although we lost many talented debaters, we have gained many more as well. Not only has the number of Junior Varsity and Varsity members increased, but the school has hired a new coach, Austen Yorko, to help coach. Coming from his last year at Trinity Debate, he is a powerhouse researcher, putting massive amounts of work to turn out huge amounts of files. When asked about his thoughts for the new year, Austen said, “I am very excited for the 2017-18 MBA debate season. Since I am new to the program, I look forward to learning the skills and talents of the debaters. So far they all have an incredible work ethic, which I know will translate into a great success.” Not only will Austen help research and turn out files, but he also hopes to travel along with the debaters to different tournaments throughout coaching before rounds.
The debate team has changed more than in just the numbers of coaches or debaters. Because of the senior’s leaving, most partnerships have been rearranged. With Liam Jameson debating at the University of California at Berkeley, his partner Atticus Glen is debating with Julian Habermann. For the first tournament of the year, Patrick Dennis and Jack Rankin debated together at the Ohio Valley Season Opener. After going 6-0 in prelims, they were the third seed going into eliminations rounds. Narrowly losing in octofinals, they just missed getting a bid to the tournament of champions. However, Jack Rankin got 3rd speaker in the whole tournament.
Before the second tournament of the year, there is a round robin where the top 16 teams in the nation compete head to head. The competition is made up of two pods, each with 8 teams, and after 7 rounds the top two teams from each pod debate each other. For the first time since 2006, two teams from the same school were invited. MBA was able to send the partnership of Julian and Atticus and the duo of myself and Ben Jablonski. The event is incredibly competitive, because every single round you are facing an opponent that you would only usually debate in the late elimination rounds of a tournament. For the first time in Greenhill Round Robin history, a school won both pods to close out finals. MBA secured two finishes at first place, beating out all the other debaters.
When the following tournament began, Patrick and Dennis down to Dallas to debate as well. After prelims, the MBA debate team was cumulatively 16-2. Every team advanced to the octofinals, earning a bid to the Tournament of Champions. After losing a close round in the octofinals, Patrick and Rankin were out of the tournament. Julian and Atticus narrowly lost to a team from Chicago that would go on to win the tournament. Finally, the Chicago team beat MBA out in finals to secure first place. In terms of speaker awards, Julian secured an impressive 9th place speaker award and Atticus received a 15th speaker award.
Looking back on the start of the season, Ben Jablonski commented, “We’ve already done pretty well in the tournaments we’ve gone to, so I’m excited to see what’s in front of us. As long as we keep up this pace of hard work and research, I think we’ll do great.” MBA has already made a name for itself as one of the most well researched teams in the circuit. Now, with so many more juniors and sophomores in their 3rd and 4th years of debate, we are poised to continue that momentum.
The next tournament on the calendar is in Chicago, at the New Trier school. Many talented teams will be attending the tournament, including the Niles West team from the finals of Greenhill. A few very skilled teams that did not attend Greenhill will also be starting in the national circuit at New Trier, including a team from Iowa City West. Even though the beginning of the season is promising with the MBA debate team showing its dominance at Greenhill and Ohio Valley, we will need to continue this momentum and research to achieve the success that we experienced last year.