West Conn and Novice/JV Nationals

The tournament at West Conn from February 25-26 was both the Eastern Regional Championship as well as the National Debate Tournament (NDT) District 8 Qualifier. For Rochester’s novice team of Stephanie Saran and Mary William (pictured below), this was their first tournament, which made it all the more impressive that they went 4-2 in prelim round and made it to the semi-finals. They eventually dropped to Binghamton on a 3-0 decision.

The tournament also marked the return of Rochester to the NDT circuit, with senior team of Vijay and Diamond qualifying to the most elite and nationally competitive tournament of the year, on a total of eight ballots in six rounds. They were the fifth seed in the district.

The junior debaters, Ben and Alyssa, also had an impressive showing at the tournament, which ended in a four-way runoff with Dartmouth and two Boston College teams.


The debaters powered on as Rochester sent three teams to the Novice/JV Nationals at West Virginia, two weeks after West Conn.

My partner Josh Rose and I during our break round of the JV division. We had gone 3-3 and was awaiting the RFD with bated breath. The judge had taken close to 45 minutes to decide…
Everyone else in the room during our break round.
Vinit and his “third speaker in the nation” smile.

Josh and I did end up breaking in our division, and debated in the partial octos. We unfortunately dropped on a 2-1 decision to Cornell.

Despite not accomplishing outstanding feats at the tournament, the debates were close and the URDU spirit was alive. Coach Gordie Miller won the award for second most preferred judge in the nation. All three teams had a hard first day, but they persevered and made the best they could of the second day. All in all, Novice/JV Nats for a tough time for all – but all in the competitive and educational spirit of the activity.



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