Northside Debates Its Way to Victory
By Alina Yamin
The Northside College Prep Debate team had a stellar performance the weekend of Dec. 8. The debate team, coached by Adam Hausman and Robert Berry, English Department, traveled to West Des Moines, Iowa, for the Dowling Catholic Paradigm Debate Tournament. This annual tournament occured over the span of three days and is the largest debate tournament in the state of Iowa featuring debate and speech competitions. Debaters who participate in this tournament compete for a bid to the Tournament of Champions, which is held in Lexington, Kentucky in April, 2019. It is considered the most prestigious tournament that only the top teams in the country are able to attend.
The Northside debate team has put in countless hours into preparing for all of its tournaments. The team usually has one official practice every Monday for an hour and a half and it practices every Wednesday for about four hours during colloquium. Additionally, the team meets on Saturdays for four hours in the weeks leading up to a tournament. Individuals practice several hours on their own every day.
The team’s hard work has paid off even before this most recent tournament. At the Glenbrook Invitational tournament, hosted over the weekend of Nov. 17-20, Magi Ortiz, Adv. 911, and Alex Pinheiro, Adv. 907, made it to the Varsity semifinals earning their third bid to the Tournament of Champions. Additionally, Kyujin Derradji, Adv. 105, and Evan Chen, Adv. 103, came very close to beating New Trier for the Junior Varsity tournament title.
The team was even more successful at the Dowling Catholic Paradigm Debate Tournament. At this tournament, Varsity Debate team members, Kathy Martinez, Adv. 910, and Wasim Rahaman, Adv. 909, received their first bid to the national Tournament of Champions. While Ortiz and Pinheiro picked up their fourth Tournament of Champions bid. Ortiz and Pinheiro are currently leading in the state of Illinois in terms of the most bids per partnership. Furthermore, Caleb DeBerry, Adv. 103, and Ben Katz, Adv. 105, won the tournament championship on the Junior Varsity level.
Martinez says, “Wasim and I worked extremely hard in the weeks leading up to the tournament and we were really pleased with the results. In our bid round, we debated a team from New Trier and they read a new argument against us so we were worried because we couldn’t prepare a strategy against them before the round. We ended up winning that round unanimously (after a 3-minute decision), which felt awesome. I remember Mr. Hausman and Berry congratulating us and my teammates went to hug me immediately after they announced the decision, and it reminded me of how much support I have from our debate family and how proud I was of our team’s performance at the tournament. It was a huge personal moment for me because I’ve wanted to go to the Tournament of Champions since I was a freshman and I never thought I’d be able to make it.”