Debate Team Prepares for County Championships

Ku Jung

The debate team’s last tournament before the county championships ended on a high note as the team cruised through with 35 wins and 19 losses on Jan. 6. After a shaky start, the team improved immensely through the leadership of senior captains Nic Carter, Camilla Yanushevsky and Laura Braun.

“[The captains] work tirelessly and they understand competitive debate,” said debate and forensics coach Rusty McCrady.

As county champions for the past seven years, the team’s strength is reflected in the organized practices: a mentoring system is in place as well as electronic networking through e-mail and Facebook.

“Our three captains, as well as other veterans, are excellent at motivating and tutoring our novices,” said McCrady.

The real hurdle, however, comes on March 3, when the top 16 members are chosen to represent WJ in the county championships. Students must have won at least five regular-season debates to simply qualify for the first day of the county tournament. The students from the top 16 of the first day who qualify for the second day of the competition are generally the students who have won all of their matches (4-0) the first day. If not, it’s the top students of those who went 3-1, based on their regular season records and their judge ratings during the first day of finals.

Juniors Tianhao He and Raymond Wright, who boast a current record of 8-0 and 6-2, respectively, are essential components of the team. Wright also took first place in the Extemporaneous Speaking category in the December forensics tournament.

Practices will continue until the county championships, with the same schedule of two sessions a week.

“I’m looking forward to the county championships with great eagerness,” said He. “Once again WJ has a wonderful opportunity to win.”