Debate starts off year with most successful tournament
The Conant Debate team achieved success at its first tournament of the year on Saturday Sept. 17. They placed second in the meet as a school, which was the first time the team placed in the large school division of an Illinois Congressional Debate Association (ICDA) tournament. Schaumburg High School placed first and Fremd High School was third.
Thirty-five debaters competed at the JV and Varsity level, which was the most Conant students to ever compete in an ICDA meet. The whole team does congressional debate, where 15-20 debaters are gathered into a room and a mock session of congress is run. In a session of congress, bills are debated by giving pro/con speeches and questioning the speeches afterward. There are 10-15 chambers in each meet.
Each chamber has a first, second, and third place winner. Keshav Shivam, ‘17, and Nitin Subramanian, ‘18, were first place speakers. Second place speakers were seniors Michael Kim, Bhavana Bheem, Kunal Mahajan, team captain, and juniors Dhvanii Raval and Aditi Katwala. Seniors Arjun Rao and Akash Moozhayil were third place speakers. Kim and Mahajan received second place in legislation. Best presiding officers were Subramanian, Mahajan, and Rao.
Head Debate Coach Frank Kernats explained, “Four years ago, we only had about six kids attend this meet.”
Kernats added that he was “very proud of the team,” especially the seniors on the team who “have become great leaders” and are responsible for not only the team’s success on Saturday but also for “saving the team.”
Mahajan said, “It was the culmination of years of hard work and growth” that made this success possible and that “individual and team effort over several years has allowed the team to grow” in membership.
According to Kim, a contributing factor to the success of the team was “the addition of Denise Mitchell last year” as the assistant coach of the team. Kim described her as “very motivated and knowledgeable, and holds the team to a very high standard.”
Kernats believed that such success was achieved was due to the “creation of the research director position” which is held by Subramanian. Kernats added “this was the best research pack we have ever had going into a meet.”
Another reason for Saturday’s success is the investment of more time into practices, said Divya Gudur, ‘17. Gudur explained, “More people now go before school to practice or practice during lunch breaks.”
Kernats stated that the team’s future goals are to place in the top three again and to have as many chamber award winners as possible at the Oct. 15 tournament at Dundee-Crown High School.