CDS debaters at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
The wind chills were in the negatives over Valentines’ Day weekend, but CDS students were heating up the competition with skillful argument and careful research at the largest tournament the squad has been to outside of NSDA Nationals. CDS was one of more than fifty schools represented at the Liberty Bell Classic tournament, held on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Philadelphia, PA. The tournament drew competition from New York, Texas, Montreal, and Beijing, China. Representing CDS were Nathan Ball ‘15, Sahil Gupta ‘17, Ryan Bastin ‘17, Eric Perless ‘17, and Samantha Davis ‘18. Accompanying the team were parent volunteer Dana Ball and co-coach Mark Wonnacott.
Despite being the smallest entry in terms of numbers, the Advocats finished in the thick of competition. Ball, debating in varsity LD, posted an even record heading into the final preliminary debate. A narrow loss to an eventual top-16 finisher put an early end to Ball’s tournament participation. Ball’s performance served as an inspiration to younger members of the team. Bastin, in novice LD, also posted an even record before the last preliminary debate. His opponent, who finished in the top 16, was just a little too fast for Bastin. Bastin’s record was good for a finish in the top half of a competitive novice field.
In public forum debate, the team of Davis and Perless saw several close decisions go against them early, but pulled out a pair of wins to close out the tournament. It was an incredible finish for the two. Davis was competing in just her third tournament, while Perless was entered in his third different event of the year. “One thing I like about the debate team is the way we pull for each other,” said Perless. “I do whatever I can to help the team win, and sometimes that means competing in different events. Honestly, I love the challenge.”
“I’m really proud of the way these kids dealt with some adversity. The cold, the competition, the distance, none of it bothered them. That’s real toughness,” said Wonnacott. “This is an incredible group of students, and it’s a real pleasure to work with them.”
For questions about the Speech and Debate team, please contact Mark Wonnacott at email@example.com. The team next competes at the Carolina State Tournament in Meyers Park, NC on March 7-8.