At the NSDA District Tournament Ryan Bastin ‘17 had a revelation. “I’ve competed in my last tournament as a novice. I’m now a varsity debater.” His voice was filled with a mixture of awe and fear, as he realized the season had come to an end. The Carolina West district tournament featured the best competitors from North Carolina, and CDS was ready to stand among them.
Representing CDS at the tournament were Ryan Bastin, Forrest Sleeper, and Eric Perless, ‘17. Accompanying the team were parent volunteer David Perless, staff volunteer Janis McCambridge, and co-coach Mark Wonnacott. Wonnacott is a veteran of multiple NSDA district tournaments. “It’s the best parts of March Madness without the advertising. These tournaments are dramatic, suspenseful, and so much fun for competitors.”
Because of the irregularity of the schedule for the State tournament, students were left with just two weeks to prepare for an entirely different topic. Illness and conflicts with other school activities kept several competitors from devoting considerable time to preparation. CDS debaters did what they could with the limited time.
The pre-tournament troubles didn’t end. In his first round, Bastin faced the eventual tournament winner, losing a narrow decision. Another close loss ended Bastin’s tournament early. Sleeper and Perless faced similarly tough competition, and were forced out of the tournament after the first day of competition.
Despite these struggles, the team finished their season with a bang. The CDS Speech and Debate team was recognized for a sustained commitment to speech and debate with a charter membership in the National Speech and Debate Association. After a long season of dedicated effort and hard work, this honor was a wonderful reward. J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech and Debate Association said, “Achieving this honor is not easy. Charter status places this program among the best in the nation.”
Co-coach David Dvorscak added his own admiration for the hard work of CDS students. “Individual awards might reflect luck, skill, and hard work, but these team awards recognize our greatest attribute: success through collaboration.” Recognition as a charter chapter reflects the commitment CDS students have made in competition, learning, and service throughout the year.
This tournament concludes the 2014-2015 competitive season for the Advocats, and marks the end of a career for Nathan Ball ‘15. Ball completes his tenure with the team having earned the rank of distinction with the NSDA, as well as a one-time national qualifier. Ball plans to continue competing in policy debate at Erskine College.