Over winter break, Cornell sent 4 teams and 3 judges to the 2017 World Universities Debating Championship in the Hague. Teams debated 9 preliminary rounds over 3 days, on topics ranging from the unionization of armies to the glamorization of start-up culture.
All Cornell teams were in contention for the break to elimination rounds going into the last 3 preliminary rounds. Unfortunately, a rough last day prevented them from advancing. The team of Ankur Biswas and Rubin Danberg-Biggs finished 55th out of 376 teams on 17 points, missing the break by only 10 speaker points.
The teams of Emma Rose Wirshing and Safwan Jalal and Aniroodh Ravikumar and Boya Zhang finished on 14 points, while the team of Dan Stoyell and Rebecca Blair finished on 13 points.
Judging the tournament were Abhiroop Lohia, Denny Lee, and Cornell debate coach Adnan Muttalib. Adnan was one of the 9 judges selected to judge the EFL Grand Finals, establishing him as one of the top judges in the world.
All teams learned a lot and are looking forward to putting their experience to good use as Cornell gears up for the US Universities Debating Championship in April.
Cornell sent 6 teams and 3 judges to participate in the Oxford IV and the Cambridge IV, two of the most prestigious WUDC-prep tournaments in the world.
Three teams competed at the Oxford Inter-Varsity on November 11-12, 2016 and finished strongly, just missing out on elimination rounds, with two teams were on track to break before entering the last round. Rebecca Blair and Dan Stoyell finished 36th out of 139 teams on 9 points. Emma Rose Wirshing and Safwan Jalal finished 50th on 8 points, and Inbum Lee and Alex Chakrin finished 89th on 6 points.
Three other teams competed at the Cambridge Inter-Varsity the next weekend, November 18-19, and came very close to breaking. Rebecca Blair and Ankur Biswas finished 37th out of 112 teams on 9 points. Abhiroop Lohia and Brittany Garcia finished 52nd on 8 points, and our first-year debaters Boya Zhang and Aniroodh Ravikumar finished 55th, also on 8 points.
Rebecca, Boya, Brittany and Enting Lee remained in England after the end of the Cambridge IV to take part in the CMS Cambridge Women’s Open. Enting and Brittany made it to the finals before narrowly losing to two Oxford debaters on a split decision. Enting was also the 4th ranked speaker at the tournament.
Fresh off a victorious weekend at the University of Vermont, 5 Worlds teams traveled to New Haven for the Yale Intervarsity, a tournament widely considered to be one of the most difficult and prestigious tournaments in North America.
After 6 grueling preliminary rounds, the team of Aniroodh Ravikumar and Denny Lee were ranked 8th out of 183 teams with 14 team points, earning them a spot in the Open Quarterfinals. Despite only being in their first year of college, Aniroodh and Denny managed to defeat far more experienced debaters, eventually bowing out in the Semifinals to the eventual tournament champions.
Other Cornell teams also did well, with everyone being in contention for the break going into the last round, and Ankur Biswas and Rebecca Blair missing the break by only 4 speaker points.
Despite driving over 8 hours to get to this weekend’s tournament at the University of Vermont, both Policy and Worlds teams were indefatigable.
The University of Vermont runs two simultaneous tournaments, one in the Policy format and one in the Worlds format. On the Policy side, the teams of Gabriella Knight and David Rooney, and Nicholas Tilmes and Tony Zhou, ended as Varsity Quarterfinalists, defeating strong contenders from all around the country.
All four speakers were also among the top 10 Varsity speakers at the tournament: Nicholas was 3rd speaker, Tony was 4th speaker, Gabriella was 8th speaker and David was 9th speaker.
On the Worlds side, Alex Klein and Kavin Lam reached the finals of the Open division, narrowly losing the finals to a team from Rochester University. Emma Rose Wirshing and Alex Chakrin bowed out as Open Semifinalists, while Ankur Biswas and Boya Zhang, a first-year debater, reached the Open Quarterfinals together. Alex, Ankur and Emma were 1st, 5th and 6th speakers respectively in the Open division, while Boya clinched the top Novice speaker award.
After their successful weekend at the University of Rochester Tournament, the Policy team traveled to New Jersey for the Rutgers Regional Opener.
At Rutgers, Gabriella Knight and David Rooney repeated their performance at Rochester and won their second Varsity championship title of the semester, while Basia van Buren and Joshua Mensah did the same in the Novice division. Ahmad Bhatti and Hunter Seitz also performed strongly, ending as Varsity quarterfinalists.
Joshua also clinched the Top Novice speaker award, with his partner Basia finishing 7th in the division. In addition, David was 7th Varsity speaker and Gabriella was 9th Varsity speaker.