Up at the Podium

By: Evin Santana ’19

A look at the JV/Novice National debate tournament.

The team poses with their trophies after the tournament is over.

On weekend of March 9 through March 12, Notre Dame’s debate team traveled to San Francisco for the JV/Novice Nationals. At this tournament, the debate team competed against over 20 teams in the region.

The team left on Friday, and the tournaments took place on Saturday March 10 and continued on Sunday March 11 from 8-6 at San Francisco State University’s campus.

A total of 14 students competed, 2 JV teams, which consists of second-year debaters, and 5 Novice teams, which consists of first-year debaters. “It’s one of the nationals that’s geared towards the younger and less experienced students, whereas in April we attend Nationals that are open to any students that qualify which are more geared towards the most advanced students in the country,” said Mrs. Christina Tallagun Phillips, the debate coach.

The JV teams Nick DiFilippo/YeJun Kwon and Nikhil Navare/Brian Snitman both finished in the top 8 in their division. “My partner (YeJun Kwon) and I were the top seed in the jv pool. Our preliminary record was 5-0, which means we were undefeated,” said Nick DiFilippo ‘20. Two of the Novice teams also made it to the top 8.

Although they rank as high as they have in past years, they still have a lot to be proud of. “ in the past we’ve actually been in the finals and this year we weren’t,” said Mrs. Tallagun Phillips. “One thing that I’m very proud of my students for is that despite the fact they didn’t do as well as they wanted to, which most of them thought winning was the only option, they were still very positive at the end and they’re all willing to work hard.”

While they spent a lot of time competing they also had were able to have fun and spend time with each other. “We also all got super close at this tournament. We spent a lot of time bonding outside of the tournament,” said DiFilippo. “Our team has a tradition at this tournament where we all see a movie. We also always go to Mitchell’s ice cream near downtown San Francisco.” This year the team saw the movie Black Panther.

The Debate team continues to practice their skills and talents during their classes and practices. “While JV/Novice Nationals is a very important tournament for us, obviously the longer term goal of improving that talent and those skills and having a positive attitude about the journey of working hard is going to lead them to much greater wins in the future if they persevere,” said Mrs. Tallugan Phillips.


Good luck to them as they work their way to National’s competition.


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