Debate Team Competes at Nationals


Burke B Cochran, Assistant Editor-in-Chief


As other student’s vacations had already gotten well started, the Debate Team was still prepping for yet another tournament.


In late June, the Debate Team competed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament.


Five Debaters qualified for competition.  The teams of Burke Cochran (‘19) and John Giesecke (‘19), and Michael Milles (‘20) and Nick Altintop (‘19) qualified in the Public Forum division. Nicolas Goymerac also qualified for competition in the Lincoln Douglas division.


To qualify, teams compete at the districts tournament in March. The top three teams from each district are then invited to compete at the National Tournament. Belvidere North took half of the available spots to qualify out of all the other schools in Northern Illinois.


The competitors were in Florida for a whole week for the competition. Preliminary debates were over a span of two days. Each team debates six rounds with two judges, making a total of twelve ballots. In order to pass preliminary rounds, teams must earn a total of eight ballots or more.


After preliminary rounds, all qualifying teams move on to elimination rounds. During these rounds the records are reset and everyone is equal. The tournament simply becomes lose two rounds and then you are disqualified, until only two teams are left for the final round.


One team from North broke to elimination rounds: the team of Cochran and Giesecke in Public Forum. The team advanced until round 9 until being eliminated. At this point of the tournament, less than 50 of the almost 400 teams were still competing. Cochran is ranked first and Illinois, and Giesecke is ranked second.


The topic for the national tournament was the North American Free Trade Agreement. Teams on either side debated whether the or not the benefits outweighed the consequences. The crux of the argument on both sides was whether or not economic gain was just cause for human suffering, especially in the case of Mexico, which was much less developed and lost out on most of the benefits the other countries saw.


The teams hope to qualify again this year.