Making waves in the national debate scene-North debaters debate ocean policy in Iowa


Debaters Molly Lindsey and Sophie Jerwick pose with their quarterfinalist trophy. Photo from Jerwick’s Facebook.

Last weekend, seniors Sophie Jerwick, David Khalif, Molly Lindsey and Vijay Ramasamy represented North at the nationally recognized Iowa Caucus tournament, hosted by the Washington High School in Ceder Rapids, IA.

“[The Iowa Caucus] has students from all over the country who want to get bids for the Tournament of Champions, which is one of the national qualifiers,” Jerwick said.

To prepare for the rigorous tournament, Khalif collaborated with the other debaters to prepare new arguments and worked with the assistant debate coaches to refine his skills.

“We prepared as a team and we worked with the assistant coaches. I worked hard to cut evidence and do practice debates,” Khalif said. “[Vijay and I] prepared arguments like topicality, disadvantages like ‘Politics’, framework and criticisms such as the ‘Capitalism’ and ‘Security’ criticisms.”

The competition at the Iowa Caucus was made up of many top debaters from the Midwest, which forced Khalif to stay vigilant during his rounds.

“There were a lot of Midwest schools, and a lot of Illinois schools. Every team had assistant coaches and each person had a clear grasp on debate,” Khalif said. “It is intense and you have to put in all of your effort and focus. You have to respond to them and make sure you have answers to every argument.”

Because there were more teams outside the Kansas debate circuit, all four North debaters had to be prepared for a different style of debate.

“There is a strong differentiation between arguments more common in Kansas versus arguments more common across the country. Kansas has a very traditional form of debate while in other states, more liberal and philosophical arguments called critiques,” Jerwick said. “These arguments are pretty out there and run by teams on national circuit, but aren’t run in Kansas because Kansas judges don’t prefer them or won’t vote on them.”

The teams of Jerwick and Lindsey, and Khalif and Ramasamy both won prestigious awards. Jerwick and Lindsey were ranked as quarterfinalists with Lindsey winning 16th best speaker out of every debater. Khalif and Ramasamy were ranked as double octafinalists with Ramsamy winning 26th best speaker.

Debate coach Kelly Thompson hopes to see his teams accomplish more goals past the Iowa tournament

“I kinda let them decide what their goals are for the season. Their goals are to qualify for the national tournament and do well at the state tournament. My goal is to help them accomplish the goals they have for themselves for the season,” Thompson said.