Washburn debate wins UC Berkeley Tournament

On Top: Ryan Kelly and Kaitlyn Bull, senior debate partners who won the UC Berkeley tournament, and Quintin Brown, a senior who won the top speaker at the tournament.

Jackson Hermann

The Washburn debate squad won multiple awards at the University of California, Berkeley Tournament during the first weekend of October.

Clashing with many excellent competitors from schools such as Lewis & Clark, University of Nevada Reno and U.C. Berkeley as well. The East Bay Tournament is known for being an ambitious and cutthroat contest, with many prestigious awards to take.

“We have to do a wide variety of research on information such as policy proposals and critical theory,” said Kaitlyn Bull, senior political science major. “You become very well-versed on both sides of many topics. That’s what drives me: The opportunity to learn more about the world and its major issues.”

Washburn walked away from the tournament with many medals. After another Berkeley team defeated them in the first tournament of the year, two competitors, Bull and Ryan Kelly, faced the same team in the final round of the U.C. Berkeley Tournament.

Coming together as a squad after the loss at the last tournament, they came up with many new arguments and rebuttals to Berkeley’s key argument, which became the linchpin of their offense against the team in their rematch.

“Debate is all about doing in-depth research on a bunch of current events and philosophical topics,” said Kelly, senior international business and marketing major.

The teamwork paid off. Bull and Kelly won the ballots of all three judges in the final round, winning the tournament unanimously. Washburn won the overall squad honor of the sweepstakes trophy, as well, which recognizes them as best team and the best squad at the tournament.

“It was incredibly rewarding because it’s our last year and we haven’t been able to win Berkeley yet,” said Bull.

In addition to the tournament victory, Washburn took the top three Speaker Awards, with Quintin Brown, senior sociology and philosophy major, taking the top Speaker Award and the Sharmi Doshi ‘10 Award, named after an alumnus of the Cal Berkeley debate squad, which recognizes a person or team who has made particularly valuable contributions to empower women, people of color or other groups who have been under-represented in the debate community.

“It was crazy, I didn’t believe I was going to win it but then they called my name,” Brown said. “I hope it pushes other individuals to be good members of the community with a broader awareness of certain issues.”

Washburn broke past two other teams in the preliminary rounds. Kelly Burns and Grant Waters finished 4-2, clearing the way to the elimination rounds where they finished as octafinalists. Brown and Will Starks came out of preliminary rounds 5-1, clearing and finishing as semifinalists, coming in third place overall.

Overall, Washburn debate has had a successful start to the season this fall, setting themselves up for future victories as the season moves forward.