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Debate team places second at Claremont tournament

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Sarah Veissalov
Staff Writer

The La Verne debate team placed second in the finals during the Claremont United States Open.

A total of 18 schools with 57 two-person teams attended the tournament hosted by Claremont McKenna College on Oct. 5 through Oct. 7.

Loyola Marymount University took the win in the finals defeating La Verne and two teams from the United States Air Force Academy.

“I expect them (the La Verne team) to do very well,” debate coach John Patrick said before the competition began.

Patrick said he believes his team is prepared for the competition.

“We prepare for all tournaments as if it’s the world championships,” Patrick said.

In round three on Oct. 5, three of the top La Verne two-person teams were placed in one room along with a team from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

All these teams had nearly perfect scores during the previous rounds.

The motion discussed was “National Security Whistle Blowers Do More Harm Than Good.”

At the end of the round, La Verne outshined Alaska and secured their team in one to three ranking.

Carl Decker and his partner Sam French placed first in the round.

Day two of the debate competition ended with La Verne debaters Decker and French placing first and sophomore speech communication and political science major Melanie Nadon and her partner, graduate public administration major Thomas Allison placing second.

Both teams progressed to the semi-finals.

Nadon and Allison led the final day of the competition as they competed in the finals.

“We were in contention to win the final round,” Nadon said.

“I believe debate takes a lot of commitment, especially if you want to reach a higher level,” team captain and senior political science major Ava Jahanvash said.

“We studied together with our partners three days a week,” Jahanvash said.

The La Verne debate team prepares by matter loading, which is where they read through articles and research topics to be globally aware and understand laws and government structures of different regions.

They are also taught organization of thoughts of manner, matter and method.

Senior sociology and speech communication major Rebecca Aguilar felt prepared for the U.S. Open competition but to an extent.

“There is always more you can work on to be prepared,” Aguilar said. “There is always room for more growth at any level.”

The La Verne debate team’s next competition is the World University Peace Invitational Debate on Oct. 27 and 28.

Following that they will compete in a prestige worldwide tournament at the University of Oxford.

Sarah Veissalov can be reached at

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