Fiery fast debaters dominate at State

Blake+debaters+Kentucky+Morrow+%E2%80%9813%2C+Hirsh+Shekhar+%E2%80%9814%2C+and+Allen+Wang+%E2%80%9816+pose+with+their+coaches.

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Blake debaters Kentucky Morrow ‘13, Hirsh Shekhar ‘14, and Allen Wang ‘16 pose with their coaches.

Laine Higgins, Senior Consulting Editor

The fiery state-champion debate team of Kentucky Morrow ’13 and Hirsh Shekhar ‘14 can probably speak more words per minute than you can type. Besides the fact that these two can probably motor-mouth you into believing whatever they say, they don’t plan on stopping for a victory lap until after they compete for prestige on the national level.

According to Shekhar, the duo has been researching and preparing to debate on this year’s topic of increasing transportation infrastructure “since early June.” Over the summer, Morrow and Shekhar “went to a seven-week summer camp, which is where we did most of our research [sic]. We continued to update our research and do practice drills.”

Going into the tournament, the pair made a goal of winning. Morrow says, “I wanted to win. That way I could solidify myself as the best debater in Minnesota history [he chuckles].” In all seriousness, this goal is not too far-fetched. In ten rounds of debate, the pair went 49-1 on judges decisions. The only vote against them came in a match against Wayzata’s top debate squad.

Shekhar stated, “I know that Kentucky was hoping that it would be unanimous that we wouldn’t drop a ballot throughout the tournament and that didn’t quite work out. But we were just glad to be able to win it.” Not too shabby for Shekhar’s first state tournament appearance.

What’s impressive is that in the one vote against them, according to Shekhar, “it came down to a question of theory, which is one of the more subjective areas of debate. Some of the judges have strong feelings on it, and that’s where it can get close because it is harder to persuade them.”

Much of the team’s success can be attributed to a strong senior class, including Morrow, Hannah Stafford ’13 and Adele Watkins ’13. Shekhar says, “We’re definitely going to have to do a lot more work. Kentucky did a lot of work this year, so we’re going to have to make up for that especially over the summer.” Despite these losses, Shekhar is optimistic about the future. “I’m excited for next year. The topic is Latin America… [and] we have two of the best novices, first year debaters, in the nation.”

Though the State tournament is now over, the debate team is still in preparation for three major tournaments that culminate the season. Younger debaters are heading to Woodward Academy Debate Tournament, which takes place in Georgia March 22-24.

Shekhar and Morrow, along with other experienced debaters, will first be competing in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence at the University of Nevada, March 18-20. The debate veterans will then be heading to the Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky. The “ToC” is held on April 27-29. Shekhar hopes to do “quite well” at these upcoming tournaments.