Novice Debaters are Number One in the State

By Mara Shapiro

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The Novice debate team celebrating their first place title at the State competition. Photo courtesy of Eric Oddo.

The Novice debate team won number one in the state while competing at Dundee Crown and Maine East on Thursday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11.

The team beat Glenbrook North, one of their hardest competitors, for the state title.  The duo of sophomores Miranda Kang and Nathan Anderson pushed the team to first place. Debate is coached by social studies teacher Eric Oddo and math teacher Matthew Fahrenbacher.

Coach Oddo is proud of the team as a whole.

“It was a team effort. I’m proud of the whole team. Even though there are teams of two, the whole team [contributes],” Oddo says.

Kang and Anderson debated about America increasing exploration or development when it comes to outer space.

Kang accredits the time and effort both she and Anderson put in as the factor for winning.

“I think our success is because of how much time and effort we put into debate.  Both Nathan and I have frequently gone to tournaments at the varsity level. It was tough to debate against third and fourth year debaters and not necessarily being successful.  However, the experience paid off when we found ourselves advancing at the State tournament,” Kang says.

Anderson feels that he was motivated by last year’s results and the great coaching staff.

“[Miranda and I] became so successful because of the push from all of the outstanding coaches. On top of that we had the drive from the team to come back and win state after taking second place last year,” Anderson said.

Both Kang and Anderson cannot believe that the team took home first place.

“Right after I won it didn’t feel like anything, but a couple days later it hit me that ‘Wow, I really won State.’  It feels good to know Miranda and I won, but then I realized that not just [we] won; the whole team won. Without the support of the team and coaches there would be absolutely no way that we could [have] won. So I think it was a big first place win for us all,” Anderson says.

“I can still hardly believe it.  On the day of the tournament, I remember going home and my mom asking me how I did.  I finally realized what we accomplished when I replied, ‘Oh, that, we won,'” Kang says.

Novice Nationals will be held in Atlanta,Georgia Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25. Kang, Anderson, and Oddo want to build off of  State’s success.

“It would be amazing if we can repeat what we did at state.  If not, I’m at least hoping to advance to elimination rounds,” Kang says.

“My goal for Nationals is probably the same as everyone else’s: take first. It’s going to be a full out battle but if Miranda and I, or even any of the other teams that are also going,  fight it out and come out on top, think that would be an amazing win for Niles West and a perfect way to end the season,” Anderson says.

“I think this success will potentially help us. Even if we fall short, we have reached set goals and achievements, other accomplishments would be cherries on top,” Oddo says.