Article by Ryan Shimizu
“We will give this tournament all that we have, and we hope our hard work will pay off.” This quote is from Timothy Chon, captain of the debate team class of 2018, on the bus to the Varsity debate tournament in ASIJ. The hard work paid off, as St. Mary’s won first place in the Kanto Plains Debate championship.
The Regular Season
This year’s varsity Team A had Nikita Romanov as the first speaker, Leon Inoue as the second speaker, and Tae Jun Seo as the third speaker. Team B consisted of Jiseung Park, Luka Sandoval, and Shion Inoue. Team C was Maximilian Printz, Timothy Chon, and Ryan Shimizu.
The two new varsity members Romanov and Park, both sophomores, were chosen after three weeks of undergoing trial practice rounds. The two were chosen out of a total of five candidates, as they had consistently scored high points during the practice rounds. Maximilian Printz has commented on their work saying, “they are both amazing candidates that have great potential for growth. I hope to see them perform [the best] they have this year.”
Back to this year, the entire season was greatly successful as we had six seniors, L. Inoue, Seo, Sandoval, S. Inoue, Printz, and Chon. All six of them are experienced debaters and the underclassmen three members of the varsity team were able to get guidance on speech writing and tips on effective argumentation from the seniors.
The tournament was two rounds for each team with two judges for each round. The winning team of the tournament was decided by the number of judge’s votes that a school collectively could win. St. Mary’s got votes from ten judges, beating ASIJ coming in second with eight. Team A and B got ballots from all four judges, while Team C came in with two.
The individual awards were also very impressive for St. Mary’s as we had two all-stars and two speaker awards. Seo won his fourth all-star, winning first place in the tournament, and Shion Inoue his third all-star. Sandoval and Leon Inoue both won their fourth speaker awards. St. Mary’s had the most combined total awards out of all schools.
What is noteworthy, is Tae Jun Seo’s impressive record of winning all of his rounds in the finals since his debut in varsity debate in freshman year. He started on the C team in freshman year, stayed there his sophomore, then moved up to B as a junior, then team A for his senior year. He offered his final thoughts on his debating experience;
Being able to end four years on the debate team on such a positive and happy note was extremely fulfilling. Debate has been a significant part of my high school career, and I am grateful to all of my teammates and coaches for such an amazing experience. Thank you.
The seniors as a whole were glad that they were able to end with a team victory wrapping up their four years participating in debate. Chon summed up the tournament as he congratulated the team after the win and said, “All in all we have had a great year. Couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.”
With six new spots in the varsity team opening next year, the team is ready for fresh new talent. There were 21 members in the JV team this year, and with the rising freshmen next year, competition for spots next year will be very high. The debate team is looking forward to another great year next year!