Webb Debate Places Third in Claremont Contest

Webb students brainstorm on impromptu debate topics during the Claremont Invitational Debate Tournament.

Webb debaters placed third overall on Nov. 12 in the Claremont College Invitational Debate Tournament, a competition that matched 15 speakers from Webb against 75 speakers from eight other high schools.

One of Webb’s teams – Ben Madanski ’26, Brianna Stodghill ’26 and Simon Xu ’26 – was the only team to go undefeated, capturing first place.

Webb speakers also claimed honors for individual speakers, including first place for Mirabel Raphael ’24, second for Xu, fifth for Aipieri Bush ’24, eighth for Madanski, ninth for Theresa Hu ’24 and 14th for Kathy Duan ’25.

“This was one of the most evenly matched tournaments the organizers had seen in a long time, and most schools won about half their rounds,” debate coach Dr. Brett Rushforth said.

The debate featured four rounds – two on pre-announced topics and two on impromptu topics:

  • Pre-announced topics: Amend the U.S. Constitution to remove the president by a two-thirds Congressional vote of no confidence; eliminate victim impact statements in criminal trials.  
  • Impromptu topics: To attend college, students should be required to complete a minimum one-year term of national service; the U.S. should pay reparations to the victims of U.S. atomic bombings.

Rushforth thanked debate captains Connor Plunkett ’23, Yvette Shu ’23 and Jenny Wang ’24, who organized team research, led the team in practices and helped for the five competition teams. Shu and Wang also helped the team with logistics during the tournament and led breakout prep sessions for each impromptu topic.

Webb’s debate team also features Saira Bhagat ’25, Dorothy Ma ’25, Jonathan Rosales-Cardenas ’24, Jacky Qi ’25, Dayun Suh ’24, Zona Zhou ’26, Jialu Chen ’24, Geoffrey Yang ’26.

Webb’s final tournament of the fall season will be held Sunday, Dec. 4.

November 13, 2022

16:04 PM PST