This archived article was written by: Rodrigo Leon
In sunny San Diego, Calif., the Utah State University Eastern policy team of David Rawle and Rodrigo Leon competed in the Hannie Shaft Tournament, hosted by Southwestern College on Feb 6-7. This marks the first time in over a decade that USUE has had a policy team in the varsity division.
The tournament had a strong entry with teams from Northridge, Weber State, Arizona State, Long Beach City and Southwestern. Rawle and Leon finished 2-4 in their first varsity tournament of the year, winning a tough debate against Arizona State’s Vinson and Machorro, a top-tier national team, and having close debates with national powerhouses Weber State’s Veeder and Sanchez and Arizona State’s Ram and Quint (the two finalists at the tournament).
The topics debated ranged widely. Topics included but were not limited to: arms sales in Saudi Arabia, the mapping practices of the United States, the racial implications of the Africa Command Center, the reunification of the Koreas, the benefits of Marxism, the impacts of rhetoric on the disabled body. These debates were highly technical and drew from many philosophical backgrounds.
With four rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday, the Hannie Shaft tournament was long and grueling, especially for the USUE team having an opponent-seed average (is the average ranking of their opponents at the end of preliminaries) of 4.83 while the next two toughest schedules were ranked at 5.16 and 5.33. They debated well, losing close rounds.
This tournament comes one month before Western Nationals, a high-level JV tournament. With their first varsity tournament under their belt, Rawle and Leon are preparing for their tournament in Sacramento, Calif., on March 12-13.