Overlooking the rainy Oregon Coast, Marshfield High School in Coos Bay kicked off the Oregon debate season with the South Coast Invitational. This one day tournament took place on October 6th, welcoming thirteen open parli teams and seven novice teams, a slightly smaller turnout in comparison to last year.
The invitational concluded in finals after three preliminary rounds, as is typical for smaller Oregon Invitationals. This one day schedule was convenient for teams, reducing the cost for those who had to travel to attend.
As the only teams with a 3-0 record after preliminary rounds, Ashland’s Sarah Aaronson & Sienna Scoggin and South Eugene’s Emma Illig & Ava Vasconcellos advanced to the final round. Ashland negated the resolution, “The death penalty is morally unjustifiable,” defeating South Medford on a 2-1 decision.
“There was a lot of clash on whether or not the death penalty cost more than jail for life,” said Scoggin. The round included the usual arguments on death penalty cases, including costs, racism, and the issue of victims’ families. According to Aaronson, their victory likely derived from their warrants for the death penalty’s problems, and the unique form of revenge it imposes in the American justice system.
Several students commented on the tournament’s preference towards morality based topics — worded like the finals resolutions and lacking an actor — as opposed to policy resolutions. “There was a decent range of topics, most of them were morality based,” said Phoenix’s Emily Weaver. Marshfield’s Aiden Leahy-Crooks described the theory-based resolutions as “refreshing.”
In novice division, Ashland’s Owen Johnson & Adam Moeglein, the only 3-0 team after prelims, debated Maris Catholic’s Hayden Shoemaker & Amelia Watts in semifinals while Ashland’s Josh Datz & Nadia Johst hit North Medford’s Matthew Hoppe & Charles Tang. Both Ashland teams triumphed and closed out novice division.
Even though South Coast experienced a small turnout this year, it serves as a critical season opener to introduce new students to parliamentary debate and help experienced debaters get practice before Oregon’s grand season starter, the Jerry Hudson Invitational at Willamette University.