On October 12th to 13th, the Polygon Invitational was held at Washington High School in Fremont, California. On a 3-0 decision in the final round, Campolindo’s Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan defeated Valley Christian’s Somu Amujala & Prasanna Jayaganesh while affirming the resolution, “The United States Federal Government should significantly increase its lethal military assistance for the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.” The affirmative team ran advantages about decreasing terrorism as well as political and economic stability in the region. The negative team ran disadvantages on backlash from Turkey and leaving NATO.
Inspired by the first ‘polygon’ round at the 2012 California Cup tournament, the Polygon Invitational featured distinct round modifications that deviated from parliamentary norms. Last seen at the Notre Dame Parli Warm-Up in 2015, polygon rounds made their return based on survey results from that tournament on their favorite polygon formats. As a result, three of the five preliminary rounds at Polygon featured these round alterations. Reflecting its unique nature, the awards for the tournament were shaped like polygons.
The first ‘polygon’ round occurred in the third preliminary round; debaters were prohibited from bringing any prepared notes into the round, and from taking notes during the round. These modifications originated from a former Lincoln Douglas debater, Jason Baldwin, who placed emphasis on debaters evaluating a bigger picture of the round in order to win, rather than depending on uncontested arguments.
In the fourth preliminary round, debates featured two-minute cross-examination period between constructive speeches, with one period established for each team to ask questions of the other. Teams could decide which members was to ask and answer cross-examination questions, as they do in other debate formats.
The final ‘polygon’ round gave each team a total of six chances to ask a point of information during the entire debate. The opposing team was forbidden from denying or delaying the questions; the current speaker had to yield their time to the opponent’s point of information. Irvington’s Caroline Xin believed the no-notes round felt too foreign, but enjoyed the cross-examination round, saying that it “added an element of reality to the round which made the round a lot more exciting.” Campolindo’s Max Schultz said that although the polygon rounds were fun, he preferred the “actual rounds rather than the polygon specific ones.”
The tournament sent out a survey for competitors after the weekend to write feedback and their thoughts on the formatting of the rounds. Many competitors remarked that they enjoyed the slight modifications to the parliamentary debate format, being very receptive to the added cross-examination as well as the no-flow round, but still enjoyed the presence of traditional parliamentary rounds as well.
The survey asked competitors to rate their receptiveness to the no-flow round, the mandatory POI round, and the cross-examination round on a scale of 1 through 5, with a rating of 5 being the most enjoyable. Out of a total of 98 responses, the average rating for the no-flow round was 3.5, the average rating for the mandatory POI round was 3.0, and the average rating for the cross-examination round was 3.3. One point of interest that many commented on in the survey was the punctuality of the tournament; one debater from Menlo-Atherton pointed out the effectiveness in the use of a tournament-wide Google Doc to announce resolutions in order to keep the progression on schedule. Results of this survey can be found here.
In open speaker awards, Yuan took first and Bonet second, with third speaker awarded to Irvington’s Darsh Singhania. For novice speaker awards, Campolindo’s Lela Tolajian took first, followed by teammates Cathy Kenderski and Madison Lee.
In the novice division, as in varsity, Campolindo again came out on top with several teams in the top four seeds. The top two seeded teams went undefeated, with Kenderski & Tolajian claiming first, and teammates David Hughey & Rohan Phadnis coming in second. Teammates Lee & Emma Ngo came in third as the top 3-1 seeded novice team.
Campolindo Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan def. Valley Christian Tejas Rao & Anthony Vu (3-0)
Valley Christian Somu Amujala & Prasanna Jayaganesh def. Los Altos Divya Jakatdar & Ilona Lahdesmaki (3-0)
Campolindo Shannon Bonet & Sharon Yuan def. Valley Christian Somu Amujala & Prasanna Jayaganesh (3-0)
Tournament results can be found here.