Bishop O’Dowd OW Victorious at Fullerton

The final round of CSU Fullerton Invitational culminated in a midnight matchup between Bishop O’Dowd’s Alden O’Rafferty & Conner Whitehill and Northwood’s Estelle Lee & Manav Manivannan. Negating the resolution, “This house supports Korean unification”, Bishop O’Dowd prevailed over Northwood on a 3-0 decision. Interpreted as a fact round by both sides, the debate’s determining factor was whether or not Kim Jong Un would relinquish power in order for reunification to occur.

Earlier in elimination rounds, O’Rafferty & Whitehill walked over teammates Paulina Harding & Gratia O’Rafferty. As the bottom seed of the bracket, Northwood’s Lee & Manivannan was one of four teams that participated in the partial octofinal round, and worked their way through to finals.

Connor Whitehill, Alden O’Rafferty, Estelle Lee, and Manav Manivannan after the final round.

Connor Whitehill, Alden O’Rafferty, Estelle Lee, and Manav Manivannan after the final round.

The tournament featured 21 teams in the varsity division and 9 in novice— a relatively small pool of competitors likely attributable to the fact that the Claremont Bargain Belt Invitational occurred on the same weekend this year.

Competition spanned two days, with debaters surrounded by sunny skies at first, but facing rain and thunderstorms later in the weekend. While generally refreshing for debaters to experience a rare instance of rain in Southern California, the weather did pose problems— Stockdale’s Avya Shukla noted that “flows [were] ruined by the unexpected showers.”

The final round wasn’t the first time that “this house” was used as part of a resolution at the tournament. In fact, eight out of the ten resolutions featured this phrasing. As a result, many competitors faced difficulty when preparing cases, unused to topics without a specifically defined actor. While some appreciated the lack of restraint, La Reina’s Alex Martin believed that the vague phrasing forced teams to have definition debates. “It got frustrating after some time. Every round seemed to end up with frivolous topicality arguments,” said Martin.

Fullerton featured both policy and value resolutions, as tournament staff tried to balance the variation of the rounds. Unlike last year, the tournament decided to allow the use of internet prep right before the start of the first round, despite the official invitation clearly prohibiting it. While no official reason was given, letting teams have access to evidence was likely in support of building stronger cases.

In the novice division, Peninsula found great success, making up 3 out of 4 teams in semifinals. Peninsula’s David Rekart and Julia Thomas walked over fellow teammates Linus Yeh and Saul Munn. Meanwhile, Westridge’s Katherine Northrop and Molly Kirschenbaum defeated Komal Kaur & Simren Parikh.

This led to a final round between Peninsula Rekart and Thomas and Westridge Northrop and Kirschenbaum.  After debating the resolution “The USFG should recognize Palestine as a state,” the quarterfinal topic from the varsity division, Peninsula won on a 3-0 decision. 


Peninsula Mei Johnson & Michael Wagreich (Bye)

Granada Hills Charter Sahar Dabririan & Shane Smith (Bye)

Global Prep Cassidy Bensko & Joelle Min (Bye)

Bishop O’Dowd Alden O’Rafferty & Connor Whitehill (Bye)

Bishop O’Dowd Paulina Harding & Gratia O'Rafferty (Bye)

Bishop O’Dowd Lucy Barretto & Lola Deibert (Bye)

Northwood Estelle Lee & Manav Manivannan def. Global Prep Aiden MacIvor & John D'Aguiar (2-1)

Westridge Terrindeep Sandhu & John Polk def. La Reina Isabel Burgos & Alex Martin (2-1)


Peninsula Johnson & Wagreich def. Westridge Sandhu & Polk (3-0)

Northwood Lee & Manivannan def. Granada Hills Charter Dabririan & Smith (2-1)

Global Prep Bensko & Min def. Bishop O’Dowd Barretto & Lola Deibert (2-1)

Bishop O’Dowd O’Rafferty & Whitehill w/o Bishop O’Dowd Harding & O'Rafferty (N/A)


Bishop O’Dowd OW def. Peninsula JW (2-1)

Northwood LM def. Global Prep BM (2-1)


Bishop O’Dowd OW def. Northwood LM (3-0)

Results can be found here.