Ashland LD takes Jack Howe Invitational

The Jack Howe Memorial Tournament took place from September 23rd - 24th at the California State University, Long Beach, marking the beginning of the Southern California debate season. Per usual, rounds for the parliamentary debate division of the tournament took place outside on the “grassy knoll”.

In the final round, Ashland’s Hannah Doyle & Annika Larson affirmed against Archbishop Mitty’s Vedant Vamshidhar & Devin Makhni, debating the resolution that “The USFG should abolish ICE.”

Archbishop Mitty ran a theory argument in their first speech about the extra-topicality of the affirmation’s plan, since Ashland advocated a transition of security duties from ICE to the Department of Homeland Security, instead of complete abolition. During the neg block, however, the theory shell was dropped, bringing the round back to the advantages and disadvantages at hand.

Ultimately, the affirmation won by outweighing the impacts of abolishing ICE. Doyle and Larson’s appearance at the tournament marked their first debate experience in Southern California.

Though traveling down for Jack Howe was, for Larson, “worth it for the experience in lay rounds,” the invitational did face organizational problems. “There was a huge amount of double byes due to delayed flights and judge no-shows,” said Northwood’s Manav Manivannan. “In round two, many teams in flight one did not receive prep time” due to a delayed finish for the first round’s second flight.

The parliamentary debate director, Sarah Sherwood commented that double byes were provided to balance out difficult circumstances. “Missing prep happened due to lack of communication and double/triple entry,” said Sherwood. “Double byes happened due to judges, and missing prep issues. I try to mitigate harm to debaters by giving double byes.”

To stay updated on round timing, Sherwood suggested that debaters “be proactive” by going to tab, texting, or emailing the tournament contacts provided, as well as signing up for Tabroom alerts.

This year, timing as a whole ran late—  perhaps because the parli field had 73 teams, after the tournament cleared all waitlisted entries for registration. These delays had consequences particularly for the fifth round on Saturday, which ended at around 11PM. “When we are debating late, everyone is tired so the quality goes down, which can be unfortunate,” said Peninsula’s Mei Johnson.

In order to prevent similar delays in the future, Sherwood suggested that the tournament might try to avoid “double burdening judges and [letting] parliamentary kids do 2 individual events on top” of competing in parli.

Some competitors experienced difficulty with the resolutions, with Doyle noting that she would have appreciated “more policy wordings for cleaner debates”— to avoid some of the trichotomy arguments that arose. Despite this, the actual content of the resolutions lead to entertaining debates. “I was surprised by some of the topics, like the attorney-client privilege [one],” said Johnson. “But I still enjoyed debating them.”

As a whole, competitors and judges alike seemed to enjoy the tournament. “Competition was high-quality,” said parent judge Sesha Neervannan. “Speakers were clear and articulate and prepped well.”


Global Prep Cassidy Bensko and Joelle Min def. Claremont Sophie Rivasplata & Mercer Weis (3-0)

Archbishop Mitty Tanvi Bajaj & Helena Getayalew def. Claremont Alex Abarca & Angelo Thomas (3-0)

Claremont Sarah Pino & Kamran Sheriff def. New Roads Sean Grey & Frank Gerolmo (2-1)

Troy Chirag Singh & Rahul Patel def. Westridge Rachel Harris & Lily Nelson (2-1)

Ashland Annika Larson & Hannah Doyle def. Peninsula Katherine He & Junshik Ham (2-1)

Archbishop Mitty Vedant Vamshidhar & Devin Makhni w/o Archbishop Mitty Eshan Gupta & Aditi Chatradhi (N/A)

William Howard Taft Aidan Cullen & Nicolas Catalano def. James Enoch Kaung Zaw & Ashneet Sharma (2-1)

Archbishop Mitty Aayush Sutaria & Anish Patel def. Northwood Ekas Chawla & Manav Manivannan (2-1)


William Howard Taft Cullen & Catalano def. Global Prep Bensko and Min (2-1)

Ashland Larson & Doyle def. Archbishop Mitty Bajaj & Getayalew (2-1)

Troy Singh & Patel def. Claremont Sarah Pino & Kamran Sheriff (2-1)

Archbishop Mitty Vamshidhar & Makhni w/o Archbishop Mitty Sutaria & Patel (N/A)


Archbishop Mitty VM def. William Howard Taft CC (2-1)

Ashland LD def. Troy SP (3-0)


Ashland LD def. Archbishop Mitty VM (3-0)