Freshmen debaters compete at championship


Ethan D’Alessandro gives the second negative rebuttal, or 2NR.

Thrown in with nationally-ranked debaters at the state championship, their first tournament with seasoned varsity debaters, a pair of West High’s novices — or first year debaters — pulled off two wins.

Ethan D’Alessandro ’20

The IHSSA state championship tournament has five rounds. In round four, Ethan D’Alessandro ‘20 and Yegor Kuznetsov ‘20, two freshmen, won on the Japan disadvantage: that Japan is scared of cooperation with China. “They conceded that Japan would proliferate,” D’Alessandro said. “ I just extended that argument in the 2NR (final negative speech) which meant that the aff (the plan the affirmative team proposes) couldn’t solve…any risk of the disadvantage means the judge votes neg.”

Ethan’s older brother, Evan D’Alessandro ‘17, a semifinalist at this tournament, sees great potential in his younger brother.

Evan D’Alessandro ’17

“He could be a really good debater, if he sticks with it and works hard. He is doing far better than I was at his age, and he seems to have a better understanding of the intricacies of debate than I did,” Evan D’Alessandro said.

The biggest thing though is experience which can’t be worked on, only gained.”

— Evan D'Alessandro '17

What kind of work does Ethan need to do?

“Cutting cards (finding evidence) is a major thing, also work in 1AR’s (first affirmative rebuttal) and what arguments to be going for,” said Evan D’Alessandro. “As always, line-by-line (responding to your opponent’s arguments in order) is a skill to be developed, and theory work and technique need to be improved. The biggest thing though is experience which can’t be worked on, only gained.”