The Spring 2023 semester began with three tournaments. In early January, the Indiana Debate team traveled from Bloomington to Annapolis to compete in the Crowe Warken Debates at the US Naval Academy.
In the novice division, Indiana Vishnu Midithuri and Aaron Fernando made it to the semi-final round with a 6-2 record in preliminary debates. And Noonan and Sanders won two rounds. In JV, Indiana’s Belle Chatpunnarangsee and Zane Kierzyk was one round away from breaking to quarterfinals. In Open, Rahul Penumetcha and Aryan Jasani finished with a 4-4 record, a few speaker points away from elimination rounds. The other Indiana Open team, Anekah Fish and Kyler Logan coined a new phrase, “L’s stand for learning,” although both speakers outperformed their win-to-loss ratio.
For some fantastic performances, there was one black cloud over the tournament: a tire on our bus went flat, and then, later blew out entirely. As anyone who was following along on Facebook knew in real time, Director of Debate Brian DeLong was excited to be taking a team large enough to fill the bus, but it took a turn for the worse when the bus went flat in the parking lot—the realization occurring on an ill-fated trip to get vegetarian chicken wings.
There was a quick turnaround to Indiana’s own tournament the following weekend. The Hoosier Invitational Tournament (HIT), grew in size this year with 57 teams from across the country competing in the open division. Indiana had a great showing in a novice division: Anna Sanders and Nalani Noonan broke to quarterfinals, Ezra Baker and James Jones to semifinals, and Midithuri and Fernando won the tournament.
“Winning a debate is like having a scoop of ice cream on a sunny day. Winning the HIT in Bloom is like that, but with a triple scoop banana split sundae with a flood of chocolate sauce, an asteroid belt of nuts, and an Eigenmann height of whipped cream,” Fernando joked.
While debate is definitely for him, the jury is still out on metaphors.
We also had some fun debates in the Open division. The adrenaline always starts pumping when pairings show a Hoosier v. Boilermaker matchup.
“I was so excited to face a team that I'd had competed against before—Anekah and I debated Carina and Harshini in JV last year, and Carina and I debated in the same district in high school. Purdue's debaters are great people, and I had a lot of fun. Winning in the long-held IU-Purdue rivalry helped too,” Hattie Hoham laughed.
After the HIT, Indiana’s novice teams debated remotely at the Texas Open in the first weekend of February. Noonan and Sanders finished the tournament with a clean 3-3 record. Midithuri and Fernando were knocked out in the semifinal round, but had a strong showing at the tournament overall.
The start of 2023 looks good for Hoosier Debate, check back soon for updates on districts, the NDT, and our public debate against DePauw.