HW debaters dominate at 2019 Stanford National Invitational

Joie Zhang

Around 3,000 students from all over the country convened at Stanford University for the 2019 Stanford National Speech and Debate Invitational from Feb. 9 to 11. 16 Harvard-Westlake (HW) debaters competed in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, a fast-paced, one-on-one form of argumentation modeled after the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. They debated the topic “Resolved: The United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.” Despite the challenging pool of more than 230 experienced debaters, all 16 HW students won four or more of their six preliminary debates to advance to the top 64, where they faced off in a single-elimination bracket, much like the setup for the NCAA March Madness tournaments.

Six of the eight quarterfinalists were from HW. In the quarterfinals, HW debater Jaya Nayar ’20 won against Kevin Cheng from Morrison Academy, and Vishan Chaudhary ’19 beat Rex Evans from Santa Monica High School. With these two wins, HW ‘closed out’ semifinals, meaning that Nayar, Ari Davidson ’19, Chaudhary and Spencer Paul ’19 won the first through fourth places, respectively. These four students didn’t have to continue debating each other as they were from the same team.

Nayar reflected on HW’s success at this tournament.

“I’m super super [sic] proud of how our team did this weekend. Everyone cleared which [sic] goes to show the hard work that all of us have been putting into debate. … I think overall everyone was quite happy with how they did and excited to be apart [sic] of such a successful season,” Nayar wrote in an email.