Central debate team places third at state, four members advance to finals

Naperville Central’s debate team placed third at the Illinois High School Association state tournament on  March 18, with four members qualifying for the final session. Out of approximately 110 debate competitors, only 15 were selected to participate in the final debate session.

“Eight of our kids advanced to the semifinals, which is a lot,” senior and co-captain Anusha Kumar said. “And then we got four kids into finals.”

Co-captain William Tong placed third, and because the overall rankings are based on the highest-placing team member, Central placed third behind first place finisher Zach Wu from Naperville North and second place finisher Aditi Ambravan from Stevenson.

Central sent its top 10 debate competitors to the state competition.

“We had three sessions of prelims, one four hour session of semifinals and then one three hour session finals,” Kumar said.

The debate team at Central participates in congressional debate, where competitors debate bills written by other students. 

“Students [give] three minute speeches,” Kumar said. “[Then] you get questioned for two minutes, and as you get further into the debate, it gets a little bit more challenging to debate because you’re supposed to be refuting more people and consolidating arguments.”

Speakers were scored on a scale from one to six by a panel of judges. Following a two to three hour debate, students will vote in their chambers whether to pass or fail bills.