Oak Park Debate sweeps state qualifiers

Three debaters to compete at state tournament

Photo Courtesy of Audrey Israel
Oak Park Debate Coach Audrey Israel with State Qualifiers (pictured left to right), Charlie Nicks, Chase Bezonsky, and Logan Prince.

And then there were three.

Senior Chase Bezonsky, junior Logan Prince and sophomore Charlie Nicks placed in the top six in the Tri-County Forensic League state qualifiers March 1-2 at Taft Charter High School. They will advance to the state tournament May 3-5 at California State University, Long Beach. Junior Hadia Hamza is an alternate to compete at the state tournament.

The tournament was “double elimination,” meaning that a debater would be eliminated if they lost two rounds. There were six rounds in total, with the first two on the first day and the rest on the second day.

Prince wrote to the Talon that he felt nervous, despite being well-prepared.

“I lost my first round so the pressure was on to win the rest,” Prince wrote.

Nicks won both of her rounds on the first day, leaving her in a better position to advance to state.

“I was thinking at that point that I might have qualified so at that point I started to get really nervous because I had a chance, so I had to not mess up the second day,” Nicks said.

Nicks said she was surprised when she found out she had qualified for the state tournament.

Photo courtesy of Audrey Israel
Lincoln Douglas Debaters Logan Prince, Kristyn Zhang, Hadia Hamza, Harshitha Dasari, Charlie Nicks and Chase Bezonsky at state Qualifiers.

“I was kind of in shock because I didn’t really expect to,” Nicks said. “I was really happy later but at the moment I couldn’t feel anything.”

Bezonsky found out she made it to state before her opponent did.

“He kept talking trash to his friends about how bad I was which I thought was really funny,” Bezonsky wrote to the Talon. “[When he found out] his face dropped and his teammates got really quiet. But I went over and shook his hand.”

The topic at the state tournament will be the same as that for the qualifiers, centered around how the illegal use of drugs ought to be treated as a matter of public health, not of criminal justice.

Debate coach Audrey Israel wrote to the Talon that she is very pleased with the results.

“Our league only has six spots for these debaters and Oak Park took 50 percent of them, which is extremely rare,” Israel wrote.