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HHS Debate Team Posts Best Season Ever

The 2020-2021 Debate season has been Harrison High School's most successful to date. Harrison High School varsity Lincoln-Douglas debaters have won 15 tournaments this year, including national championships at Harvard University, the Glenbrooks (Illinois), Apple Valley (Minnesota - championships in both varsity and JV), Princeton University, and Yale University (JV). Harrison debaters have earned a record 27 qualifying bids to the Tournament of Champions, and have qualified 9 students to the National Debate Coaches Association's national championship, 4 students to the National Catholic Forensic League's national championship, 2 students to the National Speech & Debate Association's national championship, and 10 students to the New York State Forensic League's state championship. Debater also have earned 10 Top Speaker Awards. Five Harrison debaters are currently ranked in the top 22 nationally: #1 Giovanni Cutri, #3 Ali Ahmed, #6 Rebecca Anderson, #19 Sonali Nicoli, and #22 Molly Ryan and hold nine of the top 11 spots in New York State: #1 Giovanni Cutri   #2 Ali Ahmed,  #3 Rebecca Anderson, #4 Sonali Nicola, #5 Molly Ryan, #7 Anthony Kang, #8 Annie Chen, #10 Jessie Pein, and #11 Mai Blaustein.  

Three students who rank in the top 10 nationally (Profiles of all top-ranked individuals appear at the end of this article):

Giovanni Cutri is ranked the  #1 Lincoln-Douglas debater, both nationally and in New York State. Giovanni has won the Glenbrooks (national championship in Illinois), Princeton (national championship), Newark (first Harrison debater to win this tournament twice), Isidore Newman (national championship in Louisiana - co-champion with teammate Ali Ahmad); has earned 10 bids to the Tournament of Champions this season; was top speaker at multiple national tournaments, including Lexington (top speaker for two consecutive years); and placed 5th at NDCA Nationals.

Ali Ahmad is ranked the #5 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #2 in New York State. Ali has won Harvard (national championship), Apple Valley (national championship in Minnesota), Isidore Newman (co-champion with teammate Giovanni Cutri); was runner-up at Stanford (national championship) and Blue Key (national championship in Florida); has earned 11 bids to the Tournament of Champions, the highest number a Harrison debater has ever earned (tied with Raffi Piliero '17); and placed 8th at NDCA Nationals.

Rebecca Anderson is ranked the #6 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #3 in New York State. Rebecca has won Holy Cross (national championship) and was runner-up at UPenn (national championship); quarterfinals (top 8) at the Glenbrooks (national championship in Illinois); top speaker at Grapevine (national championship in Texas); has earned 3 bids to the Tournament of Champions; and qualified for NCFL and NDCA Nationals.

Varsity Debate coach Chetan Hertzig shares, “This competitive season has been extraordinary in every way. With incredible dedication, our debaters have been able to surmount the considerable challenges posed by online debate to achieve the most successful year in our team's history.” Mr. Hertzig also recognizes the contributions of Jennifer Melin, assistant debate coach, and looks forward to a great set of post-season national championships, and to another exceptional season next year. Both coaches eagerly anticipate the arrival of incoming 9th graders next year, since the novice classes are vital to the team's continuation.

Harrison High School Debate Team 2020-21 Season Review

Tournament Wins:

1. June Democratize Debate Invitational: co-championship - Giovanni Cutri & Sonali Nicola

2. Quarantine Classic: Rebecca Anderson

3. August Democratize Debate Invitational: co-championship - Giovanni Cutri & Rebecca Anderson

4. Holy Cross: Rebecca Anderson

5. Yale (JV division): Jessie Pein

6. Byram Hills: co-championship - Anthony Kang & Mai Blaustein

7. Apple Valley (Varsity division): Ali Ahmad

8. Apple Valley (JV division): Jessie Pein

9. Glenbrooks: Giovanni Cutri

10. Princeton: Giovanni Cutri

11. Isidore Newman: co-championship - Giovanni Cutri & Ali Ahmad

12. Newark: Giovanni Cutri

13. Harvard: Ali Ahmad

14. Hudson Valley NSDA Districts: co-championship - Jessie Pein & Mai Blaustein

15. NYCFL Grand Tournament: Jessie Pein

 

Runner-Up Placements (2nd Place):

1. June Democratize Debate Invitational: co-championship - Giovanni Cutri & Sonali Nicola

2. Byram Hills: co-championship - Anthony Kang & Mai Blaustein

3. Blue Key: Ali Ahmad

4. Isidore Newman: co-championship - Giovanni Cutri & Ali Ahmad

5. Regis Christmas "Chlassic": Jessie Pein

6. Columbia: Mai Blaustein

7. Stanford: Ali Ahmad

8. Bronx Winter Local: Jessie Pein

9. UPenn: Rebecca Anderson

10. Hudson Valley NSDA Districts: co-championship - Jessie Pein & Mai Blaustein

Top Speakers:

1. June Democratize Debate Invitational (Giovanni Cutri)

2. Quarantine Classic (Rebecca Anderson)

3. August Democratize Debate Invitational (Giovanni Cutri)

4. Grapevine (Rebecca Anderson)

5. Apple Valley (Ali Ahmad)

6. Isidore Newman (Giovanni Cutri)

7. Blake (Giovanni Cutri)

8. Lexington (Giovanni Cutri)

9. UPenn (Sonali Nicola)

10. NYCFL Grand Tournament (Jessie Pein)

 

Debate Team Individual Achievement and Rankings

Giovanni Cutri is ranked the  #1 Lincoln-Douglas debater, both nationally and in New York State. Giovanni has won the Glenbrooks (national championship in Illinois), Princeton (national championship), Newark (first Harrison debater to win this tournament twice), Isidore Newman (national championship in Louisiana - co-champion with teammate Ali Ahmad); has earned 10 bids to the Tournament of Champions this season; was top speaker at multiple national tournaments, including Lexington (top speaker for two consecutive years); and placed 5th at NDCA Nationals.

Ali Ahmad is ranked the #5 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #2 in New York State. Ali has won Harvard (national championship), Apple Valley (national championship in Minnesota), Isidore Newman (co-champion with teammate Giovanni Cutri); was runner-up at Stanford (national championship) and Blue Key (national championship in Florida); has earned 11 bids to the Tournament of Champions, the highest number a Harrison debater has ever earned (tied with Raffi Piliero '17); and placed 8th at NDCA Nationals.

Rebecca Anderson is ranked the #6 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #3 in New York State. Rebecca has won Holy Cross (national championship) and was runner-up at UPenn (national championship); quarterfinals (top 8) at the Glenbrooks (national championship in Illinois); top speaker at Grapevine (national championship in Texas); has earned 3 bids to the Tournament of Champions; and qualified for NCFL and NDCA Nationals.

Sonali Nicola: ranked #19 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #4 in New York State; reached semifinals (top 4) at Princeton (TOC bid) and UPenn; top speaker at UPenn; qualified for NDCA Nationals

Molly Ryan: ranked #22 Lincoln-Douglas debater nationally and #5 in New York State; reached semifinals (top 4) at Columbia and quarterfinals (top 8) at UPenn; qualified for NCFL and NDCA Nationals

Anthony Kang: ranked #7 Lincoln-Douglas debater in New York State; reached quarterfinals (top 8) at Columbia and UPenn; qualified for NDCA Nationals

Annie Chen: ranked #8 Lincoln-Douglas debater in New York State; reached octofinals (top 16) at St. Mark's (national championship in Texas/TOC bid); reached octofinals (top 16) at 2nd Year Nationals at Woodward Academy; reached elimination rounds at multiple tournaments this year; qualified for NDCA Nationals

Jessie Pein: ranked #10 Lincoln-Douglas debater in New York State; won the JV divisions of Yale and Apple Valley (national championship in Minnesota); won the Hudson Valley District Tournament and the Grand Nationals NCFL Nationals qualifier; reached elimination rounds at NDCA Nationals as a sophomore; qualified for NSDA and NCFL Nationals

Mai Blaustein: ranked #11 Lincoln-Douglas debater in New York State; was runner-up at Columbia (national championship/TOC bid); qualified for NSDA, NDCA, and NCFL Nationals