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Pitt Debaters Shine at 6th Annual Lincoln-Douglas Grand Prix

Pitt Debaters Shine at 6th Annual Lincoln-Douglas Grand Prix


Two novice debaters from the William Pitt Debating Union showcased their skills at the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) Grand Prix, a prestigious national debate tournament held this month at Western Kentucky University. Rosalind Dong and Dannie Lyu, both first year students at Pitt, participated in the event hosted by the LD Coaches Association.

Lyu's remarkable performance included securing a 4-1 win-loss record in the preliminary rounds, advancing to the second elimination round, and qualifying for the National Forensics Association’s National Championship Tournament. Moreover, Lyu clinched the 7th place top speaker position in the novice division, contributing to the team's tie for 11th place sweepstakes alongside Penn State, Illinois State University, and Texas State.


Grand Prix Competition 

The Grand Prix distinguishes itself as a unique national tournament within intercollegiate debate. Notably, it is the only national event exclusively dedicated to Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate, unlike other national tournaments which typically offer about a dozen different types of debate.

According to Justin Kirk, Director of Debate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Grand Prix is renowned for its rigorous nature, often surpassing the challenges posed by other prestigious tournaments such as the NFA NCT and the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament. Kirk asserted that "there are no easy debates" at the Grand Prix, a sentiment echoed by many participants. The tournament imposes entry caps across all divisions, ensuring that each team only fields their top debaters. The demanding nature of the event is further accentuated by its compressed elimination schedule. Kirk emphasized that the Grand Prix showcases some of the most refined arguments of the season.


Camaraderie and Special Award

Beyond the sheer prestige of competing at the Grand Prix, participants find themselves immersed in a vibrant and supportive debate community. Chad Meadows, Director of Debate at Western Kentucky University and one of the tournament's founders, emphasized the significance of camaraderie within the event. The fundamental motivation behind establishing the tournament was to celebrate Lincoln-Douglas debate, foster a sense of kinship among its participants and according to Meadows, “offer some appreciation for what everybody brought to the season.” 

This sense of camaraderie, coupled with light-heartedness, was exemplified by a special accolade bestowed upon the Associate Director of the William Pitt Debating Union, Alvin Primack. He received the "Most Diligent Coach Award," a humorous distinction reserved for the coach with the longest average time to complete their ballots during preliminary rounds.


Education and Culture Resonates with Pitt Debaters

The Pitt team's positive attitude and focus on learning resonated well with the tournament's ethos. Despite facing challenges, Rosalind Dong and Dannie Lyu maintained a constructive approach, viewing each round as a learning opportunity. They embraced feedback from judges with enthusiasm, demonstrating a dedication to growth and improvement. As the William Pitt Debating Union continues to evolve, they remain committed to fostering an education-first mindset and striving for excellence in all aspects of debate.