By Sameye Am

Last Saturday, the Pin Oak Debate team travelled to Debakey High school to compete in the largest debate in HUDL (Houston Urban Debate League) history. Sixty-seven teams from almost every middle school in HISD entered the competition. At each meet, three tournaments take place: Lincoln Douglas (1 vs. 1 debate), Public Forum (2 vs. 2), and Congressional Debate (like Parliamentary).  Each debate tournament works almost like the National Football League. There are three “regular season” debates that every team competes in. The teams with a perfect record then fill the top sixteen slots in the octofinals. These teams compete, and then the winner moves on to the quarterfinals and so on. Pin Oak had four teams move on in the Public Forum Debate tournament and three teams move on in the Lincoln Douglas debate.

In  Public Forum debate, Bonnie Robbins and Katherine Chen made it to the octofinals, Jason Gerber and Zane Chloe made it to the semifinals, and Kate Hester and Emily Saether made it to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, Pin Oak students Paige Hoffer and Sophia Swanston went against the reigning champions Tommy Lai and Jackson Osteen. After a stellar performance on both sides, the girls lost with a split decision. In the final round of the Public Forum tournament, Tommy Lai and Jackson Osteen won their fourth championship after defeating Frank Black Middle School in the final debate of the evening.

In the Lincoln Douglas debate, Estelle Yan made it to the quarterfinals. Pin Oak students Lauren Barrow and Katie Davis battled hard, but this time  Lauren Barrow was able to take the championship.  In Congressional debate, Scott Cricks and Toby Liu placed in the top seven, and after a phenomenal performance, Grady Jones took eleventh place in the rankings.