16 March 2023 HWS Champions the National Novice Tournament

Lamia Nur Rahman ’26 and Sandeep Tissaaratchy ’26 win Novice Nationals while Tymofi Trakchov ’26 and Grace Wilson ’26 final in the Rookie division.  

Lamia Nur Rahman ’26 and Sandeep Tissaaratchy ’26 won first place at Novice Nationals held at the University of Rochester. The pair ranked higher than Duke, Cornell and Stanford Universities, and individually were ranked among the top speakers of the tournament. Rahman earned 9th best novice speaker and 4th best English as a Second Language (ESL) speaker. Tissaaratchy ranked 5th best ESL speaker.   

HWS Debate at Novice Nationals.

The HWS Debate team at Novice Nationals.

Rahman and Tissaaratchy debated the motion, “This house opposes the glorification of ‘coming out of the closet’ in mainstream LGBTQ+ advocacy.” Their opposition included a Princeton and Stanford team. Before their faceoff against HWS, the Princeton team had won every round they entered.  

Rahman and Tissaaratchy are building on their success from the fall semester. At the Cornell IV tournament, the duo proceeded to the open quarterfinals and ranked as top novice speakers.

Tymofi Trakchov ’26 and Grace Wilson ’26 also had success at Rochester, representing a competitive group of HWS debaters with no prior experience debating who quickly gained success. Last semester, Wilson competed in the U.S. National Tournament and proceeded to the Novice Semifinals with Julia van Neerrijnen (an exchange student from Maastricht, Netherlands), ranking 11th best novice team at the tournament.  

Anjalee Wanduragala ’25 and Nate Conti ’26 also competed. The team shows incredible promise and narrowly missed proceeding to elimination rounds by a one-point margin. At the Cornell IV, Wanduragala proceeded to the novice finals with Rachel Mahoney ’26.   

Novice Nationals was held by the University of Rochester. Forty-eight teams from across the nation traveled to Rochester to compete. The tournament is designed specifically for debaters who are either within their first year of collegiate-level BP debate (Novice) or are entirely new to debate as a whole (Rookie).   

This year, Sreyan Kanungo ’23 and Kayla Powers ’24 were selected as Chief Adjudicators for the tournament. CAs decide the motions that will be debated in the tournament and allocate judges to each room. Linh Tran ’26 was selected to help manage the Tab, the tournament’s online tabulation system that allocates teams each round based on their rankings.   

HWS also sent four judges: Jack Hanson ’24, Andrew Barsky ’23, Sadia Hossain ’25 and Trias Postdoctoral Fellow Danny Schonning ’16. Hanson debated at the Cornell IV last semester, proceeding to the Novice Finals with Kyle Mast ’24. Schonning judged up to the semifinals and was recognized as one of the top judges at the tournament.   

Up next, HWS teams and judges prepare for Colgate Open later in March.

In the photo above, Sandeep Tissaaratchy ’26 and Lamia Nur Rahman ’26 hold their trophies.