In National Rankings, Debate Wins the Argument

Different partners, but still on top.

After winning the prestigious St. Mark’s School of Texas Invitational in Dallas on Oct. 18-20,  debaters Hemanth Sanjeev and Dylan Ogle are ranked first in the nation – the second time in as many years that Stratford debaters have earned the top spot.

The win at St. Mark’s was the first in school history, and Sanjeev was named first speaker out of 160 participants.

“I was really glad that all of our hard work paid off,” said Sanjeev, who is a senior.

The win qualified the team for a return bid to the Tournament of Champions, debate’s equivalent of the national championship, which will be held at the University of Kentucky in the spring.

The team’s victory also propelled Sanjeev and Ogle – a sophomore who replaced veteran debater Andrew Jones, who graduated last year and is now debating at Emory – back to the top of the national rankings after entering the season in the 4th slot.

“It’s stressful. It’s a lot of work even within the class itself. You have to think really quickly, and talk even faster. There’s a lot of information. You have to stay organized and make smart arguments, which is difficult when you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. A lot of what goes into the round is the prep before,” Ogle said. “A week before the tournament we probably spend four hours a day preparing.”

Although Ogle has earned his stripes, the team has much work left to do.  Stratford is separated by just .2 points from 2nd-ranked Centennial in the latest poll, and 1.1 points from 3rd-place St. Mark’s.

Correction (Nov. 21, 2013): Due to an editing error, the original version of this story incorrectly stated that Andrew Jones was on a full debate scholarship to Emory.