Student debate teams from Fairmont Preparatory Academy competed at the 44th Annual Tournament of Champions held on the campus of the University of Kentucky, April 25-27. Known as one of the most difficult and prestigious debate competitions in the country, Fairmont had three entries among the 92 teams from 22 states competing in the Public Forum division with the team of Austin Kim and Nick Palmer finishing in the top 16 overall.
Seniors Kayla Bach & Jessica Chung
Seniors Nick Flores & Meeran Ismail
Sophomore Austin Kim & Junior Nick Palmer
Flores & Ismail impressed attendees by defeating the 2015 Yale Invitational Championship team from Hawken School in Ohio, finishing 2-5 at the tournament. Bach & Chung defeated the second ranked debate team in the nation from Princeton High School, New Jersey. Competing in their second Tournament of Champions, Bach & Chung repeated their 3-4 record from 2014. For the two senior teams, this was their last debate tournament representing Fairmont.
Kim & Palmer with a preliminary round record of 5-2, advanced to the elimination rounds as the 17th overall seed. In the first elimination round, Kim & Palmer defeated a duo from the Harker School in San Jose, who were the sixth-ranked team in the nation and defending champions of the University of California-Berkeley Invitational. Advancing to the octafinals (equivalent to the “sweet sixteen” in basketball), Kim & Palmer were ultimately defeated by the tournament’s top overall seed and eventual national finalist Ridge High School, New Jersey.
Their top-16 finish automatically qualified Kim & Palmer for the 2016 Tournament of Champions, and they will also represent Fairmont this June at the National Speech & Debate Association’s National Tournament in Dallas, Texas.