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The Monmouth University Debate Hawks received six trophies at the Rutgers University Tournament held November 16 to 18.  The tournament included teams from many colleges and universities including Boston College, West Point Military Academy, New York University, and West Virginia University.

The Monmouth University (MU) teams of 1) Michelle Grushko and Katelyn Nawoyski; 2) Mark Cosentino and Lianne Kulik; and 3) Ashley Medina and Saliha Younas earned trophies by making it into the playoff rounds on Sunday after recording a 4-2 record during the six preliminary rounds debated on Friday and Saturday, and two teams made it into the quarterfinal elimination round (final eight).  MU debaters also took three of the top ten individual speaking awards at the tournament, with Michelle Grushko earning a 3rd place speaking award, Saliha Younas taking a 7th place award, and Kelly Craig earning a 9th place speaking award. 

In total, sixteen MU students scored impressive victories at the tournament, including Kelly Craig and Sam Maynard, Frank D’Amore and Trevor Higginson, Dan Roman and Jennifer Sime, Jacquelyn Corsentino and Jessica Roberts, and Elizabeth Anderson and Dylan Maynard and the six students referenced above. 

Each year, a topic is picked to be debated at every tournament.  The topic for this year is Resolved: The United States Federal Government Should Substantially Reduce Restrictions on and/or Substantially Increase Financial Incentives for Energy Production in the United States of One or More of the Following: Coal, Crude Oil, Nuclear Power, Natural Gas, Solar Power, and Wind Power.  The Debate Hawks organized and wrote a case on subsidizing nuclear power generated from thorium, rather than uranium, arguing thorium has three advantages over uranium in that it cannot be weaponized, doesn’t lead to meltdowns like in Fukushima Japan, and isn’t mined on Native American lands.  There are six preliminary rounds, each lasting approximately two hours, and each team of two students argues on the affirmative in three rounds and on the negative for three rounds.  Teams that compile a winning record in the preliminary rounds go on to the playoff rounds on Sunday. 

The Debate Hawks would also like to thank MU alums and former debaters Brandon Karkovice and Arielle Giordano for helping to coach the team this weekend. 

Please contact Dr. Joseph Patten ( for more information.