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Monmouth’s Debate Team Wins Multiple Awards at West Point Contest

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — The Monmouth University debate team won two team and three individual speaking awards at the West Point Debate Tournament held Oct. 28-30, 2017 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Monmouth University Debate Team Wins at West Point

Monmouth University’s Debate Hawks gather after their impressive showing at the West Point Debate Tournament.

The Monmouth teams of Landon Myers and Chase Petras and Eric Schwartz and Matthew Cohen made it into the elimination rounds after winning five of the eight preliminary rounds, each lasting approximately two hours, with each two-person team arguing on the affirmative in four rounds and on the negative for four rounds. Only teams that compiled a winning record in the preliminary rounds made it into the next phase of the tournament.

Three Monmouth students also received top speaking awards in a division of 60 debaters: Alexis Vasquez (5th place), Landon Myers (6th place) and Matthew Cohen (10th place).

Sixteen Monmouth debaters competed in the tournament and all teams scored impressive victories against strong competition, according to Joseph Patten, associate professor of political science and Monmouth’s debate coach.

The Monmouth teams included Gregory Harpe and Kaitlin Allsopp (varsity division), Sabrina Saenger (co-captain) and Abdullah Rashid (varsity division), Landon Myers and Chase Petras, Eric Schwartz and Matthew Cohen, Sarah Bowers and Michael Scognomillo, Yendelli Bello and Nick Goranites, Alexis Vasquez and Alec Gullian, and Mandeline Doe and Claudia Dimondo.

Approximately 160 debaters from 16 universities participated in the tournament.

Team Members Help Coach High Schoolers

Members of the team remain busy researching and prepping when not actively competing and several members of the squad have taken on the additional roles of volunteering to assist coaching high school debaters.

Asbuty Park High School Debate Team

Asbury Park High School debaters after the New York City Urban Debate League Tournament earlier this month. The team is co-coached by Monmouth professor Joseph Patten, with assistance from members of the Monmouth debate team.

The debate team at Asbury Park High School was launched eight years ago as a part of a continuing debate mentoring program between the school and Monmouth University, which is made possible by a grant from the TD Bank Foundation and the support of the Asbury Park school district. Patten co-coaches the team with Asbury Park English teacher Christine DeMarsico.

Earlier this month, the Asbury Park team of E’niyah Preston and Christlie Lavarlin brought home the second place team award for their 3-0 winning record at the Urban Debate League tournament in New York City. Five two-person teams from Asbury Park High participated in the tournament with three Asbury debaters — Preston, Lavarlin, and Deicie Vasquez — capturing top ten speaking awards.

Monmouth University debaters Chris Diolosa and Michael Scognomillo helped coach the Asbury Park teams at this tournament.

Debate is often cited as helping to catapult many urban students into successful careers, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has cited her involvement in debate while attending high school in the Bronx as one of the reasons for her success.

The Monmouth team will next compete in a tournament hosted by the university on Nov. 18-19.

For more information on the Monmouth University debate team, contact Dr. Patten at