top of page


Three Debaters Qualify for Worlds

Three Debaters Qualify for Worlds

Three Debaters Qualify for Worlds


The team took first at the Stoneleigh Burnham Public Speaking tournament.

Contributing Writer

October 12, 2023

Emma Liu '26

The Hotchkiss Debate Team started off the year with wins at Roxbury Latin, Groton, and Stoneleigh Burnham. Three students — co-captain Meilan Antonucci ’24, Petr Berlizov ’24, and Isaiah Stephens ’25 — have already qualified for the World Championship in Canberra, Australia, which will take place in April 2024. 

The school’s debate team was undefeated the Debating Association of New England Independence Schools (DANEIS) last year and hopes to repeat that accomplishment this year. During the 2022-23 season, the team did not lose a single advanced parliamentary tournament and qualified all four advanced debaters (Jason Shan ’23, Benjamin Who ’24, Antonucci, and Berlizov) for the World Championships. Only a month into the 2023-24 school year, the team has already placed first overall at Groton, first at Stoneleigh, and second overall at Roxbury Latin. 

At Roxbury Latin, Stephens finished as the top advanced speaker. Stevens said, “Roxbury Latin was a very fulfilling experience. It was my second advanced tournament, and, given that I went up against two people who had qualified for Worlds, it was exhilarating to succeed.” 

Maadhavan Prasanna ’25 won his first advanced debate tournament at Groton and finished as the top advanced speaker. He said, “The tournament was nerve-racking at first, because I was concerned about everyone being more advanced. But I told myself that, in the end, it’s just about following the structure and staying organized with refutations. In the end, I actually appreciated that my competitors were all advanced, because that made it easier to follow their arguments and more fun to refute them.” 

On Sunday, October 1, the school won a public-speaking tournament at Stoneleigh Burnham, marking the team’s first win at this event for over a decade. Co-captains Antonucci and Who won first and second places respectively, and Antonucci qualified for the World Championship for the second year in a row. 

Most recently, the team has won St. Sebastian’s All Novice Tournament on October 8, after two weeks of intense preparation. This extended their win streak to three consecutive tournaments. Head Coach Mr. David Conti said, “My biggest hope for the season is that we can develop some new debaters and give our already-established debaters a chance to continue the success they’ve been having.” 

Antonucci said, “To everyone who wants to try debating, just show up. While it may seem intimidating to start and feel like you have to be good right away, that’s not the case. Even if you’re just watching, I promise you and you’ll learn something new.”

Emma Liu is a contributing writer for The Record.

November 16th

Read the latest issue of The Record as it appears in print.

The Latest

Our Picks

Debate Team Dominates Home Tournament in Historic Season

What Makes a Good All-School Speaker?

Where Does Our Trash Go?

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The Early Bird is Sleep Deprived

Conservation is Fashionable at Vintage Closet

Inside the College Recruitment Process with Committed Athletes

Renovations to Memorial Dorm Forces School to Adjust Rooming Plans

Courage Garden Unveiled During Emotional Ceremony

Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

More reads


Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

bottom of page