By: Alayna Smith
The Benicia High School debate team has been working tirelessly to develop strategies and prepare for competitions in the past few months. Their efforts have proven to be worthwhile, especially for Gabriel Stockwell (10) and Micheal Delgado (10). The two sophomores, both new to debate, have come together, and earned first place, suggesting a very promising future for the duo. The Cal Parli Debate Tournament was only their second competition, with participants taking part from as far as Connecticut, but the Benicia team took the competition by storm.
Stockwell and Delgado say that the win came as a shock to them as they had just barely made it to finals, filling in the eighth spot out of eight finalists. However, in the final rounds they surprised everyone, including themselves, making a full turn around and winning all seven rounds against their competitors. “Everytime they called our name [when announcing the winners] I was kind of stunned,” said Delgado.
They credit the win to both good coaches and a natural flow as teammates. “The other teams were much more experienced with the technicalities but overall we had a better flow. I guess our speaking styles just complement each other,” said Delgado. While the two don’t have a specific strategy in place, they both take on different roles in the debates. Delgado works to build their argument up, while Stockwell points out the flaws in the other teams’ arguments.
The duo was competing at a novice level, but after such a flawless success in the final rounds of the Cal Parli event, both members will move up to junior varsity which means they will face tougher opponents. When asked about how they feel about future competitions, Stockwell responded, “It’s definitely a level up. People will be using more strategic arguments. It’ll definitely be fun but I don’t expect to win very many competitions.” That being said, neither of the two were confident about winning before the competition, and yet they left with first place and a golden status.
I’m tempted to believe that they have a promising future. As a fellow debate team member said, “It makes sense that they’re moving up. They’ve been too good.”