Freshmen debaters sweep tournament

Danielle Kincs

Kristian Evans and Adam Bamonti have been known to bicker like siblings, and as the only freshmen on BSM’s debate team, they seemed to have taken up the roles as the younger brothers as well. However, on December 5, these two “younger brothers” proved that they were anything but the underdogs.

On December 4 and 5, Evans and Bamonti participated in The Minnesota Debate Teachers Association JV Novice State Tournament along with many other BSM debaters. “This is a special tournament to recognize first and second year debaters,” said coach Ms. Kari Koshiol, “it sponsors the best of JV and novice.” While the tournament is not an official state tournament as a part of the MSHSL, the tournament gathers together around 30 other teams from throughout the state to compete, marking the end of the year for the JV and Novice debaters.

Evans and Bamonti competed in Public Forum, a category in which two debaters work together as a team to prove their case. “There are two partners who [argue] one pro and one con of a specified topic,” said Bamonti, “[Our topic] was that teachers should be paid [based on merit][according to] student achievement.”

After nine rounds debating against other students from around the state––a time span of two days––Evans and Bamonti won 9-0, winning JV Novice State in Public Forum. In doing so, they beat teams other first-year teams, some of whom were upperclassmen. That Saturday, December 5, Evans and Bamonti started competing at 8 a.m. and were finished with their final round at 8:30 p.m. “It’s extra credit to be able to debate the last round,” said Ms. Koshiol of their long day. “The whole team got to watch, which was really cool.”

Having known each other from attending middle school together, Evans and Bamonti decided to join debate in order to compete as a team. A key aspect in succeeding in Public Forum is being able to work well together, a task that Evans and Bamonti excel at…most of the time. “We work well together [although] we’re polar opposites,” said Evans, “we do argue about some things since we’re both too stubborn.”

This is a well known fact amongst the debate team. “They are two people who work really well together [yet] argue all the time,” said Ms. Koshiol.

However, it may be because of their conflicting––or rather complementary––personalities that helps Evans and Bamonti do so well. “They work well together and have complementary personalities,” said coach Ms. Änna Overbo. “They each have their own personalities,” said Ms. Overbo, “their outfits don’t even match.” Kristian likes hockey so he often wears a hockey tie while Adam wears a sweater.

Unlike the novices of other schools’ debate teams, Evans and Bamonti are more independent. “What I love about Adam and Kristian is that some other Public Forum teams are more programmed what to say,” said Ms. Overbo. “[Adam and Kristian] write their own cases [with] their own words and their own ideas. They’re not written by the varsity [team].”

It is for this reason why many teams are too quick to underestimate them. However, Evans and Bamonti are both very confident. “They think well on their feet,” said Ms. Overbo, “they have good attitudes and hold their own.”

Like their different personalities, both Bamonti and Evans have different reasons for enjoying Debate. Inspired by his 8th grade humanities class, Adam Bamonti enjoys the pure argument. “I like being able to prove someone wrong and not necessarily humiliate them,” said Bamonti.

As for Kristian Evans, his goal is to someday make the world a better place. “There’s a lot of violence going on in the world right now,” said Evans. “It would be nice if we could be diplomatically discussing [issues] instead of acting violently.”

Although their season is now over, Evans and Bamonti continue to come to debate practices, to support the varsity team in preparation for their state tournament in January. It is this kind of devotion that earns Evans and Bamonti the respect of so many upperclassmen. Ms. Overbo jokes about how she would say “the cute prevails” after each round they won at the tournament, being that many would underestimate them only to be beaten. One upperclassmen even shook Bamonti’s hand after they won the final round, in his mind sure he was shaking hands with a future president.

Evans and Bamonti plan to continue debate throughout their high school career, continuing to work together, and it can be sure that they will have a lot of support. “I’m really happy they won,” said Ms. Overbo, “and the cute prevailed!”