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Barlow Debate Team Aims for Fourth State Title

EASTON, Conn. – Several students from Joel Barlow High School’s debate team earned a shot at a fourth state championship after a better than stellar performance during last weekend’s fifth annual home tournament.

The students debated whether the United States should imitate Britain by subsidizing microgeneration, a host of green energy technologies that include solar, wind, geothermal and fuel cells set up on residential and small commercial properties. A total of 17 other public, private and parochial high schools joined Barlow at the tournament.

Seniors David Kang and Matt DiPalma along with juniors Cormac Cummiskey and Cooper D'Agostino swept every opponent they faced in three straight rounds. Ben Lewson, the team's economics expert, was the fourth-place varsity speaker and Cummiskey earned a fifth-place finish.

Similar high-scoring debating was seen across the varsity roster as Barlow students represented a third of the top 25 speakers. Another six Barlow debaters finished among the top 25 varsity, including sophomore Ted Hancock in 12th, senior David Kang in 13th and senior Alex Cheu in 18th, juniors Nicolo Marzaro in 20th and Brendan Coppinger in 22nd, and first-time junior Brynn Gilchrist in 24th.

Also having a perfect record for the day were novice first-time debaters sophomores Christoph Dow and Craig Raskin. Altogether, 13 Barlow students are heading to the state finals in March, just one shy of last year at the end of their third championship season. With three regular-season events still to come, hopes are high that the team record may be broken in 2012.

Novices, who had a slow start to the season, showed great improvement. Senior co-captains and reigning state champions Henry Knight and Sam Torchio opted not to debate so they could focus on mentoring and training others. That resulted in improvement across the board, with all novices, including Dow and Raskin, doing much better.

Five Barlow students finished among the top novice speakers, including Raskin in 10th, Harrison vonDwingelo in 12th, Hunter Lightman in 17th, Sam Aldershof in 19th and sophomore David Freeman in 20th.

Freeman along with his partner, first-time sophomore John Colasante, were 2-1 for the day. Freshman Brooke Curto picked up her first two wins, and in one round bested her partner, Hunter Lightman, who went undefeated last month in New Canaan. Sophomore Carl Goldstein earned his first win in round three.

Barlow has three tournaments in January including events at New Canaan, Loomis Chaffee and Kingswood-Oxford.

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