Evanston, IL –

(September 26th, 2021) Northwestern University hosted the Northwestern University Season Opener on September 17-20. This year’s debate tournament featured one hundred and forty-three entries from forty-one different colleges. Undergraduate students competed across three divisions based on experience levels Novice, Junior Varsity and Open.

The event featured six preliminary rounds of competition on the topic “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase prohibitions on anticompetitive business practices by the private sector by at least expanding the scope of its core antitrust laws”. Followed by a single elimination tournament where the top forty-eight Open teams along with the top eleven Novice and Junior Varsity teams advanced to a single elimination bracket.

In the Open division, the Semifinals featured teams from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Michigan and Northwestern University. The final Round saw a split decision in which the University of Michigan’s Rafael Pierry & Giorgio Rabbini were defeated by Northwestern University’s Akash Deo & Nina Fridman. The top speaker of the Open division was Natalie Robinson from Liberty University.

In the Junior Varsity division, the Semifinals featured teams from Liberty University, the University of Michigan, Missouri State University, and Wichita State University. The Final Round featured a split decision where Wichita State University’s Miguel Chavez & Fletcher Hummingbird were defeated by Missouri State’s Maverick Lewis & Megan Petersen. The top speaker of the division was Jessica Hsu from the University of Michigan.

In the Novice division, the Semifinals featured teams two teams from the University of Houston, one from Liberty University, and one from Samford University. The Final Round saw a 3-0 victory for Houston University’s Kayla Fries & Nine Abad over Samford University’s Grace Blackwell & Abigail McKibben. The top speaker of the Novice Division was Jenna Goodrich from the University of Houston.

The tournament provided students over thirty-five thousand minutes of speaking time, allowing students to build skills in critical thinking, understanding of evidence, issue framing, anticipating objections and research. Collegiate students were given the opportunity to get feedback from one hundred sixty-four experts in debate to hone those skills.

A special congratulations to Dan Fitzmier the Director of Debate at Northwestern University and the entire staff for successfully managing the dual tasks of hosting and competing. The success they were able to achieve at both are a testament to the quality of their students and staff.


Cross Examination Debate Association was founded in 1971. CEDA is currently responsible for formulating the annual intercollegiate policy debate topic used in tournament competition throughout the nation. Throughout the season, CEDA calculates National Sweepstakes Standings, the national and regional rankings of member institutions based on compiled tournament results.