1st and 2nd Year National Championships at Woodward Academy
The purpose of our tournament is to provide first- and second-year high school debaters with a national championship event.
We understand that different regions of the country have different definitions of "novice" and "JV" debate and that the quantity and quality of middle school debate varies widely from region-to-region. We are trying our best make our tournament as appealing as possible to as many schools as possible. We welcome feedback about how we might continue to refine policies for future iterations of the tournament.
Addendum for 2023: We also realize that "middle school" level debate has strengthened significantly in some regions in the last few years while other areas do not have any in-person access to these divisions. If middle school debate divisions are unavailable in your region, and you have students who competed in a single season in "novice" divisions of high school debate as middle school students, please email email@example.com so she can assess your situation. You must email Maggie in advance — students who have not been approved in advance will still be removed from the tournament.
1. A first year debater is defined as a debater in their first year of high school debate competition. If they debated at a high school tournament prior to this current school year, they are no longer first year debaters.
2. A second year debater is defined as a debater in their second year of high school debate competition. If they debated at a high school tournament prior to the 2021-2022 season, they are not eligible for the second year division.
Please ask us if you have any questions or need to check on a specific scenario. We’d be much happier to discuss a specific situation in advance than to have to remove your competitor(s) from the tournament. The following are some questions we have received in the past.
What if my debater competed in a previous year in a different event than the one in which they are entering?
They are eligible to debate in the second year division but not in the first year division.
Clarification: "Event" for our purposes is a debate event—Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Congressional Debate, or any other event classified as "Debate" by the NSDA. Individual Events (Duo Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking, etc.) do not affect students' eligibility for our Debate tournament.
What if my debater competed for two or more years in a different event than the one in which they are entering?
They are not eligible to debate at the First and Second Year National Championships.
What if my debater is an 11th grader but started debating as a sophomore?
They are eligible to debate in the Second Year division.
What if my debater attended middle school debate tournaments or competed in middle school-only divisions? Does this impact eligibility for your tournament?
Participation in middle school debate tournaments or middle school-only divisions does not impact eligibility.
What if my debater attended high school tournaments as a middle school student? Does this impact eligibility for your tournament?
Generally yes, subject to the "2023 Addendum" above. Participation in high school debate tournaments limits eligibility no matter the age of the student at the time of participation. Email Maggie immediately if you have questions or would like to apply for an exemption.
What if my debater only attended one high school tournament in a previous year?
Your debater is eligible to debate in the Second Year division, as it is his/her second year of debate competition.
What if my debater went to a middle school debate camp? Does that impact eligibility?
Participation in middle school debate institutes does not impact eligibility.
What if my debater went to a high school camp before their first year in high school debate competition? Does that impact eligibility?
Participation in high school debate institutes does not impact eligibility.
What if my debater is in his/her second year of high school competition but attended the Second Year National Championship last year as a first year debater? Can he/she still compete in Second Year again this year?
Yes. As long as your student is in his/her second year of high school debate, previous attendance at the Second Year National Championship does not impact eligibility.
What if my debater is in his/her first year of high school competition but is debating with a second year debater? Can they debate in the First Year division?
No, they can debate in the Second Year division only, as one of the two debaters is only eligible for Second Year. However, as explained above, the first year partner may also debate in the Second Year division again next year.
What if my debater debated two years ago, then took a year off? Can they debate in the Second Year division?
Email Maggie the details of the situation, but tentatively yes.