Central hosts first debate tournament in 15 years

Omaha Central recently held the Seth Rich Memorial Tournament, a debate event Jan. 28.

The event marks a near 15-year absence from hosting a debate event following the recent revitalization of the team.

Beginning at 8:00 a.m. 13 schools from around Nebraska began to compete in five rounds of Lincoln-Douglas debate, five rounds of Policy debate, and two rounds of Congressional debate.

Central’s Debate Coach Andrew Ruchti was proud the school was able to host a debate event after not having done so in such a significant amount of time. Despite the many problems that could have arose in gathering so many schools, the event went exactly as planned. “It was very successful. Some said it was the best tournament that has been held all year,” Ruchti said.

Ruchti named the event after Seth Rich, a Central alumnus. Rich was murdered in 2016, and there was a conspiracy theory surrounding the circumstances of the crime. Since debaters do a lot of research and evaluation of sources, the event celebrated becoming better consumers of information.

Central’s own team had success in the tournament, with standout students Nyah Moore placing fifth and Charlie Yale placing second in Congressional debate. Yale, the captain of the debate team, led the team in the Congressional rounds. Having had successful results overall left Yale gratified with the team.

“It’s amazing to see my teammates having a good time and succeeding at something they enjoy,” Yale said.

Yale was excited to compete at Central against opponents that he recognized. Despite the fact he wasn’t able to win the entire event, he was glad to be able to represent the spirit of Central debate within the school.

“I really wanted to win this one to show that we can debate with the best of them even though we haven’t had a team for so many years,” he said.

Ruchti plans on holding the event again next year as well.

“It’s going to be even better, it’s going to be even bigger, and hopefully we’re going to have more debaters that participate there,” he said.