Local man almost eaten by angry nerds: The Berkeley Debate Trip

Trevor Schwab

More stories from Trevor Schwab


When most people think of debate, the last things they’d expect are typically:

Exposing Chinese National secrets

Almost eating Bowen Libby

Donner Party (The Sequel)

Bahrain (The country, look it up)

and Plump Turkeys

The debate team went to CAL Berkeley for their out of state trip this year, and as it typically goes with this group of hooligans debating would be the least exciting thing to happen. Starting from the top, in order to get across two states the team would have to take a cross country bus to San Francisco California, and everything was smooth sailing for the first 8 hours or so, but mother nature is a cruel mistress. At about 3:30 in the morning outside of Reno the bus had to stop in a blizzard in an attempt to wait out the storm and drive through Donner Pass, this would delay the team for around 8 hours, and in Reno Nevada during a blizzard. If Las Vegas is the Olympic torch, Reno is a garbage fire behind an Arby’s. The team was forced to hang out in a gas station named “Gas Station ” as they lived off of slim jims and microwaved sandwiches for the ensuing time. Eventually they were on their way, and although there were many people saying they would eat Bowen (and many were dead serious), the team made it to Emeryville California unscathed.

When they arrived at CAL Berkeley the team competed in their individual first rounds, but with four hours until their next debate, they were free to explore campus. Many members explored the surrounding areas shops, restaurants, bakeries and desert parlors. Some explored campus, walking or renting bikes to see why Berkeley was such a big deal. Others went into the bell tower, from the top one could see all the way out to the ocean, a straight-line look at the Golden Gate bridge rising in the distance. When the time came everyone went their separate ways and competed in their second rounds, after which the team got dinner. After dinner everyone competed for the third and final time that day, then went back to the hotel. The second day saw almost the same schedule, Davis continued to be a dark horse competitor in a tournament typically dominated by purebred high skill debate schools.

The third day saw the majority of the team travel to San Francisco to explore the city for the day, while a few continued to advance in the tournament. Trevor Schwab and Bryn Montierith were the only undefeated debaters in the preliminary rounds of Junior Varsity LD out of 149 competitors. Sugar Santillian also advanced in JV LD. Sam Copa and Meilani Downs were the only Davis PF team that competed on Monday, also advancing. While the rest of the team frolicked around San Francisco, Schwab and Montierith continued their push further and further to the top of JV LD. Santillian made it to the double Octo-Finals round of JV LD, as did Copa and Downs in JV PF. As Ethan Adler was considering whether or not to buy a $6,000 Salvidor Dali painting, the remaining two competitors would face their hardest rounds yet. Trevor Schwab made it to the semi-finals rounds and placed third overall, and Bryn Montierith would end up making it to the quarter-finals round, placing fifth.

At 6:00 PM the bus arrived at Berkeley to pick up the remaining students, and they were on their way back home.

The final placings for the tournament are listed below:

Trevor Schwab: 3rd place JV LD

Bryn Montierith: 5th place JV LD

Sugar Santillian: Octo-Finalist JV LD

Sam Copa and Meilani Downs: Octo-Finalist JV PF

Ella Nebeker and Lexi Smith: Octo-Finalist JV PF