The National Debate Coaches’ Association will honor this year’s David P. Baker Award For Season Long Excellence winner later this month at the NDCA Championships. The Baker Award—now in its fifth year—is given to the policy debate team attending the NDCA Championships that has accumulated the highest point total over the course of the season using the tournament’s qualifying formula.
Based on their performance over the course of the 2009-2010 season, this year’s winner will be Glenbrook South High School’s Richard Day and Will Thibeau. With more than 1,680 points, Glenbrook South has more than 100 points more than the second place team from Westminster. The unofficial top ten list includes the following teams:
- Glenbrook South—Richard Day & Will Thibeau, 1683.3
- Westminster—Ellis Allen & Daniel Taylor, 1563.9
- Kinkaid—Nikhil Bontha & Layne Kirshon, 1497.8
- Bronx Science—Zach Elias & Andrew Markoff, 1456.5
- Glenbrook North—Flynn Makuch & Alex Pappas, 1441.2
- Westlake—John Baker & David Mullins, 1415.7
- Woodward—Matthew Pesce & Max Plithides, 1400.9
- Damien—Reid Ehrlich-Quinn & Pablo Gannon, 1390.4
- Whitney Young—Misael Gonzalez & Kevin Hirn, 1360.6
- McDonogh—Patrick Butler & Alex Resar, 1274.8
GBS joins previous winners from Westminster (twice), Colleyville Heritage, and Georgetown Day.
- 2008-2009: Westminster (Rajesh Jegadeesh & Anshu Sathian) – 1956.7
- 2007-2008: Colleyville Heritage (Evan DeFilippis & James Hamraie) – 1552.0
- 2006-2007: Westminster (Anshu Sathian & Stephen Weil) – 1896.0
- 2005-2006: Georgetown Day (Zach Beauchamp & James Brockway) – n/a
Richard and Will were able to capture this year’s Baker Award largely on the basis of their unmatched second semester performances. Glenbrook South racked up maximum point performances at both Emory and Harvard, netting them 460 points apiece—a single-tournament total matched only by Westlake at The Glenbrooks. Their other top-five point totals came at Blake (320), MBA (230—the maximum total possible at this hyper-competitive tournament), and Michigan (213.3).
Westminster nearly made it three Baker Awards in the last five years but came up just short of GBS. The two teams met in the final round of the Barkley Forum at Emory University and the result was ultimately decisive: if Westminster had defeated GBS, the Wildcats would have won the Baker and the Titans would have finished second.
There was speculation at the time that the final round of the Harvard Invitational also had significant Baker Award implications, but it turns out that Glenbrook South had already sealed the title when Westminster bowed out in the quarterfinals to Woodward. Had Bronx Science defeated Glenbrook South instead of the other way around, GBS would nonetheless have finished the season with 1583.3 points—barely enough to eek out the win over Westminster (1563.9) and Bronx Science (1542.2).
If Westminster would have bested Woodward in the quarters, however, all bets would have been off and the semifinals debate between Bronx and Westminster would have determined the Baker Award. Had Westminster won and debated Glenbrook South in the finals, the winner would have won the Baker. Because Westminster lost, it was the win in the semifinals over Whitney Young and not the win in finals over Bronx that secured the Baker Award for Richard and Will.
Want to check my math? The spreadsheet that was used to crunch the numbers is available on Google Docs; in particular, please take a look and make sure that tournaments were not omitted, tournament information is correct (number of teams and number of states), and formulas/totals are accurate. If you find something that looks wrong, please post a comment or email Bill Batterman.