A Survey of the Elimination Rounds at the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational

How is the water resources protection topic going? Is it a good topic? What are the most common affirmative and negative arguments? What affirmative and negative strategies have been most successful? By late October, we can start to answer these questions with more confidence.

To help figure out the answers, I like to survey the elimination rounds at major national circuit tournaments. Doing so can reveal helpful information about how the topic is being interpreted, which (if any) affirmative cases are most common, which negative arguments are most popular, and whether there is a significant affirmative or negative side bias.

For each elimination round, my review includes the 1AC (plan text and advantage names), a list of 1NC off-case arguments (including a numerical breakdown by argument type), and the argument(s) extended in the 2NR. The process of compiling this information helps me get a better sense of what happened at the tournament because it forces me to review all of the elimination round speech documents. Doing so helps me identify information that will be helpful when preparing for future tournaments: argument trends, common arguments, unique/new arguments, teams’ tendencies, evidence to reproduce, holes in our preparation, etc. The process is time consuming, but I think it is time well spent.

In this post, I will share my survey of the elimination rounds at the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational. You are encouraged to repeat this process on your own for other major tournaments and for tournaments in your region/circuit.

For now, I won’t share any conclusions; I’ll save that for a future post or podcast episode.

Side Balance

At St. Mark’s, affirmative and negative teams won a relatively equal share of the elimination rounds. Affirmative teams were 11-13 overall, including 4-5 in double-octafinals, 5-3 in octafinals, 0-4 in quarterfinals, 2-0 in semifinals, and 0-1 in finals.

This is comparable to other major tournaments so far in October:

  • At Heritage Hall, affirmative teams were 6-9 in elimination rounds, including 3-5 in octafinals, 2-2 in quarterfinals, 1-1 in semifinals, and 0-1 in finals.
  • At New Trier, affirmative teams were 15-12 in elimination rounds, including 11-2 in double-octafinals, 2-6 in octafinals, 1-3 in quarterfinals, 1-0 in semifinals, and 0-1 in finals.
  • At Bronx Science, affirmative teams were 7-7 in elimination rounds, including 3-4 in octafinals, 2-2 in quarterfinals, 1-1 in semifinals, and 1-0 in finals.

At these four tournaments, affirmative teams finished a combined 39-41 (.487) in elimination rounds.


Finals

Montgomery Bell CP (negative) d. New Trier JW

1AC: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States by clarifying the decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

Advantages: Groundwater, Federalism

1NC (6 off — 1 T, 2 DA, 2 CP, 1 K): Court Politics DA (Roe v. Wade impact), Topicality Protection (Cessation of Use), EPA Tradeoff DA (chemical pollution impact), States CP (several planks), Psychoanalysis Kritik, Advantage CP (prohibit groundwater pollution; unevidenced), case (including federalism turn)

2NR: Federalism Turn, States CP


Semifinals

Montgomery Bell CP (affirmative) d. Gunn SV

1AC: UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Advantages: Environmental Protection, International Credibility

1NC (7 off — 3 T, 2 DA, 2 CP): Topicality Substantial (across the board), Topicality Protection (direct management or monitoring), Topicality Water Resources (excludes oceans), EPA Tradeoff DA (PFAS impact), Advantage CP (three planks), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (infrastructure good impact), State Standing CP (internal Carbon Capture and Storage good net-benefit), case

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, case

New Trier JW (affirmative) d. Lawrence Free State MR

1AC: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States by clarifying the decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

Advantages: Groundwater, Federalism

1NC (6 off — 1 T, 2 DA, 2 CP, 1 K): Capitalism Kritik, Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Oil Good DA (Middle East and Russia impacts), Limited Constitutional Convention CP, Advantage CP (ten planks), Court Politics DA (reproductive rights impact), case

2NR: Oil Good DA, Advantage CP


Quarterfinals

Montgomery Bell CP (negative) d. Calvert Hall LS

1AC: Fracking

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources impacted by hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

Advantages: Regulation, Federalism, Energy

1NC (6 off — 1 T, 3 DA, 2 CP): Business Confidence DA (economy impact), Advantage CP (four planks), Federalism DA (opioid crisis impact), States CP (several planks), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (China impact), Topicality Protection (cessation of use), case

2NR: Business Confidence DA, Advantage CP

Lawrence Free State MR (negative) d. Westminster SY

1AC: CAFOs

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its pre-discharge permitting and monitoring of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the United States because doing so furthers the purposes of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Advantages: Water Pollution, Agriculture, Precedent

1NC (7 off — 1 T, 3 DA, 2 CP, 1 K): Capitalism Kritik, Topicality Protection (cessation of use), States CP (several planks), Limited Constitutional Convention CP, EPA Tradeoff DA (environmental crimes impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (China impact), Court Politics DA (reproductive rights impact), case

2NR: Court Politics DA, States CP

New Trier JW (negative) d. Montgomery Bell HM

1AC: UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Advantages: Environmental Protection, International Credibility

1NC (6 off — 2 T, 2 DA, 1 CP, 1 K): Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Topicality Water Resources (excludes oceans), Settler Colonialism Kritik, National Environmental Policy Act CP (internal NEPA good net-benefit), Business Confidence DA (economy impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (China impact), case

2NR: Topicality Water Resources (excludes oceans)

Gunn SV (negative) d. St. Mark’s BC

1AC: Right To Water

Plan: The United States federal government should regulate water pollution in the United States by recognizing and ensuring the right to clean water as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Advantages: Water Quality, International Water Leadership

1NC (7 off — 2 T, 3 DA, 1 CP, 1 K): Topicality Substantially (across the board), Topicality Protection (cessation of use), States CP (several planks), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (infrastructure impact), Court Politics DA (reproductive freedom/overpopulation impact), Court Clog DA (patent innovation impact), Settler Colonialism Kritik, case

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, case


Octafinals

Montgomery Bell CP (affirmative) d. Carrollton Sacred Heart FP

1AC: UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Advantages: Environmental Protection, International Credibility

1NC (4 off — 2 T, 1 DA, 1 CP): Topicality Water Resources (excludes oceans), Topicality Protection (unknown), Advantage CP, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (warming impact), case (including Russia turn) [***may be inaccurate — no negative wiki entry***]

2NR: Russia Turn, Advantage CP

Lawrence Free State MR (negative) d. Woodward GH

1AC: Lower Snake River Dams

Plan: The United States federal government should remove the Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite dams.

Advantages: Cultural Genocide

1NC (6 off — 2 T, 2 DA, 2 CP): Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (China impact), Washington Section 401 Regulations CP, Topicality Substantially (across the board), Topicality Protection (regulation of use or development), ExxonMobil Illegally Remove The Dams CP, Agriculture DA (great power wars impact), case

2NR: Topicality Substantially

New Trier JW (affirmative) d. Washburn Rural DJ

1AC: Fracking

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources impacted by hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

Advantages: Regulation, Federalism

1NC (7 off — 1 Procedural, 2 DA, 3 CP): Vagueness, Business Confidence DA (economy impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (warming impact), Advantage CP (WOTUS significant nexus test), Courts CP (ban fracking under the public trust doctrine), States CP (several planks), case

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, Courts CP

Gunn SV (negative) d. Kinkaid FZ

1AC: Tribal Water Quality Standards

Plan: the UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE PROTECTION OF TRIBAL WATER RESOURCES BY AMENDING THE CLEAN WATER ACT TO INCLUDE SOVEREIGN TRIBAL WATER PROTECTIONS STANDARDS

Advantages: Settler Colonial Hydro-Violence, Water

1NC (8 off — 3 T, 2 DA, 2 CP, 1 K): Topicality Substantially (across the board), Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Topicality Its (excludes devolution to tribes), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (infrastructure impact), EPA Tradeoff DA (PFAS impact), States CP (several planks including a threat of non-cooperation if the federal government does not enact the plan; internal uncooperative federalism good net-benefit), Privatization CP (internal cyberattacks net-benefit), Settler Colonialism Kritik, case

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, case

St. Mark’s BC (affirmative) d. Coppell CP

1AC: Right To Water

Plan: The United States federal government should regulate water pollution in the United States by recognizing and ensuring the right to clean water as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Advantages: Water Quality, International Water Leadership

1NC: unknown [*** no negative wiki entry ***]

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid impact), case

Montgomery Bell HM (negative) d. Glenbrook North BG

1AC: Synthetic Microbial Bioremediators

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States in accordance with an adaptive precautionary risk assessment model developed in collaboration with global stakeholders for research and development of synthetic microbial bioremediators.

Advantages: Overregulation, Underregulation

1NC (6 off — 2 T, 3 DA, 1 CP): Topicality Its (exclusively USFG), Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Exclude Precautionary Principle CP, Biotechnology Innovation Good DA (warfighting impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid/cyberattacks impact), Biden Diplomatic Capital Good DA (Ethiopian instability impact), case

2NR: Biotechnology Innovation Good DA, Exclude Precautionary Principle CP

Westminster SY (affirmative) d. Peninsula LY

1AC: CAFOs

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its pre-discharge permitting and monitoring of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the United States because doing so furthers the purposes of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Advantages: Water Pollution, Agriculture, Precedent

1NC (7 off — 1 T, 3 DA, 3 CP): Topicality Protection (regulation of use or development), Advantage CP (three planks; internal public trust doctrine bad net-benefit), Deregulation CP, Business Confidence DA (economy impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid impact), Political Question Doctrine DA (presidential power impact), States CP, case

2NR: Advantage CP with Public Trust Doctrine Bad internal net-benefit

Calvert Hall LS (affirmative) d. Shawnee Mission South BH

1AC: Fracking

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States by banning the use of water in hydraulic fracturing.

Advantages: Regulation, Federalism

1NC (1 off — 1 K): King (The Black Shoals) Kritik, case

2NR: King Kritik, case


Double-Octafinals

Shawnee Mission South BH (affirmative) d. Westwood CC

1AC: Wake Work

1AC Open Source Doc

1NC: unknown [*** no negative wiki entry ***]

2NR: unknown [*** no negative wiki entry ***]

Calvert Hall LS (affirmative) d. Winston Churchill BS

1AC: Fracking

Plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources impacted by hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

Advantages: Regulation, Federalism, Energy

1NC (: Topicality Protection (pollution), States CP, Capitalism Kritik, Business Confidence DA, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, Energy DA, case [***may be inaccurate — no negative wiki entry ***]

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, States CP

Peninsula LY (negative) d. Carrollton Sacred Heart BC

1AC: WOTUS

Plan: The United States federal government should reinstate the Clean Water Rule definition of Waters of the United States on the grounds that agencies failed to consider relevant scientific evidence when adopting the Repeal Rule.

Advantages: Water, APA

1NC (9 off — 1 T, 3 DA, 4 CP, 1 K): Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Deregulation CP, Constitutional Convention CP, States CP, APA Advantage CP, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid impact), Public Trust Doctrine Bad DA (economy impact), Capitalism Kritik, Business Confidence DA (economy impact), case

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, APA Advantage CP, States CP

Montgomery Bell HM (negative) d. St. Mark’s BG

1AC: Right To Water

Plan: The United States federal government should regulate water pollution in the United States by recognizing and ensuring the right to clean water as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Advantages: Water Quality, International Water Leadership

1NC (5 off — 1 T, 2 DA, 1 CP, 1 K): Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid/cyberattacks impact), Positive Rights CP (internal Lochnerism bad net-benefit), Federalism DA (climate impact), Eco-Managerialism Kritik, case (including U.S. leadership bad)

2NR: Federalism DA, case

Coppell CP (negative) d. Damien DL

1AC: Dome of the Rock

[*** no affirmative wiki entry ***]

1NC (2 off — 1 T, 1 K): Topicality USFG, Capitalism Kritik, case

2NR: Topicality USFG

Kinkaid FZ (affirmative) d. Blue Valley Southwest CS

1AC: Tribal Water Quality Standards

Plan: the UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE PROTECTION OF TRIBAL WATER RESOURCES BY AMENDING THE CLEAN WATER ACT TO INCLUDE SOVEREIGN TRIBAL WATER PROTECTIONS STANDARDS

Advantages: Settler Colonial Hydro-Violence, Water

1NC (6 off — 2 T, 2 DA, 2 CP): Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Topicality Increase, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, EPA Tradeoff DA, Guidance CP, Commissions CP, case (including Noble Savage turn)

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, Guidance CP

Washburn Rural DJ (negative) d. Woodward LT

1AC: Lower Snake River Dams

Plan: The United States federal government should remove the Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite dams.

Advantages: Cultural Genocide

1NC (7 off — 1 T, 2 DA, 3 CP, 1 K): Topicality Substantially (across the board), Settler Colonialism Kritik, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (climate impact), Washington Regulations CP, Dam Reforms CP, Business Confidence DA (economy impact), Advantage CP (wetlands construction), case

2NR: Topicality Substantially

Woodward GH (negative) d. Notre Dame GU

1AC: WOTUS

Plan: The United States federal government should determine the significant nexus test is broadly applicable for defining “Waters of the United States” in the United States.

Advantages: Wetlands, Federalism

1NC (4 off — 1 T, 1 DA, 1 CP, 1 K): Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Advantage CP (eight planks), Settler Colonialism Kritik, Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (climate impact), case (including Federalism turn)

2NR: Biden Agenda Good Politics DA, Advantage CP

Carrollton Sacred Heart FP (affirmative) d. Montgomery Bell GY

1AC: WOTUS

Plan: The United States federal government should reinstate the Clean Water Rule definition of Waters of the United States on the grounds that agencies failed to consider relevant scientific evidence when adopting the Repeal Rule.

Advantages: Water, APA

1NC (9 off — 1 T, 5 DA, 3 CP): Business Confidence DA (economy impact), States CP (several planks), Strike Down Without Changing WOTUS Definition CP, Guidance CP (internal AI net-benefit), Topicality Protection (cessation of use), Court Politics DA (reproductive rights impact), EPA Tradeoff DA (chemical pollution impact), Biden Agenda Good Politics DA (grid/cyberattacks impact), Federalism DA (opioid crisis impact), case

2NR: Business Confidence DA, case


Note: I completed this survey on October 19th and 20th, 2021. Information that was unavailable at that time may have later become available. In general, I was impressed with the comprehensiveness and quality of the disclosure information from this tournament.