Debate Union: Travel & Quilted Trophies?

I sat down with sophomore Miriam Kohn, linguistics major and vice president of the U of R Debate Union. She shared with me her experience in the club so far.


Debate team is my primary time commitment. Some weeks, it’s probably even more than my classes!

I wandered into the debate office by accident. My high school didn’t have a debate team, so it was something that was completely unfamiliar to me. I kind of thought, “maybe I should do this in college,” but then I thought, “maybe I’m going to get way too into it,” and, surprise… that’s what happened!

Overall, it’s a very positive experience, so I stick around. I work hard at debate. I’m a hard-working person in general. I enjoy reading things like Foucault. It’s probably hyperbolic to say I spend more time on it than my classes, but I certainly do spend a lot of time on it.

None of my trophies are shiny

Miriam Debate clubI was in the novice bracket last year. I was a real novice, unlike a lot of people on the circuit who walk in [with high school experience].

There are three formats of debate; Rochester does two. With one of them, Policy, you don’t have novice eligibility if you do it in high school. The format I do primarily is British Parliamentary, or Worlds. You get a lot of people who take the novice eligibility [for Worlds], who are really not novices. They could have done four years of high school British Parliamentary.

I’ve had a fair amount of success on the circuit with my partner; we won the novice bracket of regionals, novice finals at North American championships, and we were semi-finalists at Northwest regionals. They didn’t have trophies for the novices. I wanted hardware! There was one trophy which I took home from my first tournament freshman year, at SUNY Binghamton. That was a quilted trophy; not so shiny.

Traveling debate

We travel a lot of places, primarily up and down the Northeast. That’s where a lot of the most competitive tournaments are. Nationals for USU, that’s United States Universities, are in Alaska this year. We were just up in Toronto, on Mel weekend, because the University of Toronto debating society at Hart House always hosts a big, really well respected tournament there. They actually hosted North Americans last year.  We also we went to Europe last year!

The rule is the team won’t send you anywhere it can’t afford. If you get chosen to go, then the team pays your way, The team pays your transportation, your hotel fees, and your tournament entry fees. It includes a few meals a day. That way debate’s not just an activity for those who can afford it.

It’s free to join

We have a really, really big alumni base. There are lots of lawyers and doctors; a lot of them tend to do pretty well and they help support us. We also get very generous support from the school. It used to be the students’ association, now we’re part of the athletic department. We get more money, more support, and more infrastructures. It’s free travel; you just have to make it clear that you actually care.

To be chosen to travel to the most competitive tournaments you have to put in the time. There are some that everyone gets traveled to, like the one on Halloween weekend. And there are some of them that everyone wants to go to, like Europe, and Florida. We sent some folks to Miami for the Pan-American championships, for those, you have to work harder.

Pinky and The Brain

We joke around all the time, all the time: I think “irreverent” would have to be the first adjective I’d go with to describe us.

We give each other stupid nicknames, and there are lots of running jokes. For example, two of the assistant coaches have been trying to convince my partner and myself that we should go for Halloween to this tournament we’re having as Pinky and The Brain. Apparently I’m Pinky. I mean, I would like to take over the world, but that’s a separate issue!

It’s really a very relaxed atmosphere; debate draws in a nice crowd of people. The coaches are wonderful. They work very hard to make the program accessible to everyone. They’re willing to help anyone out that cares to get help from them. That sets the tone as very welcoming.

Whether it’s trying to take over the world, or discussing the latest hot-button issues, the Debate Union is among the U of R’s strongest student organizations, with meetings on Monday and Thursday nights at 7:00.

Lauren Bailey: Star Swimmer is a Shark in the Classroom

Lauren Bailey, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, was one of 10 University scholar-athletes recognized for their abilities “on the field” and in the classroom.

Bailey, from Ossining, NY, holds the University records for the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, and is a part of all the record-holding relay teams.

During the football team’s season opener, she and nine other athletes were presented Garnish Awards during a halftime ceremony. Bailey said she was nervous at first to go out to midfield and accept the award in front of the whole stadium of football fans. “It was definitely never-racking,” she said. “It was a huge honor though. My whole team came out to support me, which was really nice of them. It was super exciting!”

The Garnish Award program was created in honor of Lysle “Spike” Garnish, who consecutively served as an assistant coach for the University’s basketball, baseball, and football teams from 1930-1948.

According to the Athletic Department’s webpage, “Friends of Rochester Athletics, through an alumni committee, reviews nominations of students from varsity teams who have achieved at a high level in both their athletic and academic pursuits through their junior year. From these nominees, a small number are selected as Garnish Scholars.”

It’s definitely not easy

Bailey, who has a GPA of 3.87, says that balancing athletics and academics is “definitely not easy. But I think if you’re really passionate about both things—I really like chemical engineering, and I really like swimming—but I think it’s also about time management,” she said.

“For me, I do homework with a group of people or with my friends, so it makes it more enjoyable. Plus, I don’t really dread doing homework, so that definitely makes it easier to work with other people.”

During her senior year, Bailey says one of her goals is to have fun this season. “I’m really not going to put any pressure on myself,” she claimed. “I want to do well, obviously, but I also want to make sure that I’m really having fun. This is probably the last year I will swim competitively on a college team where we all share a common goal.”

Bailey’s best advice to student athletes? “Don’t stay up too late the night before you have practice in the morning.” According to her, “Mainly you’re here at the University to do well in school and succeed.”

Another important piece of advice Bailey offers is to prioritize, and “make sure to realize when you’re struggling to balance school and swimming, or school and any sport that you’re doing, because you don’t want your academics to slip. Don’t take on too much, though, because it can be a really rigorous schedule, and you want to make sure you have free time to enjoy yourself still,” she says.

In her time here at the U of R, Bailey has taken many classes, but the one in which she learned the most was the chemical engineering class, Reactor Design. Bailey says “It’s a really important class, because it has so many applications with so many jobs, and I think it’s really important to understanding what’s going on. It was definitely challenging, since we did a lot of coding with MatLab, and I’m not excellent at that.” Starting from the most basic reactors, the class covered many fundamental chemical engineering concepts.

This year, the senior says that instead of stressing about swimming times and tests, she wants to “have a good time, and make sure I’m getting done what I need to get done…but I’m definitely going to enjoy myself.”

As graduation gets closer, Bailey says she’ll start looking for chemical engineering positions, and at some point, she may consider getting an MBA.

By Joe Bailey and Monique Patenaude

‘Jackets Host Rowan Wed. in NCAA Playoffs

By Rochester Athletics

Rochester received its first-ever berth into the NCAA Division III field hockey playoffs and will host a first round game on Wednesday at 2 pm. The Yellowjackets will face Rowan University of the New Jersey State Athletic Conference.

The Liberty League received three bids to the 2012 championships, including two of the six available Pool C (at-large) bids. William Smith won the Pool A automatic berth by winning the Liberty League championship. The Herons defeated the Yellowjackets, 3-1, in Saturday’s title game. The other Pool C bid from the league went to Skidmore College. Rochester defeated Skidmore, 3-2, in overtime in the semifinals of the Liberty League playoffs last Thursday at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

The first round match between Rochester and Rowan will be played at Fauver Stadium at 2 pm. It is one of eight first-round matches scheduled for that day. The NCAA took 24 teams into its 2012 championship field. Seventeen teams received Pool A bids. Christopher Newport University earned the sole Pool B bid. Six squads received the Pool C invitations.

Tickets are priced at $6 for adults and $3 for students with ID. They can be purchased at Fauver Stadium beginning one hour before the game begins.

Rowan lost in the NJAC playoffs to Montclair State University. The Profs were 15-6. Rochester was 16-5 this year, setting a single-season record for victories. The winner of the Rochester-Rowan game advances to play Salisbury University in a four-team regional on Saturday at Salisbury. The other game in that regional matches second-seeded Montclair against the winner of the Christopher Newport-Gwynedd Mercy match (played Wednesday at Christopher Newport).

Winners of the four regionals will compete in the 2012 Final Four at William Smith College on November 17-18. The four regional hosts this year are Salisbury, third-seeded Mary Washington, fourth-seeded William Smith, and top-seeded Middlebury College.

Skidmore opens at home against Mass-Dartmouth on Wednesday. The winner advances to Middlebury to play the top-seeded Panthers.

Rochester had seven players selected for the All-Liberty League team this year. Freshman forward Michelle Relin was named the Liberty League Rookie of the Year. Head coach Wendy Andreatta and assistants Ashley Smeltzer and Alexis Vangellow were named the Coaching Staff of the Year. Rochester finished in a three-way tie for second place in the league with Skidmore and RPI.

Yellowjacket goaltender Madison Wagner ranked third in the NCAA Division III statistics in save percentage and 10th in goals-against average. She has allowed 21 goals this year (1.12 GAA), made 114 saves, and has a save percentage of .844.

The top scorers are senior Shelby Hall and freshman Relin, both with 17 goals and eight assists for 42 points. Junior Katie Flaschner has 10 goals and 5 assists for 25 points.

Rowan is making its 18th appearance in the national tournament, its first since 2009. The Profs won the 2002 national championship with a perfect 21-0 record. Rowan reached the semifinals in 1998 and 2000 and made six other appearances in the quarterfinals: 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008.

Nine different players have scored gamewinning goals for Rowan. Sophomores Jenna O’Sullivan and Karlee Henderson have three apiece. Sophomore Kellie Campbell tops the scoring chart with 18 goals, three assists for 39 points. Senior Erin Bernat is second in scoring with seven goals and six assists for 20 points. Junior Amy McKeever is third in scoring (6-6-18) and Henderson is fourth (6-4-16).

In goal, senior Jen Goldberg has a 1.40 GAA with 19 goals allowed, 62 saves, and a .765 save percentage. Junior Steph Colombo has a 2.41 GAA with 18 goals allowed, 57 saves, and a .760 save percentage.

Article and photos courtesy of Rochester Athletics. Read more about the field hockey team here.

Rochester Football Wins Home Opener

Rochester Athletics – Junior quarterback Dean Kennedy threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to lead the University of Rochester to a 17-7 victory over Thiel College at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

He finished 11 for 17 for 151 yards and the two scores. He ran 15 times for a net of 72 yards which included four sacks. Rochester finished with 306 yards in offense – 155 rushing (Chris Lebano rushed 24 times for 79 yards) and 151 in the air.

Thiel produced 229 yards in offense. The Tomcats rushed for 101 yards (Taylor Fink had 60 yards on 15 carries) and passed for 128. Andrew Smith hit 17 of 31 passes. He was sacked twice and intercepted once – by Rochester’s Cole Valko on the final Thiel drive in the last minute.

Kennedy threw a screen pass to Lebano that turned into a 19-yard touchdown with 9:01 left in the first quarter. That climaxed an 11-play, 69-yard drive which started the game. After a three-and-out by Thiel, he drove the Yellowjackets 63 yards in eight plays, finishing with a 50-yard strike to Garrett Kesel who got behind the Thiel defense for the score.

Alex Antonucci kicked both PATs for Rochester. He made a 40-yard field goal with 2:34 left in the game to clinch the victory.

Down 14-0 at halftime, Thiel reorganized and cut the deficit in half midway through the third quarter. The Tomcats converted two third downs and one fourth down in a 13-play, 61-yard drive to get within 14-7. Fink plunged one yard on 4th-and-1 from the Rochester 28 to keep the drive going. Three plays later. Smith found Berend Grube inside the one-yard line for an 18-yard gain. Fink scored on the next play and Cody McClelland’s PAT made it 14-7 with 3:48 left in the quarter.

Rochester’s defense held midway through the fourth to preserve the win. The Tomcats drove from their own 25 to the Rochester 26 where Smith’s pass for Grube on 4th-and-1 fell incomplete.

Kennedy drove Rochester 51 yards in 11 plays, eating up 4:24 on the clock. Antonucci kicked his 40-yard field goal on 4th-and-7.

Defensively, Jordan Honjiyo and Zach Cicero led Rochester with 10 tackles. Brendan Pidgeon had nine stops, one sack one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. Shawn Burke had eight tackles and one sack.

Thiel’s leader was Dustin Baker with nine tackles, including 2.5 tackles behind the line. Jack Sindlinger and Terry Gensel had six tackles apiece.

Notes: It was Kennedy’s second career start. He directed Rochester to a 16-13 road win at St. Lawrence last year…. Rochester won its home opener for the first time since the 2001 season.

Article and photo courtesy of the University of Rochester Athletics Department. For more sports news, visit