The Dynamic Duo

Debate Captains Rank Second In Nation After Bronx Tournament Win


Mary Sarver

Anuraag Routray and Aatreya Tewary won first place in the public forum competition at the New York City Invitational Debate and Speech Tournament on October 19 and 20.

Benjamin Bradford, Contributing Writer

Time is ticking. Your pen is tapping, your teeth are grinding, and your hand is aching. Your voice is hoarse, your tie is loose, and your hair is a greasy mess. The case has been read and the arguments have been made, but the judge is the ultimate decider in who wins, and who goes home empty-handed. You clear your throat for one last time and begin to argue your team’s final rebuttal in the heated debate.

 For varsity debaters and captains, Aatreya Tewary and Anuraag Routray, this is not just any ordinary weekend. This is their life. A weekend of nothing but case making, arguing, and continuous self-criticism. Tewary and Routray have been competing on the debate team together for four years now, and after taking first place at the New York City Invitational Debate and Speech Tournament, the two are the number one ranked public forum team in the state and number two ranked team in the country.. The two joined varsity in only their first year on the team and became captains shortly after. The debate team was on the verge of collapse (having gone through three different coaches), but these two brought life back to the program, setting records left and right.

“We both learned about speech and debate with a camp in seventh grade” Routray said. “We were pretty good friends before, so I guess public forum kind of strengthened our friendship. It is also interesting because we somehow don’t have a lot of classes together, yet we are still debating together pretty often.”

 Debate has been a passion for the two since they were as young as thirteen years old, and since freshman year, public forum or ‘PF’ was their go-to choice. Public Forum is the statistical side of debate. The focus is on the policy of an issue and how it can be resolved, rather than morals behind it. Unlike all other forms of debate, PF requires you to do it with a partner (2v2 debate). That makes the process of finding someone crucial to your success. A partner you can trust, but also gives constructive criticism and feedback is key for a well rounded team.

“Debate definitely has a learning curve,” Tewary said. “Our freshman year was pretty rough. We did not do as well as we thought we would have, given all the work we had put in, but by sticking with it, you will definitely see success. We started seeing that our late sophomore year, and junior year.”

Tewary and Routray have gone on to win over 130 tournament rounds, and 1,062 speaking points over the course of their reign. At the New York City Invitational Debate and Speech Tournament, they competed against over 200 teams across the nation. Their 7-1 record put them in first place for public forum and solidified them as serious contenders in the country.

“That Bronx win puts us on the map,” Tewary said. “This really cemented Cinco Ranch as an actual legitimate team, as well as us individually. It also means down the line, we would get opportunities to teach at places. Usually when you do well, schools and camps will invite you and basically pay you to teach lower classmen and students willing to debate.”

It is currently the halfway mark through their senior year. That means after three coaches, four years, and one partner; the duo will finally come to an end. For college, Tewary is interested in taking math and economics courses, whereas Routray plans to go the public policy route. Although debate may not be in their future, the two are both very grateful for the opportunity and the skills they learned while on the team. Their legacy is one for the books, and undisputedly makes them the best PF Debate Team that CRHS has ever seen.

“I will never forget debate,” Tewary said. “I feel that the skills debate uses are significant to any field. You need to be able to articulate yourself well, and argue in any path of life.”