Two members of the Harvard Debate Team won second place Tuesday in the 46th annual National Debate Tournament.
Fred G. Karem '94 and Rebecca L. Tushnet '95 were second only to Georgetown University in a "tournament dominated by seniors," coach Dallas G. Perkins, Jr. said.
"They were the youngest team in recent memory to do [so well]," Harvard Debate Team member Daniel H. Nexon' 95.
Tushnet is the first-year woman ever to participate in the final round of the National Debate Tournament, Perkins Said. Tushnet is also the first first-year, either male or female, to reach the final round since 1969, he said.
Forty schools sent 78 teams to the five-day-long national championship this year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Students debated whether "one or more U.S. Supreme Court decisions recognizing a federal constitutional right to privacy should be overruled," Perkins said.
"We got hot for one day and burst on the scene in fine fashion," Perkins said of Harvard's success.
After eight successful preliminaries held Friday through Sunday, the Harvard team entered the elimination bracket along with the top 32 teams, winning in every round except the last against Georgetown.
"Some of the rounds we won were decided fairly quickly," Karem said.
In the second round, Harvard achieved an unexpected, long awaited victory against the University of Texas team.
"It was a very big upset for us to beat them," said Perkins.
The final debate against George town on Tuesday was "a very close debate," Perkins said. "It took the judges an hour and 40 minutes to decide."
Perkins said since he started coaching in 1980, the team has won the National Debate Tournament twice, in 1985 and 1990.