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Debate team doubles in size

Marlborough’s debate team concludes their at the Presentation Invitational.

Two assistant coaches from USC are working to support the largest debate team in Marlborough history this year. Alongside Program Head and Debate Coach Adam Torson, USC juniors Hailey Robertson and Ben Rosenthal have joined the team as assistant coaches given that twice as many Marlborough debaters are competing in Varsity as last year. 

“We’re very fortunate to have outstanding assistant coaches,” Torson said. “They’re both involved in the debate program at USC and were both outstanding high school debaters.”

After enjoying her experience working for the Marlborough Debate program last year, Robertson chose to return this year. 

“To work at Marlborough has really opened my eyes on perspectives of high school,” Robertson said. “I grew up in Kansas and went to a rural public high school, so it’s interesting to see how different high schools operate debate teams.”

Robertson has taken her coaching skills outside of Marlborough as she continues to compete for the USC debate team.

“Being a debate coach has taught me about myself and made me a better debater,” Robertson said. “It is nice to take the skills I am learning and apply them and grow as a debater myself alongside the debaters I coach.”

Torson said he was hesitant about hiring a new coach last year to replace a long-time assistant coach who left Los Angeles to attend graduate school, but he feels Robertson is a positive addition to the team and serves as a strong female role model for Marlborough debaters.

Rosenthal joined Robertson in coaching the debate team this year following prior experience coaching at his own high school in Nashville, Tenn. He has also particularly noticed Marlborough students’ enthusiasm for learning.

“Every girl here is so smart,” Rosenthal said. “I am constantly impressed by even the 7th and 8th graders we coach. They know what is going on.”

Torson emphasized that Rosenthal has been a helpful presence at tournaments in preparing for rounds.

“He is bringing a wealth of technical expertise in a variety of subjects that are really helpful to us, and the kids are in awe of his ability to produce debate prep at a rapid pace,” Torson said. 

Senior and Marlborough Debate co-captain Julia Steinberg ‘20 agreed that both assistant coaches have been great additions to the team. 

“With expanding our team this year, it is wonderful to have Ben and Hailey around because they work with the younger and older debaters and they also are both knowledgeable about a very wide breadth of arguments,” Steinberg said. “They are also very fun to be around at tournaments.”

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