Vestavia Hills Novice

2018 — Vestavia Hills, AL/US

Hello coaches and competitors! Thank you so much for considering and/or registering for the Marilee Dukes Vestavia Hills Novice Tournament. We will offer a quick 5 rounds in PF/LD, 3 rounds in CX, and 4 rounds in speech (no breaks). This should serve as some great experience for your novice to start the year and a great team building experience for your entire team. Below you will find some important information and rules about the tournament. Please also check out the tabs to the right for further information on Events and the Schedule.

1.         Definition:  A novice is defined as any competitor in their first year OR who has had less than 10 rounds of competition prior to the current school year (excluding workshops).  Experienced PF debaters who switch to LD are NOT NOVICES,  and experienced LD debaters who switch to PF are NOT NOVICES. Individuals who have experience in IE only would certainly be novice debaters.  In individual events, a competitor who is doing individual events for the first time IS considered a novice.  No other students should be in competition. If you have any question about this, please email me.

2.         Judges:  In order to get more rounds in for your novice, we are trying to single flight the tournament. This means for debate events, we ask you provide one judge for every two debate entries. In individual events, one judge for every five entries (or fraction thereof).  These quotas should not be a problem given the fact that your varsity members are able to judge. A varsity member with 200 NSDA points is recognized by the NSDA as eligible to judge novice.  We won’t quibble about a few points, as long as the varsity has adequate experience.  Certainly, no one who will compete in novice division during the upcoming year should be judging. It is important that you realize that one of the additional benefits associated with this tournament is to allow varsity people to judge so that they can build NSDA point totals.  Please advise with your student judges about writing constructive ballots.

            YOU MAY NOT HIRE JUDGES UNLESS YOURS IS A NEW PROGRAM WITHOUT VARSITY PEOPLE WHO COULD SERVE AS JUDGES.  This tournament is designed not to just be for your novice debaters, but your whole team. We encourage varsity to come as well to judge rounds, help their own novice in between rounds, and build team cohesion and bonding to start the year. It will be difficult for Vestavia Hills to provide additional judges or to hire judges EXCEPT as deemed necessary to assist programs which have no varsity students to draw upon.  If, for some reason, this presents a problem for your program, please email us as soon as possible.  If we can help by hiring judges for you, we will.  Judge availability will be the determining factor.  Cost per hired judge is $40.00.  Coaches, please do not judge yourself unless you must; let your varsity people get the NSDA points.  Of course, you may judge if you like.

             Judge requirements: 1 judge for every 2 Public Forum Teams

                                               1 judge for every 2 LD entries

                                               1 judge for every 5 IE entries

All judges, including student judges, should have a account with a valid email to be able to register them.

3.         Ballots: This year, ALL ballots (including IE) will be done online. All judges should have a tabroom account so that they get access to their ballots online. This will also mean they need to bring a device to the tournament. We will provide the WiFi.

4.         Double Entries:  Students may only enter one type of debate. Students may enter up to two IE divisions. No student may compete in debate and IE.

5.         Fees:  Fees for this tournament will be $8.00 per person per event (this means $16.00 total for a PF team).  Make all checks payable to Vestavia Hills High School. Judges fees will be $40 per judge. Please do not hire and let your varsity judge. We don't want your money.

6.         Deadlines:  All entries must be received by noon on Wednesday, September 19 at 5:00pm.  However, we would love your entries much earlier. Last year we had record numbers and used every classroom available. The sooner you enter entries, the better it is on us to plan. Any drops after the entry deadline will be assessed a $10.00 nuisance. Any drops after 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 18, will be assessed a $20.00 nuisance fee. This fee is added to the fee computed at deadline. We are sorry that, unless the situation is extreme, we can accept no entries or additions after this time.  Space is a very relevant factor for us.  If we have room, we are happy to accommodate.

7.         Awards:  Appropriate awards will be presented for all students placing in their respective events.  However, the emphasis for this tournament is experience, not awards. Our awards are fun and cheap, and thus, allows the entry fees to stay low.

8.         Food:  Food will be available for sale from our concessions.  Please ask your students to support the snack bar.  A successful snack bar keeps the fees low.  We do have to pay to keep the facility open. Certainly, we would assume that no food from an outside source would be brought into our school. The only exception would be if you or a competitor has strict dietary restrictions.


If you should have questions regarding the tournament or information contained in this invitation, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Nate Conoly
Casey Harlan 

Best contact:
Vestavia Hills High School (205) 402-5250; Fax Number (205) 402-5262; email