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Championship high school debaters weigh in on the first presidential debate

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Members of St. Paul Academy's debate team
Members of St. Paul Academy's debate team analyze the first presidential debate.
Courtesy of Scott Streble

For the first presidential debate, six members of St. Paul Academy's championship debate team joined MPR News to offer their analysis on the candidates' debate strategies and performance.

High school senior Sarah Wheaton pointed out that the debate showcased how much the candidates are actually rubbing off on each other — for the better.

"My thoughts on tonight's debate were basically that the two candidates had two different goals: One of them was to draw attention to their campaign. Their other main goal was to get their points on the issues out. I think the two candidates combined their two strategies to try to do that.

Trump has always been known as the person who gets himself a lot of attention by having these catchy one-liners and having these big moments. And he did that, like he usually does. But he also managed to get more policy into his speeches than we've sometimes seen from him. That added more substance; it allowed the viewer to see more of his opinions and it made those zingers more meaningful because they were backed up.

On the other side of the debate, Hillary is known more for having these really smooth speeches that are well-organized that have a lot of policy points. And she lived up to that expectation, but she has also picked up some of Trump's strategy.

She's managed to start including more one-liners. She has the one-liner about Trump being enraged by the tweet, she has the one-liner about his decision-making and other things like that. She's managed to make herself more memorable, so that her policies are more memorable to the viewer — more entertaining and interesting. 

I think that Trump and Hillary have really been able to enrich each other in terms of what they bring to the debate. Hillary has forced Trump to be able to talk about the issues more. Trump has forced Hillary to be able to make herself more interesting and entertaining. 

I think from a debate perspective, they were actually both able to bring more tonight than they had previously been able to bring in the primary debates. They were able to bring an interesting, memorable debate that also touched on a lot of the main issues."

For more from the St. Paul Academy debate team on Monday night's debate, watch the Facebook Live videos of their analysis below. 

Debaters Henry Suckow Ziemer, Coleman Thompson, Sarah Wheaton, Noor Qureishy, Raffi Toghramadjian and Shefali Bijwadia shared their perspectives.

Raffi Toghramadjian and Shefali Bijwadia analyze the first segment: Achieving Prosperity

Coverage with the St. Paul Academy high school debate team continues. Live fact-check of Clinton-Trump debate: http://live.mprnews.org/Event/2016_election_breaking_news

Posted by MPR News on Monday, September 26, 2016

Noor Qureishy and Sarah Wheaton analyze the second segment: America's Direction

Members of St. Paul Academy's high school debate team weigh in on the second segment of the presidential debate: America's Direction. Live fact-check: http://live.mprnews.org/Event/2016_election_breaking_news

Posted by MPR News on Monday, September 26, 2016

Coleman Thompson and Henry Suckow Ziemer analyze the final segment: Securing America | The entire group weighs in with final thoughts on the debate

A final look at tonight's presidential debate with St. Paul Academy's high school debate team. Live fact-check:  http://live.mprnews.org/Event/2016_election_breaking_news

Posted by MPR News on Monday, September 26, 2016