Chesterton Tribune

CHS Debate team wins state championship

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The Chesterton High School Debate team came away from this weekend’s state competition with two individual state titles and a team state Championship.

In Lincoln-Douglas debate senior Ankur Chawla, won the individual state championship, while Spencer Hadley and Luke Morgan were state champs in Public Forum debate.

National Qualifiers

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for members of the Chesterton High School Debate team.

Two weekends ago, the team was competing for qualifying spots for the National Tournament, to be held this year in Birmingham, Alabama. “The District tournament is one of the most grueling experiences for our students and this particular year was one of the most difficult ever seen,”  said Coach Chris Lowery.

The team’s hard work paid off and resulted in gaining five of the six qualifying spots for the national tournament this summer. In Policy Debate, seniors Manhar Grewal and Siva Muthasamy gained the lone Chesterton spot. 

The team qualified in both spots in Lincoln-Douglas with senior Arlan Brooks and junior Megan Adamczewski winning the tournament. 

Finally, Chesterton qualified for the two entries in Public Forum debate, with Senior Alec Donelson and sophomore partner Dakota McCoy, along with junior Luke Morgan and sophomore Spencer Hadley, finishing in the top spots. Two more district tournaments will be held to determine the rest of Chesterton’s national tournament team; district congress and the solo district speech tournament.  

State Tournament

The week after districts was spent preparing for the rest of the state as the team headed to Kokomo for the state tournament being held that Friday night and all day Saturday. Four events competed at the state tournament: Policy, Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas and Congressional debate.

Coach Jim Cavallo, a veteran coach of over 20 state debate championships, knows that it takes all four events to win a state title, explaining that “there are years that are extremely close and it comes down not to how many champions you have, but how many people make it into the elimination part of the tournament – all of their points add up very quickly.”  The competition this year came down to two traditional debate rivals: Munster and West Lafayette. 

In Congressional Debate, Chesterton had four senior contestants, Aris Ringas, Tristan Comegys, Erika Mihalek, and Kailey Paglia  and one presiding officer, sophomore Michelle Wyatt. Comegys and Mihalek scored points by advancing to an extremely difficult Semi-final round while Ringas and Paglia ended up by advancing to the finals of the tournament.  

In Policy Debate, Chesterton broke all four of its teams to the Octafinals round.  Jessica Povlinski and Chasity Mottinger, Christian Parocco and Warren Fasone, and the team of Ben Andrews and Jeff Tucker all were upset in that elimination round. Manhar Grewal and Siva Muthasamy advanced one more round to the Quarterfinal round.  

In Lincoln-Douglas debate, Chesterton claimed the individual state championship with senior Ankur Chawla, who defeated West Lafayette’s Sue Wang by a 3-2 decision.  It was the first state championship for Chesterton’s Lincoln-Douglas coach Scott Woodhouse and the first in many years for the Chesterton program.

Junior Megan Adamczewski advanced to the Quarterfinals of the competition. Senior Arlan Brooks and junior Dan Leopold just missed out on the elimination portion of the tournament finishing 18th and 19th in the state.  

In Public Forum debate, Chesterton closed out the final round of competition boasting the top two teams in the state. Spencer Hadley and Luke Morgan defeated teammates and friends Tyler Fabbri and Syed Shah in a terrific final round. 

It is the second straight championship for the Chesterton Public Forum team and fourth overall in sixth years. Last year the team of Tyler Fabbri and Spencer Hadley’s brother, Michael, won the championship against West Lafayette.

Also scoring major points for the team were Alec Donelson and Dakota McCoy who made it to the quarterfinals of the competition. Statistically, Chesterton’s best team all year juniors Adam Potrezbowski and Jordan Hoover were 17th in the state, just missing out on the elimination portion of the tournament.  

The team was accompanied by numerous former competitors and parent judges Dan Fabbri and Kathy Hadley. With little rest for the weary, many of the state debaters will now shift over to the speech side of competition in an effort to gain a spot on the speech team’s sectional entry to compete at the state speech tournament.  


Posted 2/9/2009