Chesterton High School earned its fifth consecutive IHSFA State Debate title
in dominating fashion, shattering its own high point and margin of victory
records. Accumulating an astonishing 111 points, Chesterton came close to
doubling up the next two teams of West Lafayette (62.5) and Munster (62).
Chesterton won three of the five individual events. The previous state
records for total points and margin of victory were both set by the 2006
team from CHS. Not coincidentally, that year was the only other year in the
program’s history that the team has won three individual event titles.
dominated in the oldest debate event, Policy debate. Chesterton closed out
the final round, ensuring the top two placings and had all four teams place
in the top eight for the tournament.
The combination of
Matthew Jewison and Ben Hoham affirmed the resolution that the United States
Federal Government should increase its regulations on our education system
by advocating for mandatory vaccination for all students. They defeated
their teammates Madison Simms and Sofia Winski by a 4-1 decision in the
final round. The teams of JD Cory and Devin Michael as well as Ethan Dibble
and Ryan Donovan both made it into the elimination rounds and finished as
quarterfinalists (top 8). The event of policy debate supplied a total of 38
sweepstakes points to CHS’s team total; outscoring its closest peer in this
event by a margin of 28. This is the 19th state Policy championship for the
school and it marks the 11th time that CHS has closed out the final round of
the tournament. The policy team is coached jointly by CHS teacher Chris
Lowery and alumni Kaley Brown and Michael Anderson. Remarkably, Jewison is
the only senior in this event, ensuring that Chesterton has the ability to
build upon this success in the coming years.
The team was also
able to close out the final round of Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD). Camma
Duhamell defeated Hannah Geiss by a margin of 3-2 with the final round
panel. Their topic was whether or not plea bargaining ought to be eliminated
in the United States. Duhamell affirmed arguing that plea bargaining does
not uphold a Kantian ideal of justice. Both seniors, Duhamell and Geiss
finish their Indiana careers as two of the most dominate LD debaters in the
state’s recent history. At last year’s state tournament, Geiss won the title
and Duhamell came in third. Both have competed in elimination rounds at
national tournaments and both have already qualified for this year’s
national tournament. They were at their best this weekend and were named the
top two seeds after preliminary rounds and winning three elimination rounds
to earn a berth in the final round.
Teammate Sam Winski
also qualified for the elimination rounds but was eliminated after a fluke
seeding issue caused two tournament rules to conflict. After a long protest
by the school, the IHSFA board of directors upheld that the seed portion of
the conflict overruled the ‘school protect clause.’ Normally, teammates are
protected from debating each other until the semifinal round; in this
instance Winski was forced to debate Duhamell, the event state champion,
rather than a competitor from another school. Winski was defeated by a 2 to
1 margin in the Octafinal round (top 16). CHS teacher Joshua Coots coaches
the Lincoln-Douglas squad which has won four out of the last five state
titles and ten titles in its history. This is third time since 1996 that
Chesterton has closed out the final round of this event. Lincoln-Douglas
accounted for the team’s second highest total of points with 28.
Chesterton won its
first individual Congressional debate title in eight years, with Paul Petro
claiming the top spot in the state. Instead of a team or individual debating
another team or individual, Congressional debate organizes itself within
chambers of 16 to 20 students all speaking for or against legislation.
Students begin in preliminary chambers, then advance to semifinals (top 45)
and then to the final chamber of 16. Paul Petro scored a low cumulative
score of 11 from the five judges to defeat the state runner-up from
Canterbury by a dominant margin of 11 points. Megan Daye was three points
behind the state-runner up to claim third place overall and Sid Augustyn
came in 6th place overall. Creighton Gaff finished out the scoring for
Chesterton with a 9th place finish in the final round chamber. The quartet
scored 27 sweepstakes points outscoring the second place school in the event
by a margin of 15 points. This was CHS’s 9th state champion in the event and
first since 2010. This is Joshua Coot’s first state title in this event
since assuming the mantle of Congressional debate coach at Chesterton.
Chesterton had two
quarterfinalists (top 8) in Public Forum Debate in the teams of Katelyn
Balakir and Grace Whah and Emily Krygoske and Zachary Mullins. The event was
dominated by students of Munster High School who closed out final round and
took three of the top four spots overall. Chesterton also had one of its two
teams qualify for elimination rounds in the event of World School debate.
Azeez Lakhani, Jenna Aguilar, Branden Wong, and Nick Hanson made it to the
quarterfinal round of eight before being eliminated by the eventual state
champions from Fishers by 2-1 decision. Public Forum debate is coached by
CHS staff member Dakota McCoy and the World School event is jointly taught
by all of the staff.
Also competing for
the team were students Ryan Day, Connor Wantuch, Bella Jennings, Salomae
Minnear, Elli Didonna, Joshua Hogan, Anekah Fish, Luke Caylor, and Sanjana
Raj. This is the 28th state championship for debate team during the
program’s fifty years in existence; it is also their 13th title in the last
Chris Lowery, the
Director of Speech and Debate gives all the credit to the support system
around the team.
“Our kids know that
they have to work incredibly hard just to make our post-season team and that
internal competition drives our team to the highest levels. When combined
with the support that our community, district administration, and building
administration gives us the results are performances like the one we saw
this weekend,” Lowery said.
Many of these
debaters will begin to turn their attention to joining the Speech team,
which is preparing to defend their own state title from last year, while
others will begin looking towards their next debate competition -- the
national tournament in June.