Chesterton Tribune



CHS Debate wins 5th State Championship in a row

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On Saturday, 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.

Chesterton 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 15 years.

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.



Posted 1/29/2018




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