Chesterton Tribune



CHS debate wins state with team effort

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Chesterton High Schoolís Debate team is once again Indiana State Champion after defeating all teams at the IHSFA state tournament. Chesterton amassed a total of 92 points, defeating rival and defending champion West Lafayette by a total of 15.5 points. Munster High School was third overall after ending with 75.5 points - one point behind second place. The point differential was convincing, considering that first place in an event only awards 14 points.

ďIt was a total team effort across all four of the events. I donít know if I have ever seen a champion receive as many points spread so evenly across the events,Ē said Chris Lowery. Policy debate led the way scoring 28 of the total team points, but each of the other events scored at least 14 points for the team championship.

Even in a team effort, some performances naturally stand out. Junior Abby Burke defeated her opponent from West Lafayette by a 5 – 0 decision to capture the individual state title in Lincoln-Douglas debate. It was Chestertonís only individual title. The event is coached jointly by Carol Biel and Shane Smith.

This marks the first title for Smith and likely the last for Hall of Fame coach Carol Biel, who has indicated her intent to take a step back from coaching next year. Biel has coached a number of Indiana state champions as well as the 1990 National Champion and the 1989 National Runner-up. Burke won by taking the affirmative position for the resolution that ĎDeveloping nations should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.í

Burkeís teammate, Eric Zhong narrowly missed the chance to make it an all Chesterton final after he lost in semifinals on a 2 – 1 decision. Zhong and Burke both qualified for the national tournament the previous weekend.

The team of Matt Eggers and Salman Lakhani were state Runners-Up in the event of Public Forum debate. Eggers and Lakhani just fell short of Chestertonís second individual title; falling in the final round by a 3 – 2 vote against a team from Munster High School. The teams of Taryn Trusty/Miranda Whah and Hannah Vasquez/Jessica Ratel-Khan were quarterfinalists (top 8); while Tyler Colvin/Nathan Burris were octafinalists (top 16).

In Policy debate, Chesterton had two semifinalist teams (top 4). Nadia Mario/Katherine Bolek and Zach Bogich/Alex Genetski each fell to West Lafayette teams in the penultimate round. Kaley Brown and Emily Percifield finished as quarterfinalists, while Tim Vincent/Joel Peterson were octafinalists.

Unlike the other events, which pit individual debaters/team against each other, Congressional debate involves a chamber of 18 individuals competing against each other. Chesterton placed 3 individuals into the final round of competition. Mikaela Meyer placed 3rd overall, followed by Andrew Caratini in 8th place. Don Reinert was named a finalist. Also in Congress, Andrea Drygas qualified for semifinals and Presiding Officer candidate JP Pritchard was named Speaker of the House for qualifying for the Semifinal round.

Meyer was awarded the Robert Brittain Mental Attitude award, the only award that is voted on by the IHSFA board of directors. Mikaela was chosen not only for her competitive success, but her academic success and her extensive service in the communities of both Chesterton and Valparaiso.

The team was rounded by out Corinne Leopold and Chris Krause, both of whom competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate. The team was aided by observers/supporters from the team including, Savannah Tipton, Eric Richardson, Mark Wilcox, Andrea Kovach and Katie Green.

This is the 24th overall State Debate title for Chesterton High School, an award that has been given out annually since 1983. West Lafayette has the second highest total with 6 overall. The 92 points awarded to Chesterton represents the second highest point total ever scored at this tournament, surpassing everything except for the 110.5 points scored by Chesterton in 2005.

The 25 person team included 13 seniors. It was the first time participating on a State Championship team for 18 of the 25 members. Chesterton is jointly coached by Lowery, Smith, Biel, and first time coach Josh Coots and would like to thank the community for their unwavering support to the Speech and Debate program for over the past 45 years.





Posted 2/3/2014




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