National Forensic League’s Grand National Tournament saw 558 schools
represented from across the country in the nation’s capitol recently.
Eighteen members of Chesterton High School’s Speech and Debate team were in
attendance and the team claimed one individual top ten finish at the
tournament. That top ten finish for the team of Joshua Hogan and Logan
Summers came in the Speech event of Duo Interpretation.
The event of Duo
involves teams comprised of two students performing a ten minute cutting of
a piece of literature (movie script, play, novel, etc.) and the event began
with 219 entries. The first break had a nice 219 connection as both of
Chesterton’s entries made the cut to the top 48 (Octafinals). Coming out of
prelim rounds, sophomore’s AJ Stirling and Indigo Loving were the 11th best
team in the nation, but a difficult Octafinal round saw them eliminated in
the first cut round. Stirling and Loving managed to never receive a rank
lower than 2 during the prelims. Their teammates Joshua Hogan and Logan
Summers also made the jump into the elimination rounds, with their cutting
of the movie “Rain Man.” The seniors had some high expectations as they
managed to make the quarterfinal round in this event the year before. The
experience paid dividends as Hogan and Summers were able to navigate through
the Octafinal round as well as the Quarterfinal round. Their semifinal
performance in front of an audience in the hundreds narrowly missed the cut
for finals resulting in Hogan and Summers earning the status of 8th best Duo
Interp team at the tournament.
reached the Octafinal round in Lincoln-Douglas debate, placing in the top 16
at the tournament and the country. Duhamell held a perfect 5-0 record
through the prelims; making her the second seed going into the eliminations.
The Catholic National tournament utilizes a system of ‘power-matching’ that
begins in round three. This means that Duhamell debated an opponent that was
also undefeated in rounds 3, 4, and 5. Against this difficult
competition she went 14-1 with the individual judges in her prelims and an
incredible 9-0 with the judges in the power matched rounds. Duhamell won her
Double-Octa round against a debater from Ridge High School in New Jersey,
but was defeated in the next round by a debater from the Chaminade college
preparatory academy in New York. Hannah Geiss and Elli Didonna both achieved
preliminary records of 3-2, which was one decision from the requirement of a
4-1 record to reach the elimination rounds.
Public Forum debate
started with 233 teams of two. Chesterton’s Katelyn Balakir and Ryan Day
amassed a 4-1 record through the prelims to qualify for the out rounds on
Sunday. Although a number of teams with that record were forced into a
‘play-in’ round, Balakir and Day’s 15th place in the prelims qualified them
directly for the Double-Octafinal round, where they lost a decision to a
team from Montville High School in New Jersey, resulting in a top 32 finish.
performances from Chesterton included freshman Rebecca Mueller, who came in
68th in Declamation. Senior Paige Donovan came in 66th in Prose/Poetry. Also
getting a taste of competition in preparation for June’s NSDA National
Tournament were Ben Hoham and Matt Jewison (Policy Debate), Zachary Mullins
and Emily Krygoske (Public Forum), Sanjana Raj and Megan Daye (Extemp), and
Sid Augustyn and Creighton Gaff (Congressional Debate).
tournament were coaches Eric Shaefer and Kayla Fleming (Speech Duos and
Prose/Poetry), Dakota McCoy (Public Forum), Joshua Coots (Lincoln-Douglas),
and Chris Lowery (Policy and Extemp), joined by alumni Michael Podguski,
Spencer Hadley, Layla Mooradian, Mikaela Meyer, Katrina Balon, and Mark