School kept its state debate title streak alive by winning the 2017 Indiana
High School Forensics Association’s (IHSFA) State Championship at Kokomo
High School. The victory was a decisive one as Chesterton scored a
tournament high 95 points, followed by West Lafayette (74 points) and
Munster (52 points). This is the teams 27th state championship in debate and
more amazingly its 18th in the last 20 years.
Director of Speech
and Debate, Chris Lowery, attributed the victory directly to the strength of
the team’s senior class. “Chesterton’s thirteen seniors really showed what
it meant to be dedicated to a goal. It is a lesson that we hope is learnt by
our younger students that seek to extend the current winning streak,” Lowery
IHSFA school may send a maximum of four entries per event, with the one
exception of the newest event World School debate, in which each school is
allowed only one entry. Chesterton is one of the largest programs in the
nation; meaning that just making the team is difficult. That internal
competition, “is one of the secrets to the team’s success,” Lowery said.
Hannah Geiss was
Chesterton’s lone individual state champion. Geiss defeated nearly 50 other
entries to earn the title in Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD). Geiss defeated
Thomas Smith of West Lafayette in the final round by a decision of 3-2. The
LD topic for the tournament was free speech responsibilities on college
campuses. Chesterton was on the affirmative side, meaning it argued against
colleges limiting constitutionally protected speech on their campuses. This
is the second individual state title for Geiss, a junior at CHS (she had
previously won the IHSFA State Speech title in the event of discussion). She
is the ninth state champion to hail from Chesterton in this event.
team scored the largest portion of the team’s points with 34 total points.
Besides the tournament champion, Chesterton had both of the event’s
semifinalist competitors. Senior Katrina Balon lost a 2-1 final to Smith to
finish out her Indiana debate career in spectacular fashion; while junior
Camma Duhamell made a large announcement to the rest of the state that she
is a competitor to be feared next year. Because the team had three of the
four competitors in semifinals, Duhamell was forced to debate her teammate
Geiss in what one judge wrote “was the best round of LD debate I have seen
in a long time.”
Chesterton had its
first ever state runners-up in the two-year-old event of World School
debate. Based on “Parliamentary (British) style” debate, teams are made up
of five competitors who work together without access to research or coaches
for ‘impromptu’ styled debate. Chesterton’s team consisted of Josh
Sensibaugh, Eli Winski, Azezz Lakahni, Sam Winski, and Blake Holsclaw. After
advancing through three rounds of preliminary, the team qualified for the
final round after debating a wide range of subjects, from Presidential
candidates on twitter, to our foreign policy towards Russia, and whether you
would rather live in a world without any pain or suffering. The team was
defeated in the final round by the defending state champions from Fisher’s
The Public Forum
team was able to ‘break’ all four of its entries into Saturday’s elimination
round portion of the tournament. Public Forum debate involves teams of two
squaring off over the topic of increased military spending. Ryan Day and
Kaylinn Woolever advanced all the way to the semifinal round of competition
before falling to the defending state champion. That West Lafayette team
went on to successfully defend their title, defeating their opponents from
Penn in the final round.
Finishing in the
top eight at the tournament were the CHS teams of Johny Mario and Kevin
Jugovic, as well as Nathaniel Scheerer and Katelyn Balakir. Hayden Hodge and
Mark Wilcox were knocked out in the Octafinal round (top 16).
another two-on-two event, had three CHS teams advance to the top eight at
the tournament. Luke Gregurich and Sajag Agarwal fell to the eventual state
championship team from Munster in the semifinal round; while the team of
Keagan Wong and Sydney Ghoreshi as well as the team of Connor Wantuch and
Ben Hoham were defeated in the Quarterfinal round.
debate is the only event that doesn’t involve one-on-one competition.
Instead students are grouped and judged in a round against 17 of their peers
on how well they debate legislative motions and bills. Three students from
Chesterton advanced to the final round. Megan Daye was the highest placing
of the trio, finishing 9th out of the original 62 entries. Paul Petro was
11th and Creighton Gaff was 12th overall. Zach Mullins served as
Chesterton’s representative for the presiding officer competition of the
event and finished as a semifinalist.
members of the thirty students on the roster included Madi Ghoreshi (LD),
Emily Krygoske (Congress), Nate Jimenez (Policy), and Matt Jewison (Policy).
“We are very proud
of everyone on this team; as we felt that all contributed to a successful
and winning attitude,” Lowery said. The team is coached by Chris Lowery,
Josh Coots, Dakota McCoy, and Kaley Brown.