Chesterton Tribune



CHS wins 4th straight State Debate Championship

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Chesterton High 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 said.

Each registered 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.

The Lincoln-Douglas 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 high school.

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).

Policy debate, 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.

Congressional 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.

The remaining 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.


Posted 1/30/2017




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