The Jesuit Dallas debate program, which has enjoyed prominence at the national level for over six decades, closed out the 2016-17 campaign achieving another historic milestone as the teams of senior Jack LoRocco and sophomore Jack Moore, seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez, and seniors Zachary Watts and Emmanuel Ruiz finished in the top 20 of the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Championships at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. The result marked the first time that Jesuit Dallas cleared three teams to the elimination rounds at nationals. In addition to the team performance, Ruiz was tabbed as the 18th overall speaker, and LoRocco, 26th, against a field of over 170 of the best high school debaters in the country.
All three Jesuit teams finished 4-2 in the preliminary rounds. LoRocco and Moore defeated teams from California, Illinois, and Kansas; Lee and Valdez defeated teams from Illinois, Texas and Kansas; and Watts and Ruiz topped teams from Illinois and Utah. In decisions that were termed “extremely difficult,” all three Jesuit teams lost in the first elimination round by 2-1 scores.
The strong performance at the national championships caps another impressive slate for Jesuit Dallas debate, which included a first-place finish at The Hockaday Invitational, a top-10 performance at the nationally prestigious Barkley Forum Debates at Emory University, and three teams in the top 10 at the Texas Forensic Association State Championships – where Jesuit was also just one of two schools in the state to qualify six teams to state.