Debate Takes Top Spot at Hockaday Invitational; Qualifies First Team to State

The varsity debate team of seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz earned first place this past weekend at the Hockaday Invitational and as a result of their finish become the first team to fully qualify for the Texas Forensic Association State Championships in March. The Hockaday Invitational is one of the bigger local tournaments of the season with 50 teams from 15 public and private schools competing in the two-day event. LoRocco and Ruiz were 5-0 in the preliminary rounds before defeating two teams from Coppell, Grapevine, and St. Mark’s on their way to the championship. In addition to their team award, both debaters earned top-five individual speaker awards as well, with Ruiz finishing third and LoRocco, fourth.

Jesuit had 24 debaters competing with nine varsity teams and three novice teams. In addition to the first place finish, the varsity qualified five other teams to the elimination rounds, which was more than any other school. The teams of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez, and senior Zach Watts and sophomore Jack Moore posted 4-1 preliminary round records, while the sophomore teams of Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, Jack Madden and Pete Weigman, and Logan Kim and Nico Wilson all posted 3-2 prelim records. But in a moment of “Ranger carnage,” all five teams lost, mostly on 2-1 decisions, in the Sweet 16 for a giant ninth-place tie. Lee (6th), Weigman (9th), and Tran (13th) also won top 15 individual speaker awards.

Hockaday was also the first tournament for the novice debate team. Six freshmen competed for the first time with the team of Javier Arroyo and Garret Nagorzanski earning fifth-place honors.  Arroyo and Nagorzanski were 3-2 in the preliminary rounds and then lost to higher seeded Coppell in the quarterfinals. The teams of Jacob Clarkson and Marshall Mann, and Thomas Cluck and Marcus Charalambopoulos also posted winning prelim records but did not qualify for the elimination rounds.  Arroyo (6th) and Cluck (7th) were recognized with top 10 speaker awards.