Debate Impresses with Three Top 10 Finishes at State Championships

Although a state title proved elusive for this year’s debate program, Jesuit Dallas showcased an unmatched degree of depth as the only school in Texas to qualify five teams for the elimination rounds and a staggering three teams in the top 10 at the 2017 Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships. The teams of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez, and Emmanuel Ruiz and Zack Watts finished in a tie for fifth, with the duo of senior Jake LoRocco and sophomore Jack Moore closing in ninth overall.

Junior Ben Miller and senior Greg Tan, along with sophomores Jack Griffith and Riler Holcombe finished 17th, as all 10 debaters earned all-state honors. The performance marked the first time since 2007 that Jesuit Dallas could boast 10 all-state debaters in the same season. With over 120 teams competing, TFA serves as the largest and most competitive state tournament in the country. Jesuit Dallas was one of only two schools statewide to qualify six teams for the championships, a testament to both the program’s depth and skill.

Griffith and Moore used their run at states to launch another impressive performance one week later at the 2017 First and Second Year National Championships hosted by Woodward Academy in Atlanta. The duo finished in a tie for ninth in the second-year division, while freshmen Javier Arroyo and Garrett Nagorzanski took ninth in the first-year division. In addition to the team awards, Jesuit’s contingent grabbed six of the top 20 individual speaker awards (Second Year: Moore, 6th; Griffiths, 16th; First Year: Adam Hall, 3rd; Arroyo, 4th; Nagorzanski, 12th; and Thomas Cluck, 18th).

Despite not competing, LoRocco and Lee made an imprint at the National Championships by being presented with an Outstanding Student Judge Award, which recognizes the best judging and mentoring by a varsity debater assisting at the tournament.

Jesuit Dallas Debate will cap its season on April 8-10, as three teams will make the trek to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, to compete in the 2017 National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Championships.

Busy Weekend for Debate Nets Five Top-10 Finishes and Sixth State Qualifying Team

Jesuit Dallas joined Austin Westwood as the only two schools across the state to qualify six teams to the Texas Forensic Association State Championships after an exciting weekend that saw 12 teams competing at two tournaments.

At the Royce City Invitational where 30 teams from the metroplex competed, the sophomore team of Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe earned third-place honors and became the sixth Jesuit Dallas team to qualify for the state tournament in March. Sophomores Ashik Amar and Giovanni Ferrer-Falto earned fifth place. 

At the Colleyville Heritage Invitational, which featured over 70 teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Florida, the team of seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz secured ninth-place honors in the varsity division. In the novice division, freshmen Javier Arroyo and Marshall Mann snagged second place with the freshmen duo of Thomas Cluck and Garrett Nagorzanski taking third overall.

Debaters Finish in Top 10 at Barkley Forum Debates

Seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz finished ninth overall at the Barkley Forum Debates at Emory University where the top 110 teams from over 25 states competed. In the preliminary rounds, LoRocco and Ruiz finished with a 4-2 record with wins over teams from University of Chicago Lab School, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Evanston (Ill.), and Niles West (Ill.).  The Jesuit duo defeated Greenhill in the first elimination round before losing to Montgomery Bell Academy from Nashville in the second elimination round. 

 The senior team of Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez also finished the prelims with a 4-2 record and earned the 35th seed with wins over teams from Cypress Bay (Fla.), Georgetown Day (D.C.), Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.), and Greenhill, but only the top 32 qualify for the elimination rounds.

The Barkely Forum Debates is one of the oldest and most historic tournaments in the country. Jesuit Dallas has competed in this tournament since becoming a member school in the Barkley Forum in the 1970s.

Debate Closes Out at Richardson; Clinches Three More Teams to State

Jesuit Dallas enjoyed a great weekend at the Richardson High School Invitational, closing out the tournament, while placing four teams in the top five, and qualifying three more teams into the field at the TFA State Championships. The teams of junior Ben Miller and senior Greg Tan and sophomores Jack Madden and Pete Weigman both reached the final round producing the close out of first and second place. The team of sophomore Jack Moore and senior Zach Watts earned third place and the team of sophomores Ashik Amar and Giovanni Ferrer-Falto earned fifth place. Almost 40 teams from the area competed in the tournament.

In the preliminary rounds, Moore and Watts, Miller and Tan, and Amar and Ferrer-Falto all finished with 3-0 records and Madden and Weigman finished with 2-1 record with wins over teams from Trinity Valley, Sachse, Ennis, Reedy, McKinney Boyd, Glen Rose, Colleyville Heritage, Mansfield Legacy, and Wylie.  Miller and Tan beat Boyd again in the first elimination round, Madden and Weigman beat the top seed Wylie, and Moore and Watts beat Midlothian.  Madden and Weigman beat Trinity Valley in the semifinals and Miller and Tan advanced over Moore and Watts in other semifinals for the close out.  Jesuit had nine teams competing at the tournament and all nine finished with a winning record. 

Jesuit has now qualified five teams for the state tournament in March. Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences and Austin Westwood are the only other two schools in the entire state to have qualified five teams thus far.

Varsity Debate Earns Four Top 10 Finishes; Novices Close Out

Against over 40 area teams, the duo of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez earned fifth place honors at the Denton Guyer Invitational, and as a result qualified for the state tournament in March. Three additional varsity teams placed in the top 10, as sophomores Ashik Amar and Giovanni Ferrer-Falto also finished in a tie for fifth, while the teams of junior Greg Miller and senior Greg Tan and sophomores Logan Kim and Nico Wilson tied for ninth.  

In the novice division, the teams of freshmen Javier Arroyo and Garrett Nagorzanski and Thomas Cluck and Adam Hall closed out the tournament earning first and second, marking the first tournament win and the first close out for the novice team this year. The teams were a combined 7-1 in the prelims, and beat Greenhill, Colleyville Heritage, and Denton Guyer in the elimination rounds.   

Debate Opens 2017 with Four Top 10 Finishes

Jesuit Dallas Debate began the calendar year posting a pair of top 10 finishes at the Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum hosted by Montgomery Bell Academy tournament in Nashville, Tenn., and the 2017 Coppell Cowboy Classic. Seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz finished ninth overall in Nashville, while the teams of sophomore Jack Moore and senior Zach Watts, sophomores Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and sophomores Ashik Amar and Gio Ferrer-Falto all tied for fifth place at Coppell.

At the Southern Bell Forum, which is considered the Wimbledon of high school debate, LoRocco and Ruiz finished the preliminary rounds with a 4-2 record, posting wins over teams from Peninsula (Calif.), University School of Nashville, Bellarmine Prep (Calif.), and Greenhill. The team, which was seeded 12th heading into finals, lost to Glenbrook North (Ill.). Seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez earned the 18th seed at MBA with wins over teams from Wayzata (Minn.), University of Chicago Lab School, and Niles West (Ill.), but only the top 16 teams advanced to the elimination rounds.

LoRocco and Ruiz’s performance marked the best finish by a Jesuit Dallas team at MBA since 2011. Hugh Alexander and Chris Madden won this prestigious tournament in 1985, while current Jesuit assistant coach Ryan Gorman and Sullivan McCormick finished third in 2011, and current faculty member John Hill and his partner closed ninth in 2008.

At Coppell, where 20 teams from the metroplex competed, all three Jesuit teams finished with 2-1 records, securing wins over teams from Greenhill, Colleyville Heritage, McKinney Boyd, and Prosper. With their fifth place finishes, all three teams earned two of the 12 points needed to qualify for the Texas Forensic Association State Championships.

Debate Earns Top 10 Honors at Two State Tournaments

Nine varsity debate teams debated 46 times in two days at two state level tournaments and earned top-10 finishes and more state qualifying points at both. At the Creekview Invitational, where 30 teams from the area competed, the duo of sophomores Jack Madden and Pete Weigman, and Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran earned third-place honors, and the teams of sophomores Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and junior Ben Miller and senior Greg Tan took fifth place. At the University of Texas Invitational in Austin where over 100 teams from seven states competed, the team of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez earned ninth place and the teams of seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz, and sophomore Jack Moore and senior Zach Watts took 17th.   

At the Creekview tournament, all four teams that reached the elimination rounds were 3-0 in the preliminary rounds with wins over teams from Argyle, Coppell, Colleyville Heritage, Denton Guyer, Grapevine, Greenhill, McKinney Boyd, Saginaw, and St. Mark’s. Madden and Weigman lost to Coppell in the semifinals and Jackson and Tran lost to St. Mark’s in the other semifinal. In addition to the team awards, five debaters earned top-six individual speaker awards. Madden was named the tournament’s top speaker, with Griffiths (3rd), Weigman (4th), Holcombe (5th), and Tan (6th).

At the University of Texas tournament, Lee and Valdez finished the preliminary rounds with a 5-1 record with wins over teams from Austin Westwood, Round Rock, Victoria, and Caddo Magnet (La.). They beat Coppell in the first elimination round before losing to Hendrickson.  LoRocco and Ruiz, and Moore and Watts finished with a 4-2 record with wins over teams from Edmond (Okla.), Casaday (Okla.), Airline (La.), Houston Kinkaid, Hebron, Austin Westwood, and Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences before losing to Little Rock Central (La.) and Heritage Hall (Okla.) in the first elimination round.

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.

Debaters Deliver Strong Performance at Notre Dame/USC Invitational

The varsity debate team of seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz placed third, and the team of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez placed 17th at the Notre Dame High School/USC Invitational in Los Angeles where almost a 100 teams from 15 states spanning coast to coast competed in the three-day event.

LoRocco and Ruiz finished the preliminary rounds with a 5-1 record with wins over teams from Illinois, Arizona, California, and Texas. The duo defeated Rowland Hall St. Mark’s School (Utah) in the first elimination round, Head Royce School (Calif.) in the second and San Dieguito Academy (Calif.) in the quarterfinals before losing to Liberal Arts and Science High School from Austin in the semifinals.  

Lee and Valdez finished the preliminary rounds with a 4-2 record with wins over teams from New Hampshire, Washington, and two teams from Utah before losing to St. Vincent De Paul School (Calif.).

Debate Closes With Top 10 Finish at UNT invitational

The debate teams of sophomores Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, earned ninth place this past weekend at the University of North Texas Invitational. Fifty schools from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana competed in the two-day event. Griffiths and Holcombe were 4-1 in the preliminary rounds and Jackson and Tran were 3-2 in the preliminary rounds with wins over teams from Oklahoma City, Ruston (La.), Isidore Newman (La.), Prosper, Woodrow Wilson, and Hebron.