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.