Jesuit Dallas was just one of six schools across the state to qualify five teams for the 2018 TFA State Championships in La Vernia, Texas, and the Rangers made the most of their contingent, placing two teams inside the top 10 and two more teams in the top 20 against the best debaters in the state.
The team of juniors Riler Holcombe and Jack Moore, and juniors Jack Griffith and Chris Tran, each placed in the top 10 to mark the 17th time in the last 20 years that Jesuit Dallas has posted at least one team in the top 10 of what is widely considered one of the toughest state tournaments in the country. Additionally, the result, along with top 20 finishes by the teams of juniors Gio Ferrer-Falto and Ethan Jackson, and sophomore Max Arroyo and senior Ben Miller, extended Jesuit’s remarkable streak of 19 consecutive years with a team inside the top 20.
Two hundred and twenty five schools competed in the three-day event at La Vernia High School, and Jesuit Dallas joined Greenhill and Austin Westwood as the only schools to finish with four teams in the top 20.
In the preliminary rounds, Griffith and Tran were a perfect 5-0, picking up wins over teams from Austin Liberal Arts and Science School, Houston Dulles, Hendrickson, and San Antonio Reagan, as well as a victory over Hebron in the first elimination round.
Losing to top seed Austin Westwood, Holcombe and Moore also fell in the second elimination round, but not before posting preliminary round victories over teams from Galveston Ball, Houston Kinkaid, Prosper, and a second team from Austin Westwood. The duo defeated yet another Westwood team in the first elimination round.
Like Holcombe and Moore, Ferrer-Falto and Jackson also finished the preliminary rounds with a 4-1 record, while Miller and Arroyo posted three preliminary round wins. The junior team of Jack Madden and Pete Weigman posted wins over teams from Sudan and Prosper but did not qualify for the elimination rounds.
Jesuit Dallas, which expects to place a contingent at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championships in Atlanta, is regarded as one of the most decorated programs in the state, and has won four Texas Forensic Association State Debate Championships since 2000, including back-to-back state titles in 2010 and 2011.