You quickly write down the opponent’s points down on paper, getting ready to stand up and respectfully correct two of their speeches and support your own within 8 minutes. You spent weeks preparing for this moment. You grab your papers, stand up and say “Roadmap will be solvency, advantage, disad, a counter plan. Is anybody not ready?”
Recently, the Jesuit debate team competed in three tournaments, the varsity Texas State Championships, and the JV/Novice Nationals in Atlanta.
At the JV/Novice nationals in Atlanta, Jesuit had a remarkable turnout with sophomore pair Jack Griffith and Jack Moore and sophomore/freshman pair Javier Arroyo and Garrett Nagorzanski both finishing 9th in their respective divisions. Along with this, Jesuit had 6 out of the top 20 ranked individual speakers, with Moore placing 6th and Griffith placing 16th in the second-year division. Adam Hall placed 3rd, Arroyo 4th, Nagorzanski 12th and Thomas Cluck 18th in the first year division.
Going into the tournament the debaters were understandably nervous. Garret Nagorzanski noted, “I was most nervous about the competitors at the tournament. There were several teams that are very good, and I wanted to make sure I was the most prepared I could possibly be to go up against them.”
No matter how nervous they were the novice debaters were undoubtedly prepared. Nagorzanski also said that “the coaches did a great job preparing us for the tournament, and the support and help from other teammates and varsity debaters contributed greatly to our performance.” After the tournament, all of the Novices walked away with something. “Overall I learned valuable information about debate that will help me in the future,” Nagorzanski noted.
The Novices are already prepping for next year. In reference to this group, Dr. McFarland described that ”having one team clear is a strong showing for any school. Many schools do not clear teams to the elimination rounds, so we were pleased with their performance. We also had 4 of the top 20 speakers in that division which is a plus.”
On the flip side of the event at the JV/Novice nationals, seniors Jake LoRocco and Beomhak Lee were also there as student judges and mentors. They assisted the Novice teams with strategy, and helped them keep a cool head in case they got nervous.
“Given that two novices teams were at the Nationals with two seniors, we divided and conquered the pre-round preparation for each novice teams” Lee ’17 noted. As for their judging, their hard work was rewarded at the end of the tournament when they received the awards for outstanding student judge.
Lee explained, “Best student judge/coach award is an award given to top 5 student judges/coaches out of the entire judging pool of the Woodward national tournament.” Jesuit was a debate powerhouse on both sides of the equation.
The varsity teams also had a large event in the Texas State Debate Championships. Jesuit was the only school to have 3 teams in the top 10, 5 teams in the top 20, and 10 debaters that earned All-State honors.
Specifically, the pairs of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez and seniors Emmanuel Ruiz and Zack Watts finished 5th. The team of senior Jake LoRocco and sophomore Jack Moore finished 9th, and the teams of junior Ben Miller and senior Greg Tan and sophomores Jack Griffith and Riler Holcombe finished 17th.
Leading up to the NDCA tournament, the teams prepped extensively, though no more than they always do. Valdez ’17 noted, “we would do extensive argument updating with research, block editing, and practice speeches.” For Valdez, the best part of the championships came even before their success. “We had a very good round 5 where our very qualified judge called [Lee’s] 2NR ‘flawless’ on the disadvantage which was a very important morale boost for us going into some tougher rounds.” In the end, Valdez summed it up “it was a good end to the season.”
The Jesuit Debate teams had a strong showing on all fronts and perfectly represented the school. Freshman Garrett Nagorzanski credited this success to the closeness of the teams. “The fact that we all want to see each other succeed is a large reason why Jesuit does well in debate.”
Beomhak Lee credits his personal success to his fantastic coaches: “People that I have to give credit to are obviously my coaches that challenged, helped, and changed my fundamental beliefs in life. Because of them, I was able to feel Jesuit debate team as like one family.”
Senior Alandro Valdez commented on his bittersweet feelings toward last tournament of debate, saying, “Over the last four years, debate has really been a large part of my life and now having it be over is saddening, as anyone would be when an important phase of their life is ending. I’m proud of the success that we had and I only wish the best for the rising juniors next year. Go Rangers!”
In short, Dr. McFarland says, debate is “the greatest sport on earth.”