The second half of the debate season is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

The Jesuit debate team, however, only found goods as they rode on the previous semester’s success and continued it during the second semester.


Before the semester had even begun, on January 5th-7th, Jesuit Debate sent 2 teams to Montgomery Bell Academy at Tennessee to compete with 51 one of the best teams in the country. After 2 days of 6 preliminary debates, senior team Riler Holcombe ’19 and Jack Moore ’19 gained 11th seed out of the 51 and junior-senior team Adam Hall ’20 and Chris Tran ’19 achieved 17th seed, barely missing out of the top 16 teams that would move onto the elimination round. Unfortunately for Jesuit, during their Octo-finals round, Holcombe and Moore lost to Greenhill on a 1-2 decision. Still, Moore was able to achieve 20th speaker out of the 102 debaters there.


On January 18-19, Jesuit Debate competed at Coppell, sending 5 big brother teams, teams consisting of a senior and a sophomore, and 2 sophomore teams in the Varsity division, along with two teams in the Novice division. After 4 preliminary rounds, in the Varsity division, big brother team Ethan Jackson ’19 and Joshua Ramos ’21 went 4-0, as well as big brother teams Holcombe and Francis Ko ’21, and Moore and Alejandro Meneses-Fish ’21, going 3-1 with those 3 teams breaking into elimination rounds.

After the quarter finals round, only Jackson and Ramos made it into the semi finals, losing to Greenhill on a 1-2 decision. Moore and Jackson were recognized among the top 10 speakers in the Varsity division. In the Novice division, both novice teams, Chris Martin ’19 and Aarin Jain ’22, and Sam Steffler ’22 and Luke Harrison ’22, broke into elimination rounds getting 4th and 3rd seed respectively. Unfortunately, both teams lost to Hebron and Highland Park in the quarter finals. All 4 Novice debaters were recognized among the top 10 speakers at the tournament.

Barkley Forum at Emory

On January 25th-27th, Jesuit Debate sent 2 teams to compete against 102 teams from around the country at the 64th Barkley Forum at Emory University, a tournament that Jesuit has been competing in since the 1960s. After 2 days of 6 preliminary rounds, senior team Moore and Holcombe won 5 rounds and were seeded 5th.

Junior-senior team Garrett Nagorzanski ’20 and Jack Griffiths ’19 won 4 rounds and were seeded 34th, two spots away from breaking into elim rounds. During the elimination rounds, Moore and Holcombe won their first round against Little Rock Central 2-1, but unfortunately lost their next round on a 0-3 decision to North Star Academy. Both Moore and Holcombe were recognized among the top 30 speakers out of the 204 debaters present.


On February 1-2, Jesuit sent 6 teams in the Varsity division and 4 teams in the Novice division to compete at Colleyville, a national tournament with teams competing from Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

After 2 days of 5 preliminary rounds, all 5 teams were able to break into elimination rounds in the varsity division with all teams being within the top 16 of 65. After the octo finals, only Holcombe and Moore and Griffiths and Nagorzanski made it into the quarter finals with Holcombe and Moore being the only team that broke into the semi finals, unfortunately losing to Coppell on a 1-2 decision. Both Moore and Holcombe were recognized among the top 5 speakers at the entire tournament.

In the Novice division, Jain and Martin won 4 of the preliminary rounds, making them 3rd seed and breaking them into elimination rounds. In the quarter finals, Jain and Martin won on a 3-0 decision versus Casady, proceeding them into the semi finals where they unfortunately lost to the Liberal Arts and Science Academy on a 0-3 decision. Jain, Martin, and Ethan Beyer ’22 were recognized among the top 20 debaters in the Novice division with Jain awarded top speaker.


On February 7, Jesuit sent two teams, Drew Campbell ’21 and Nick Badovinus ’21 and Martin and Jain, to compete at UIL districts to qualify for UIL state. After 3 preliminary rounds, Campbell and Badovinus won all three rounds with Martin and Jain winning two.

Campbell and Badovinus broke into elimination rounds as second seed but unfortunately lost to Plano West Sr. However, Campbell and Badovinus beat Prosper on a 3-0 decision to gain 1st runner-up to qualify for state as well as 3rd place at the tournament. Jain was awarded 3rd speaker at the tournament.


On February 16-18, Jesuit debate sent 6 teams to compete against 201 teams from around the country at UC Berkeley. After 2 days of 6 preliminary rounds, only senior teams Moore and Holcombe and Jack Madden ’19 and Pete Weigman ’19 and junior-senior teams Nagorzanski and Griffiths and Tran and Hall broke into the elimination rounds.

After the triple octo finals, only Holcombe and Moore and Nagorzanski and Griffiths made it past the triple octo finals, with Holcombe and Moore winning on a 3-0 and Nagorzanski and Griffiths winning on a 2-1. Unfortunately, both teams lost to Greenhill and Montgomery Bell Academy on 3-0 decisions. Griffiths, Holcombe, Moore, and Nagorzanski were recognized among the top 40 teams out of the 402 debaters that were competing.

Expectations for Post-Season Tournaments

As these tournaments come to an end, Jesuit Debate is preparing for the couple of major tournaments that are coming up.

Debaters and coaches alike have high hopes going into the two post-season tournaments that we have. Kyle Cribbins ’21, one of the 4 sophomores that were able to qualify for state, commented that “I expect we’ll do very well in the post-season. Hopefully we can clear at TFA State and NDCA.”

When asked about the state tournament, Mr. Lingel said, “I’m very very excited that we qualified 8 teams in the first time in the history of the school. We’re also the most of any one school and have the most qualifications, which is the first time that I’ve been coaching. To be the largest entry is exciting.” He’s very hopeful for the 8 teams that have qualified and is optimistic that all teams will be within the top 32 teams that will break into elimination rounds.

However, the state tournament is the tournament where anything can happen. Dr. Lingel has said that he and Dr. McFarland, the main coaches, are implementing a system that will help us win the state and national tournament that we are competing in. Regarding the National tournament. Mr. Lingel acknowledged how “it’s been a real exciting year for all of our seniors and our very very competitive senior and junior teams. Our goal will be to try to make history[;]we’ve never won nationals, [the] best we’ve done is 3rd. All teams qualified have good potential at making a good run.”

“This year, Nationals is expected to be even more competitive for us because many of the teams that we are competing against at state, Greenhill, Coppell, Westwood, Woodlands, etc., are competing and it’s located in Chicago which is a very popular destination.”

For those not going to a post-season, this season was still very educational. As Ethan Williams ’21 says, “This season has reshaped my ontology in terms of knowing the background behind the content that I learned and why, and also getting better at the substance of debate.”

As Jesuit continues riding into the post-season, the Debate team has the State tournament where Jesuit is bringing 8 teams, the most Jesuit has ever sent to state, and the National Debate Coaches Association Tournament, our final and biggest national tournament that we compete in.

Stay tuned to the Roundup to keep up with Jesuit Debate’s success!