Perennially considered one the top programs in the state, Jesuit Debate picked up the 2017-2018 debate season right where it left off last year, showing the state that it is not playing around with a young squad but one teeming with talent and potential.
The beginning of the season poses so many questions for any sports team, and debate is not an exception; however, the debaters were confident that they have what it takes and can play with anyone this year. Junior teams Giovannie Ferrer-Falto ’19 and Ethan Jackson ’19, and Jack Moore ’19 and Riler Holcombe ’19 wasted no time in making a statement, with both teams reaching the quarterfinals and receiving points toward state tournament qualification in May. Ethan Jackson commented that “having the opportunity to qualify early in the Fall months is huge for the teams, so they don’t have to worry about it later on.”
The debaters also participated in a tournament at Greenhill and traveled to Washington D.C. to close out the September circuit debating against several teams in the Northeast. Dynamic duo Chris Tran ’19 and Jack Griffiths ’19 placed ninth out sixty teams while in D.C., losing in the octofinals. Chris Tran commented that while the tournaments “have a strong feeling of competitiveness, having success on a national level was huge for the overall confidence of the team in showing us that we have the ability to compete not only in the state but at the national level.”
The debate squad participated in four tournaments over the month of October, two of which were at St. Marks and Plano West. Sophomores Adam Hall ’20 and Garret Nagorzanski ’20 earned an elimination round berth in the Sophomore division at St. Marks, falling in the octofinals (Top 16). At Plano West, duo Ben Miller ’18 and Pete Weigman ’19 debated their way to a 4-0 record, falling in the quarterfinals of the eliminations rounds. Ashik Amar ’19 reflected on the month of October for Debate saying he feels “optimistic about the results so far, but also so much more motivated by the fact that we have a lot of room to improve and can really do some special things this year.”
The debate team capped off a busy October in a big way by winning the University of North Texas Invitational. Junior duos Riler Holcombe and Jack Moore, and Chris Tran and Jack Griffiths finished first and fifth place respectively. In an event that crossed state lines, both teams finished the preliminary rounds 4-1 and Jesuit garnered wins against teams from St. Marks, Athens, Mckinney Boyd, Shreveport Caddo Magnet, and Cassidy Oklahoma. In a twist, the Jesuit teams were set to play each other in the elimination bracket, but per league rules, if this occurs the higher seed advances, and Riler and Jack did not waste this opportunity and won the whole event. The Jesuit squad also received 3 individual speaker awards received by Jack Moore, Riler Holcombe, and Jack Griffiths. In addition to these awards, Riler and Jack received eight more crucial qualifying points for the state tournament and Tran’s team received two. Riler and Jack now have ten of the twelve state points needed to qualify for the tournament, and it’s only the end of October.
“The North Texas Invitational was great for the team’s morale because it allowed us to see our hard work being paid off, and receiving state qualifying points is always a plus; however, we still realize that we have a lot of work to do,” commented Chris Tran on this past weekend’s success.
Although the competition looks tough this year, Jesuit Debate’s young yet talented core looks like it can handle itself in one of the most competitive debate areas of the state.