Lincoln-Douglas debate competitions pit one debater against another, and in the recent Loyola High School Invitational, Chaminade Speech and Debate Society (CSDS) sent two students to compete. While both juniors are primarily Varsity Policy Debate team competitors, Ronak Ahuja made it to the final round, and finished second; while Joey Thornhill was an octo-finalist.
Ahuja’s finish secured him a new national ranking of #14, and earned him a bid to compete at the National Tournament of Champions. He needs one more bid in order to compete nationally.
Premier Debate, a national institute specializing in Lincoln-Douglas Debate said of Ahuja, “But the true Loyola underdog that has everyone talking is Ronak Ahuja (#14 Nationwide)-Chaminade. On his path to the finals, Ronak defeated Emma Blum (#39)-Brentwood, Vishan Chaudhary (#32)-Harvard-Westlake, Rex Evans(#29)-Santa Monica, Alexandra Mork (#19)-Harvard-Westlake, Spencer Paul (#13)-Harvard-Westlake, and a quarterfinals revenge round victory against his only prelim loss Jake Davidson (#17)-Harvard-Westlake. Starting the weekend unranked, Ronak’s new national #14 ranking is well-deserved.”
In the first league Student Congress debate competition of the year, held in October at Hart High School, three Chaminade College Preparatory 9th graders were among the top finishers.
Jackie Mulcahy ’18, who is not a member of Chaminade Speech & Debate Society (CSDS), but takes intro speech and debate at Chaminade, earned first place in her house of congress. While new CSDS member, Kyle Hayes ’18 placed first in his house of congress. Another new CSDS member, Brandon Kim ’18, CSDS, finished third in his house of congress.
Both Jackie and Kyle were mentored by Andrea Herrera ’16, who successfully suggested her topic to abolish the death penalty. Andrea is in advance debate at Chaminade.
More than 1,500 miles away from West Hills, California Michael Everett ’15 faced a field of 440 competitors at the National Speech & Debate Tournament. He persevered through each round and was named the National Impromptu Speaking Champion in Overland, Kansas on Friday, June 20.
Just to get to the national tournament (#nats14), Everett had to place among the top at one of 110 district tournaments. Chaminade Head Speech Coach Robert Lebeda says, “The rest of the team has been filled with excitement and inspiration. Michael is one of the hardest working members on the team and he absolutely deserves this. They are even more excited for next year.”
Once again, Chaminade Speech & Debate Society took the Tri County Forensic League’s First Place Debate Sweepstakes Trophy, beating out more than 40 teams in the Southern California League. CSDS members also earned awards at the Speech Tournament held at Cleveland High School. Excellent Speaker Awards went to Bhaskar Suri ’16, Kayla Leister ’17, Nico Gargiulo ’15, Shea Thomas ’16, Grant Uberstine ’17, Kellen Gardner ’16, Maya Angulo ’17, Gabe Spound ’17, and Andrew Hays ’17. Superior Speaker Awards went to Axel Sarkissian ’15, Adriana Burga ’17, Noelle Johnson ’16, Brandon Marsh ’16, and Nico Gargiulo ’15. In addition, Andrew Hayes ’17 took second place in Original Prose and Poetry; Christopher Azarloza ’17 came in fifth place in Spontaneous Argumentation; Noelle Johnson ’16 earned sixth place in Impromptu; Jack Cheney ’17 placed sixth in Spontaneous Argumentation; and Dylan Ames ’17 took seventh place in Spontaneous Argumentation.
On October 26, Chaminade Speech and Debate Society (CSDS) competed in a league tournament held at Oaks Christian School. Out of 191 competitors,Jeremy Marsh ’16, Caleb Jancis ’17, and Andrew Slavin ’16 all took first place, going undefeated. In addition, Superior Debate Awards went to Dylan Ames ’17, Jeremiah Cha ’15, Tyler Andrews ’16, Leo Kim ’15, Ashlee Macalino ’15, Taryn Manaka ’17, Grant Uberstine ’17, Jack Cheney ’17, Taidze Banzon ’15, Nico Gargiulo ’15, Brandon Marsh ’16, and Patrick Sullivan ’15.
This year Chaminade added 56 new students to the CSDS team, bringing the total number of students on the team to 111. Team members attend labs after school every day of the week from 3 to 5 p.m., where they train for speech events and debate events. There are 17 different categories of competition and Chaminade is the only school in the league that offers training in all 17 categories.
CSDS ranks among the top five percent in the nation. Last year they scored 200 or more points, earning them a position in the National Forensic League’s prestigious 200 Club.
This summer, Mrs. Rosen, CSDS moderator and coach, will offer two, one-week classes, at the West Hills campus, for students interested in joining a speech and debate team.