School successfully defended their IHSFA state title against a tremendous
challenge from West Lafayette over the weekend.
The final margin of
89 to 87.5 was one of the narrowest differences in the history of the event,
which has awarded a team state championship every year since 1983. This is
the CHS team’s 25th State title in Debate.
“We knew that we
had a team capable of winning this state title, but we also felt that the
kids from Munster and West Lafayette were equally deserving” said Program
Director Chris Lowery. “We had talked at the beginning of the season about
how we wanted to go about our defense, and it included a goal of not only a
team state championship, but individual titles to go along with it.”
The team delivered
in a big way, not only winning two of the four individual events, but by
‘closing out’ both of those finals, reminding everyone of how dominant the
Chesterton team was all year.
Lincoln-Douglas debate. The philosophical event saw CHS students Abby Burke
and Eric Zhong square off in the final round. The topic was ‘just
governments ought to force employers to pay a living wage.’ Burke
represented the negative position and won on a 3 - 2 decision. This was
Burke’s second consecutive state championship in Lincoln-Douglas, a feat
that has only been done once in the history of the IHSFA competition. “It
was incredible how Abby Burke tackled the defense of her title all year
long, it was more than any coach could have ever asked for,” coach Shane
nearly every tournament this year, Burke amassed a record of 45 - 5 in
Indiana competitions. Burke was also named the IHSFA Brittain Award winner
for Mental Attitude, the only award that is voted on by the executive board
of the organization. This was the school’s eighth state championship in the
Not to be forgotten
was the performance of fellow senior Eric Zhong. Zhong was a semifinalist in
Lincoln-Douglas last year and dominated this tournament to secure his berth
in the final round. Lincoln-Douglas was the largest, and therefore the most
difficult to break into elimination rounds, of the four events.
“We are honored
that these two competitors have pushed each other to get better every day in
practice and at tournaments, and we are really excited that both are
representing the team at Nationals this summer,” said Lowery. The
Lincoln-Douglas event is co-coached by Shane Smith and Josh Coots.
It was juniors who
stole the stage in Policy Debate, the IHSFA’s oldest event. Policy debate
pits two teams against each other on a resolution that they have had for an
entire year. The team of Tim Vincent and Joel Peterson defeated teammates
Nathan Poczekay and Fred Owens in the final round. This year’s topic is on
the US Federal Government ocean development policies. Vincent/Peterson
represented the negative position against the Poczekay/Owens case advocating
for the creation of a coral reef conservation/restoration policy.
Vincent/Peterson were dominant throughout the entire tournament, winning 19
out of the 20 decisions rendered in their rounds. This is the 16th state
championship in the event for the school.
teams dominated the entire event, only dropping one decision in the
preliminary rounds. Senior’s Katherine Bolek and Nadia Mario earned third
place for the second consecutive year, while teammates Alex Genetski and
Mark Wilcox were upset in the Quarterfinal round by a West Lafayette team
running a new case that the team was unprepared for. The event is coached by
Chris Lowery. “All of our scenarios for winning the team title involved us
dominating the event of policy, and our kids delivered beyond our incredibly
high expectations. I am most proud of how the team worked together after
Genetski/Wilcox saw the new case and worked as a team to prepare so
effectively in a small window of time to beat it in the semifinals and seal
the tournament championship,” Lowery said.
Chesterton had a
decision overturned on an evidence technicality in Public Forum
quarterfinals, which could have blown the tournament wide open. Chesterton’s
team of Matt Eggers and Nate Burris had defeated a West Lafayette team until
the technicality was revealed. After a two hour delay, the decision was
reversed and West Lafayette moved on to claim three of the top four spots in
the event, with Munster placing the runner-up team.
“It is unfortunate
that the decision went the way that it did and although our team personally
did nothing wrong, we are responsible for all of the evidence that we read
in round. In our mind, Matt and Nate were the favorites for the state title
all year long and it is unfortunate that someone else’s mistake cost them
the chance to decide it ‘on the field.”
the one seed coming out of the preliminary rounds and had not lost a
decision by a judge all tournament long. Sophomores Hayden Hoge and Johny
Mario were quarterfinalists (top 8) in the event and were eliminated by the
eventual state champions from West Lafayette. Savannah Tipton/Eric
Richardson and the team of Kevin Jugovic/Eli Winski were both Octafinalists.
There are two
competitions within the event of Congressional Debate; one for the
Representatives and one for the Presiding Officers, a group of students who
utilize Robert’s Rules of Order to facilitate the debate.
Officer competition is decided by a student vote, making this event nearly
impossible for Chesterton to win, since, according to Congress coach Josh
Coots, “no one wants to give Chesterton points.”
This year was the
exception as senior JP Pritchard advanced to the final round and won the
award for Outstanding Presiding Officer in the Senate. Although the point
total that a presiding officer can amass is significantly smaller than the
championships in other events, the difference between the semifinal round,
which Pritchard made last year, and this year’s final round performance was
the exact difference between first and second place for the team title.
make the final round chamber of Congressional Debate and then work as
representatives to pass or block legislation. Freshman Sophie Burke was the
only Chesterton member to make the final round, but did not receive an
individual placing in the top eight. Andrea Drygas, Hunter Warren, and Paul
Petro all made it to semi-finals.
The team also
included competitors Katrina Balon and Galen Wong as well as student
helpers/observers: Eddie Young, Katie Green, Liz Bolek, Connor Wantuch,
Creighton Gaff, Hannah Geiss, and Gavin Scott. The judging was done by
parents and alumni.