Chesterton Tribune



CHS Debate team is state runnerup

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Chesterton Debate came within a half of a point of extending its state championship streak to six consecutive titles; instead Chesterton settled for a second-place finish. West Lafayette, Chesterton’s primary rival, took home their third title in the last sixteen years, based upon an exceptional performance in Lincoln-Douglas and World School debate.

Chesterton took home one individual title out of the five events. Junior Ben Hoham and his sophomore sister Hattie Hoham defeated a team from Penn High School by a 5-0 decision to win the state championship in policy debate. This is the second consecutive title for Ben Hoham in this event after he partnered with Matt Jewison to win the previous title. “To our knowledge, this is the first sibling combination to ever win a title in Indiana debate,” said coach Chris Lowery.

Ethan Dibble and Ryan Donovan, both sophomores, came in third place, after being defeated by the same team from Penn in the semifinal round. Until that point, Dibble and Donovan were the number one seed and had amassed a perfect 9-0 record with the judges. JD Cory and Devin Michael, two seniors, finished their career as quarterfinalists, or top eight in the state. The policy topic for this year was reducing restrictions on immigration to the United States. The Hohams argued a case all year that would reduce restrictions upon victims of human trafficking to the US; they represented that case on the affirmative side in the final round. Madi Simms and Gianna Galante narrowly missed the elimination portion of the tournament.

CHS ‘broke’ all four of its Public Forum entries into the elimination portion of the tournament. With the event beginning at 45 entries, that alone was quite the accomplishment. This was the only instance of a school advancing four entries into an elimination event. The following teams made it to quarterfinals (top 8) before being knocked out: Grace Whah and Emily Krygoske, Kardiay Kirk and Rhianna Ritz, Azeez Lakhani and Sofia Winski. Nick Hanson and Luke Vetrotsky finished as octafinalists (top 16). Lakhani and Kirk graduate in the spring, while Whah, Kryoske, Ritz, Winski, and Hanson are all juniors and Vetrotsky is a sophomore. The teams debated whether the U.S. should prioritize reducing national debt or promoting economic growth. The final round was won by a team from Munster HS who defeated Hamilton Southeastern in the final.

Sid Augustyn, a junior, came in fourth overall in Congressional debate; this was with a field that started with 67 contestants. The event was won by a competitor from Fisher’s high school. Augustyn was the only Chesterton student that advanced to the final round. Mark Jewison, Finn Babjak, and Rebecca Mueller all survived the preliminary chambers but were unable to advance past the semifinal round.

Chesterton advanced both of its World School debate teams to the elimination rounds, but was subsequently eliminated in Quarterfinals (top 8). The first team was comprised of Elia Livovich, Kylie Brickley, Nathan Osborn, and Ian Quinn. The second team was made up of Branden Wong, Owen Cowsert, Tim Wheeler, Shae Hisaw, and Milena Veltri. World School is unique in its ability to switch out competitors each and every round depending upon the topic that is selected. Fisher’s high school won its third consecutive title in this event after defeating West Lafayette in the final round.

CHS’s Lincoln-Douglas team missed out on the elimination rounds after splitting most of their preliminary rounds. L-D had the most competitive entry field, with 55 contestants vying for the cutdown to the top 16 for Octas. West Lafayette closed out the final round in this event. CHS competitors in this event were Elli Didonna, Zachary Mullins, Jonathan Sumita, and Bella Auricchio.

Chesterton’s debate team is coached jointly by Chris Lowery and Joshua Coots, both Social Studies teachers at CHS. Dakota McCoy, an English teacher and Speech team coach, served as the coach for the World School entries. Alumni and parents Heather Augustyn, James Vincent, Hunter Warren, Eric Richardson, Quinlan Doolin, Katelyn Balakir, Hayden Hodge, Connor Wantuch, Nathan Burris, Aaron Drew, and Andrea Drygas served as judges and mentors to the current team.

CHS has won 26 state team titles. CHS has not finished lower than second place since 1997, when it finished in fifth place.



Posted 1/28/2019




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