Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your evidence and start your brain motors, debate season has indeed begun.
Opening the season at the Grapevine Invitational where over seventy teams from ten different states competed, James Ferrara ’14 and Jackson Pyke ’14 of the Jesuit varsity debate team cleared through the preliminary rounds with a 4-1 record, beating out teams from schools such as Tulsa Union High School, and Edmond North High School from Oklahoma, and Little Rock Central High School from Arkansas.
Jesuit had taken three varsity teams to the Grapevine Invitational. Ferrara, one of the seniors who competed in the tournament, explained how the tournament was set up. The elimination bracket began in the octofinals where a total of 16 teams out of the seventy-two or so who competed qualified for the elimination rounds that started on Saturday morning with the preliminary rounds beginning on Friday at 3 p.m. and ending at about midnight with the rest of the tournament taking place on Saturday morning from 7 to 1o a.m.. Ferrara mentioned that “Jackson and I went against a team from St. Mark’s in the first round of the single elimination finals. Because it was single elimination, we were dropped from the bracket when we lost.” Ferrara and Jackson Pyke were the only pair of the three Jesuit duos who qualified to enter the single elimination bracket. Jesuit ultimately took 9th place during the single elimination rounds, losing in the first elimination round to the eventual winner of the tournament, St. Mark’s. The debate season definitely looks promising this year with over ten tournaments arranged for the novice team alone. Jesuit will even be holding a novice scrimmage for schools in the area on October 12 as well as an official tournament on the weekend of February 7. The topic for all debates this season is whether or not “the United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela.”
Last weekend, the Newman Smith Invitational took place, hosting a tournament for varsity and novice teams from Texas and Louisiana. Jesuit took three varsity teams to the competition. The team of juniors Chandler Dawson and Bennett Harrison ended with a 3-1 record but did not enter the elimination rounds. Ferrara and Pyke placed third with a 4-0 record through the preliminaries. With some of the best teams in the country like Greenhill, St. Mark’s, and all those other well-known schools debating right here in the DFW metroplex, these tournaments are never a small feat.
Debate Team Coach Mr. Dan Lingel said, “We’ve had a nice start to the season. One of our senior teams [Ferrara and Pyke] is already halfway to qualifying for state. We are looking forward to October and November where we can really focus on state qualifying and novice competition starting.” I asked him about any final thoughts on the up and coming debate season. “We are excited about the squad this year. We have excellent senior leadership and a deep group of juniors, sophomores, and freshman.”