Debate Finishes the Season Successfully

The 2022 Chesterton Debate Season draws to a close, but with many accomplishments to show for it.

Gigi Hanner, Sandscript Author

The 2022 Debate season has come to a close, and Chesterton Debate had enormous success in their postseason the past two weeks. On January 22nd, the team took 5 out of the 6 National qualifying spots. Then, this past weekend, the team took 2nd place at the State tournament with 83.5 points. 

At the District tournament, students compete for a spot at the National Tournament in June. This particular competition is more individual performance based rather than the team as a whole. Debaters in Lincoln Douglas, Policy, and Public Forum battled for the top 2 spots at Penn High School. Chesterton saw 9 debaters earn their spot at Nationals, and the results are as follows: (national qualifiers are noted in bold)

    • Policy Debate:
      • Second Alternate: Gwen Lester and Katerina Markwart
      • First Alternate: Alaina McGrogan and Milena Letic
  • District Runners-up: Freedom Eiden and Riley Hawksworth
  • District Champions: Mark Jewison and Milena Veltri
    • Public Forum Debate:
      • Second Alternate: Zander Fish and Saanya Agarwal
      • First Alternate: Hamza Sahli and Ethan Kroft
  • District Runners-up: Sam Burris and Riste Miroski
  • District Champions: Emma Ekblaw and Sidney Pittman
    • Lincoln Douglas Debate:
      • First Alternate: Nathan Osborn
  • District Runner-up: Gretta Burke

Senior Policy debater Milena Veltri was happy with her performance at districts alongside her partner Mark Jewison. 

Going into the tournament, Veltri said: “I was so nervous, could not sleep for a day or two because I really wanted to do well. During the tournament though it was fine.”

As for the overall environment during the tournament, she said: “Honestly, it was a little more stressful, but once we got there, we were pretty focused on doing what we came to do.”

The district showing from Chesterton was excellent, and going into the state tournament, stakes were high, excitement was high, and the team worked incredibly hard the whole week leading up to the two day competition at Marian University. State and Districts are entirely separate entities in Speech and Debate. They are unrelated in the postseason, but both are very important. State marks the end of the season, while a good performance at districts marks the continuation of the season in the summer.

At State, there are 5 debate events represented. Besides Lincoln Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, students also compete for a state title in Congressional Debate and World Schools Debate. Below is Chesterton’s state roster, as well as their overall performance. 

In the World Schools Debate, two teams of 5 represented CHS. The team of Josh Fieffer, George Rone, Cailyn Hilliar, Jack Jessen, and Bennett Proffitt, and the team of Katie Pampalone, Lucas Koch, Natalie Nuñez, Gigi Hanner, and Carmen Thomas competed in three rounds on Friday and Saturday.

In Congressional Debate, 4 CHS debaters competed for the title, and 4 made it to elimination rounds. Their results are as follows:

  • Semifinalists:
    • Payton Whalen
  • Finalists:
    • 12th: Trina Gonzalez
    • 10th: Savannah Hutchinson
    • 4th: Peyton Day

In Lincoln Douglas, Nathan Osborn, Sophia Worden, and Emily Fleischacker competed, while one CHS debater broke into elimination rounds. In addition to qualifying for Nationals, junior Gretta Burke is top 4 in the state.

  • Semifinalists:
    • Gretta Burke

In Policy Debate, all 4 Chesterton Duos made it into elimination rounds, presenting an excellent showing overall at both state and districts.

  • Policy Debate:
    • Quarterfinalists:
      • Katerina Markwart and Gwen Lester
      • Freedom Eiden and Riley Hawksworth
      • Alaina McGrogan and Milena Letic
    • Semifinalists:
      • Mark Jewison and Milena Veltri

In Public Forum Debate, all 4 Chesterton partnerships made it into the break rounds. Their performance throughout the postseason run is incredibly impressive. Senior duo Emma Ekblaw and Sidney Pittman ended their state debate careers with a state championship, marking the first Chesterton win since 2011. The PF team’s results blew the competition out of the water in the postseason.

  • Quarterfinalists:
    • Riste Miroski and Sam Burris
    • Hamza Sahli and Ethan Kroft
  • Semifinalists:
    • Zander Fish and Saanya Agarwal
  • Finalists:
    • 1st: Emma Ekblaw and Sidney Pittman

After a 4th place finish at last year’s virtual state competition, the debate team is incredibly proud of their improvement and motivation to get farther than they did last year. Looking into the future, the National Qualifiers will compete in Louisville in June with the speech team. Additionally, on February 12th, the Congress debaters compete for their chance at Nationals. The Sandscript congratulates all of the debaters for their excellent season, and wishes them luck at District Congress!