Debate Duo Named National Champions

Congratulations to McDonogh’s dynamic duo of debate, Ryan J. and Nishad N. who brought home the trophy and the title of “National Champions” having won the prestigious Tournament of Champions over the weekend of April 29 to May 1 at the University of Kentucky. The Tournament of Champions, America’s foremost speech and debate competition, consistently determines the best team in the country.

According to Debate Coach Daryl Burch, “Teams must qualify to attend the tournament by participating in debate competitions around the country and placing high enough to gain what they call a ‘bid.’ It takes two bids to qualify for the Tournament of Champions (TOC). This year Ryan and Nishad had seven bids to the TOC, which was one of the highest bid counts in the country. They came into the tournament ranked third in the country, behind Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) and Peninsula in California.”

In the first two days of the competition, Ryan and Nishad debated seven preliminary rounds and ended with a 5-2 record to stay alive and enter into the elimination rounds that started on Monday, May 1. They won their octofinal round against an MBA team on a 3-0 decision, they won their quarter final debate against Damien High school on a 3-0 decision, and then won their semifinal debate against New Trier High School 2-1 to face Peninsula in the finals.

Burch explains, “Peninsula has been the dominant team on the national circuit all year winning nine tournaments and two of those against us. Our record against that team was 1-6 during the year. They were the only team that consistently beat us. We finally got our retribution, winning the national championship, in a unanimous decision announced at 12:15 Tuesday morning.”

With the victory, Ryan became the first African American to win the prestigious tournament. Additionally, he and Nishad were both ranked in the top five of individual speakers. The two seniors plan to continue debate on the college level. Ryan will be attending Emory University in Atlanta, GA and Nishad is heading to University of California, Berkeley.

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