New Heights: Speech and Debate Breaks Records at the Princeton Invitational

Chaminade speakers and debaters accompany John Michael Magloire ’18 to his semifinal round against Scarsdale’s Zoe Ewing.

By Sean Lochner ’19

The Robert C. Wright Speech and Debate team’s busy first trimester is quickly winding down.  After putting in the hard work required to train novices while giving top-notch performances at local tournaments, the team was ready to end its first trimester on a high note.  The team began preparing weeks ago for their latest challenge, the 20th Annual Princeton Classic.  All of their dedication came to a climax in this extremely difficult tournament featuring some of the best speakers and debaters in America, and the team was not disappointed in their performance.

After competing in the early rounds Friday and Saturday, the entire team waited to hear who would move on to elimination rounds Sunday morning.  The outcome was amazing, as Chaminade had a strong showing in numerous categories.  In debate, Grant Allen ’20 was a double-octo finalist in Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Timothy Franz ’19 competed in the first elimination round of Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  Furthermore, both Rory Mahon ’18 and Chris Boccia ’17 competed in the semifinal round of Student Congress.

Chaminade’s speech contestants gather together after their semifinal rounds.

In speech, Philip Dunne ’17 spoke in the semifinal round of Drama, Patrick McKenna ’18 competed in the semifinals of Humorous Interpretation, and Patrick Johnson ’17 spoke in the semifinals of Original Oratory.  Johnson, President of the Speech team, feels that “Chaminade’s display at the tournament was even better than expected.  The results showed the dedication and passion which drives all these kids to perform.”

On top of these fantastic performances, two Lincoln-Douglas Debaters made Chaminade history.  In Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate, sophomore Christian Borruso came in second place, beating all previous Novice Lincoln Douglas performances by the Flyers at this tournament.  Junior John Michael Magloire placed third place in Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate, which is the best that any Chaminade Varsity Lincoln Douglas debater has done at this difficult invitational tournament.  John Michael also set a new precedent that may have rippling effects on the entire debate community.  Many varsity debaters who advance very far at these large invitational tournaments in Lincoln-Douglas speak extremely fast and run obscure arguments, which is called progressive debating, as opposed to Chaminade’s traditional style of speaking at a normal pace.  John Michael’s performance proved that the growing feeling that conforming to the progressive style is a prerequisite to succeeding is false, as he earned himself one of two necessary bids to qualify for the Tournament of Champions in Kentucky.  

Christian Borruso ’19 and John Michael Magloire were awarded with trophies for their stellar performances.

John Michael commented, “This year at the Princeton Classic, the Chaminade debate team outperformed itself.  Despite facing tough competition from progressive debaters on the national circuit, we were able to take second place in Novice LD and third in Varsity LD.  This is great news for the team, as it demonstrates that our traditional debate program can compete with many other progressive debate programs.”  In the face of tough competition the team fought hard and succeeded in achieving the goal of attaining a strong start to the invitational season at this competitive tournament.  Christian Borruso said, “Despite facing some of the most talented speakers and debaters in the nation, the team exceeded expectations.  Our preparation, dedication, and drive to win led the team to a great performance.”  As the 2016-17 debate season continues, the team anticipates many more victories as well as more tough competition.