KMC Crusade

Debate team achieves national ranking

Cooper Steiner, Web Editor

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The Kapaun Mt. Carmel debate program has enjoyed several years of recent success. This success has come on the local, regional and national stage. The team has earned its place in the high school debate world as a powerhouse.

“The team’s goals [this year] are really to just do the best we can at every tournament we go to,” junior Loic Rocheleau said. “Each person has their own individual goals they pursue throughout the season, but overall, everyone is just working to make sure every team gets as far as they can at every tournament they compete at, whether it is a national or a novice tournament.”

Returning from their Kansas City Kansas Community College tournament, senior Ben Engle, juniors Jacob Doolittle, Loic Rocheleau, Vanessa Nguyen, seniors Dominik Lett and Bobby Phillips, and sophomores Margaret Moore and Madison Rowley pose for a team picture with their trophies Nov. 5. photo courtesy of Ryan McFarland

So far this year, the team has continued to follow a model of success. Seniors Bobby Phillips and Dominik Lett recently won the Heritage Hall debate tournament in Oklahoma City. With this win, they qualified for The Tournament of Champions debate competition (a prestigious national debate tournament), which is held at the University of Kentucky every year.

“This year, the debate team has seen its greatest competitive success yet,” Phillips said. “This year we are aiming for a national and state title. The most important part of the debate team’s success is support from the Kapaun administration, faculty and student body. The community is instrumental to [KMC debate’s] current and future success.”

With last season’s debate coach, Mike Harris, leaving, there was an uneasiness left for a debate program that had gained national recognition. However, the new KMC debate coach, Ryan McFarland, has continued the team on a road to excellence, as shown by early success this season.

“[My favorite thing about being the debate coach] is getting to work with the young students and seeing them become successful,” McFarland said. “A lot of research [is required for success].”

As well, KMC debate has been in the national spotlight over the past few years. For The first time in its history the KMC debate program landed a team in the top 15 of the National High School Debate Coaches’ poll at No. 11 (as of Nov. 13).

At this time last year, the debate program was ranked number 33 in the country by the same poll. The rankings are sponsored by the University of Michigan and the coaches that vote come from all over the country. This fact makes the high ranking that much more impressive.

“Debate is an amazing and supportive community,” Phillips said. “For many students, debate is a home and a space for them to grow.”

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Debate team achieves national ranking