GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
Gonzaga University debaters will have a holly-jolly Christmas this year, joyous and grateful that their hard work during fall semester has resulted in being ranked the No. 7 best team in the nation by the National Debate Tournament.
Most recently, junior Leah Moczulski and sophomore Paul Kanellopoulos won five of the six preliminary rounds to advance to eliminations in the Franklin R. Shirley Classic, hosted by Wake Forest University Nov. 21-23. The pair defeated the Longhorns from the University of Texas to make it to the final 16 of 145 teams competing in the tourney.
Earlier in November, the team brought home nine awards at a district tournament hosted by Whitman College in Walla Walla. Freshmen Alexis DiSanza and Tim Harper won all of their preliminary rounds, rare for a freshman team, and advanced to the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed overall before losing in a split decision to a Whitman team.
Moczulski and Kanellopoulos and the Zags’ team of seniors James Joseph and Abraham Corrigan defeated two other Whitman teams on unanimous decisions in the semifinals to capture first- and second-place in the varsity division. When two teams from the same school meet in the finals, as was the case in this tournament, no debate occurs. First place was awarded to the higher-seeded team of Moczulski and Kanellopoulos; Joseph and Corrigan (technically) placed second.
Gonzaga debaters also captured five of the top six individual speaker awards and Moczulski was named the tournament’s top overall speaker.
“This has been a great semester for the team,” said Joseph, Gonzaga’s team captain. “We finished strong, which gives us momentum for going into the second semester.”
Earlier in the season, Corrigan and Joseph were undefeated (7-0) at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Round Robin where they were named the top two speakers. In addition, Gonzaga debaters Jim Sydnor and Andrew Myers received second place at the James M. Rupp Debates hosted by Idaho State University. The debating Zags look forward to the rest of the season when spring semester starts in mid-January.
“The team has had a great fall semester and it has really put us where we want to be heading into the spring semester,” Moczulski said.
Following are the most recent NDT National Rankings.
1. Northwestern University
2. Emory University
3. Liberty University
4. University of California – Berkeley
5. University of Kansas
6. University of Oklahoma
7. Gonzaga University
8. Kansas State University
9. Missouri State University
10. Cornell University
11. Binghamton University
12. University of West Georgia
13. George Mason University
14. University of Texas (Dallas)
15. Baylor University
16. Michigan State University
17. University of Southern California
18. University of Georgia
19. University of Texas (Austin)
20. Harvard University
21. University of Central Oklahoma
22. Wake Forest University
23. California State University – Fullerton
24. Mary Washington University
25. James Madison University