SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga University debate team picked up a few small victories in two different time zones last weekend (Jan. 22-24), placing second at the Denver University Debate Tournament and by advancing to the quarterfinals of the California State University-Fullerton Debate Tournament.
The freshmen teams of Chris Zhang and J.W. Trull and Alexis DiSanza and Tim Harper represented Gonzaga in Denver while junior Leah Moczulski and sophomore Paul Kanellopoulos traveled to Fullerton. In Denver both teams posted a 5-1 record in preliminary debates, advancing as the second and third seeds into the semifinals. The higher-seeded team of Zhang and Trull advanced to the final round where they debated the University of Wyoming. The senior team from Wyoming proved too tough in the finals, and Gonzaga claimed the second-place trophy.
“Overall, it was a very strong performance by the younger Zag debaters,” said Gonzaga debate coach Glen Frappier.
Meantime, in Fullerton, the team of Moczulski and Kanellopoulos posted a 5-1 record in the preliminary debates – losing only to Columbia University – and advanced to the elimination debates as the No. 4 seed. In the first elimination debate, the Zags defeated in-state rival and No. 13-seed Whitman College on a split decision. The Gonzaga debaters advanced to the quarterfinals where they suffered a mild upset by No. 5-seed University of Iowa.
“This was a great showing overall, despite the loss to a very talented Iowa team.”
The Zags will end their regular season Feb. 5-9 at the University of Texas. Then they will begin preparation for their conference tournament – hosted by Weber State University Feb. 25-28 – followed by the National Championship tournaments March 20-29 at University of California, Berkeley.
Finishing fall semester ranked No. 7 in the nation, Gonzaga slipped to No. 11 in the National Debate Tournament rankings after a few early spring losses. The performances this past weekend will likely send them back into the top 10 when the rankings are released later this week, Frappier said.