SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University junior debater Leah Moczulski, from Houston, has been named Debater of the Year for National Debate Tournament District II, which includes the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. Also GU assistant debate coach Steve Pointer was named the district’s best critic/judge.
Moczulski’s honor was based on a vote of all the district’s coaches, while the district’s debaters voted to honor Pointer. Gonzaga freshman Mitsu Gunsolus finished second in the balloting for District Newcomer of the Year, won narrowly by Nate Munger, University of Puget Sound.
“As with all our successes, these individual awards are the result of a strong team effort,” said Glen Frappier, Gonzaga’s debate coach. “We’re very proud of Steve, Leah and Mitsu.”
Gonzaga’s debaters are spending their Spring Break this week preparing for the 63rd annual National Debate Tournament set for March 24-28 at the University of Texas, Dallas.
Moczulski and junior Paul Kanellopoulos, also of Houston, comprise Gonzaga’s top debate team that has earned one of 16 highly coveted first-round, at-large berths to the National Debate Tournament, college debate’s national championship. A panel of coaches picked the teams at the conclusion of the regular season.
“What Leah and Paul accomplished is something very few college debaters can claim,” Frappier said. The bid means the team of Moczulski and Kanellopoulos has earned one of the top 16 seeds in the national championship tournament and won’t have to compete in the District Qualification Tournament to qualify for the national tournament.
This qualification marks the 15th consecutive year that GU has qualified at least one team to the NDT, a feat few schools can claim, Coach Frappier said.
“This is quite an accomplishment and I am proud of not just Leah and Paul, but all of our debaters who have played such a huge role in the research and preparation it took for Leah and Paul to reach these heights,” Frappier said.
Gonzaga’s debate team is ranked No. 10 in the nation in the most recent coaches’ poll and No. 25 in the nation in the latest National Debate Tournament rankings
For more information, please contact Gonzaga debate Coach Glenn Frappier at (509) 313-6663 or via e-mail.