SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s top debate team of seniors Leah Moczulski and Paul Kanellopoulos, both from Houston, rose one spot to become the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, according to the latest independent National Debate Coaches Poll that also moves Gonzaga up two places to become the nation’s No. 3 best debate school overall.
Gonzaga’s debaters just returned this week from a tournament at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Oct. 15-17 where some of the younger competitors fared well among the 70 some teams participating. In the Varsity division, the Gonzaga team of juniors Alexis DiSanza, of Pocatello, Idaho, and Tim Harper, Ashland, Ore., advanced to the elimination rounds as the No.15 seed. Freshmen Alexis Kostun, Austin, Texas, and Jordan Newton of Spokane posted a 4-3 record and advanced to elimination debates as No. 21 seed overall. Both Zags’ teams lost in the first elimination debate to teams from the University of North Texas and University of Texas, respectively.
In the Junior Varsity, Gonzaga’s team of freshman Paloma Cruz, Los Angeles, and sophomore Mitsu Gunsolus, Bellingham, Wash., went 4-3 in preliminaries before falling in the first elimination round to University of Denver.
It’s been a strong season thus far for the two Houston natives Moczulski and Kanellopoulos who captured third place in the Georgia State University National College Debate Tournament Sept. 16-19 in Atlanta. They posted a 5-3 record at the Kentucky Round Robin Tournament Sept. 28-29, open only to the top nine teams nationally, and they tied with Northwestern University for third place. In the Henry Clay Debates Oct. 1-3, Moczulski and Kanellopoulos posted an 8-0 record in the preliminaries, advancing to the elimination rounds as the No. 2 overall seed. After defeating Wayne State University, Northwestern, and Wichita State University, the Zags advanced to the semifinals where they lost to Georgetown, the tournament winner among 160 teams.
Harvard University will host Gonzaga’s next varsity tournament Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, followed by a Nov. 11-14 competition at Wake Forest University, and a Nov. 19-21 match-up at rival Whitman University in Walla Walla, Wash.
Individual Team Rankings
3. Michigan St
4. Michigan St
8. Wake Forest