ATLANTA – Gonzaga University’s top debate team of seniors Leah Moczulski and Paul Kanellopoulos advanced to the Final Four of the National Debate Tournament April 2 before losing 3-2 to Northwestern University. Moczulski and Kanellopoulos, both from Houston, became the first team in school history to advance to the Final Four.
The debaters had secured one of 16 first-round, at-large berths issued to the nation’s best teams. Their season-ending finish coincides with their No. 4 ranking in the nation in a coaches’ poll. The NDT, hosted by Emory University, started out with the nation’s best 72 teams.
“Well, it was a great run,” said Gonzaga debate Coach Glen Frappier. “Without a doubt this has been one of the strongest years in the history of our program and the most exciting of my coaching career. We will take a couple weeks off, say a proper goodbye to our departing seniors, and then get back to work preparing for 2012-2013. Go Zags!”
Frappier was honored by the NDT during opening ceremonies with the George Ziegelmueller Award endowed by Wayne State University alumni to honor its former debate coach of more than 30 years. The award has been presented annually since 1999 to a distinguished faculty member involved in debate.
Frappier called the award “a huge honor and one that was completely unexpected.”
This year’s Final Four of college debate also marked the first time three Jesuit schools advanced to the Final Four. In addition to Gonzaga, a No. 4 seed, the two other Jesuit schools that advanced to the Final Four were No. 2-seed Loyola Marymount University and 3-seed Georgetown, which won the national title.
Gonzaga’s freshman team of Alexis Kostun, from Austin, Texas, and Spokane’s Jordon Newton also competed in the National Debate Tournament after finishing in the top three at the district’s qualifying tourney at Weber State University.
This marked the 16th consecutive year Gonzaga has qualified at least one team for the NDT and underscores the consistent excellence that has become a hallmark of the program.
For more information, please contact Glen Frappier, director of forensics and senior lecturer for the communication arts department, at (509) 313-6663 or via e-mail.