by Nicholas Diaz
From October to December, the Christopher Columbus Speech and Debate Team experienced massive success. The team traveled to Orlando, Gainesville, and even New Orleans to participate in competitions. It was a great first semester for the team, featuring national champions, finalists, semifinalists, and more.
Coach Gabriel De Tuya stated, "Debate saw a fantastically successful run in comparison to previous years."
The success began in early October at the Nova Titan Invitational in Davie. At Nova, the Lincoln-Douglas debaters experienced the most success. Junior Nicholas Diaz placed second in the Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate finals round and sophomore Matthew Moreno placed as a semifinalist in the same category and won third best speaker.
In late October, the team spent the weekend of Halloween at the University of Florida for the Florida Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament. Not one debater finished the tournament with a losing record. Notable finishes included senior Sebastian Santana as a Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking quarterfinalist, sophomore Luke Meinhardt as a Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate partial-octofinalist and 2nd best speaker, and Nicholas Diaz as a Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate partial-doubles finalist.
In November, part of the team was expected to compete at The Tradition in Weston, but the tournament was canceled due to hurricane conditions. However, the team was able to compete at the National Civics and Debate Championship in Orlando and achieve massive success. Senior Alan Munschy, the president of the team, placed 1st in Impromptu Speaking, becoming the NCDC National Champion in Impromptu. He also placed 18th in Congressional Debate. Other notable finishes in Impromptu Speaking included junior Nicholas Dominguez in 8th, Sebastian Santana in 23rd, and Nicholas Diaz in 35th. Other placers in Congressional Debate included sophomore Joseph Alonso placed an outstanding 7th, Nicholas Diaz placed 22nd, and sophomore Victor Barreda placed 34th. Out of the over 40 teams that competed, Columbus placed 5th.
Next was the TOC Digital Debate Series 1 in December, which was hosted online. This tournament was one of the more difficult ones during the semester, featuring some of the best debate teams in the country. However, Matthew Moreno finished as a doubles finalist in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate, a feat which was not easy to accomplish.
The semester came to an end with the Isidore Newman Invitational hosted in New Orleans, Louisiana. The trip proved to be worth it as the team came back with several awards and valuable experience. In Extemporaneous Speaking, sophomore Sven Stumbauer placed 2nd overall, which qualified him for a bid to the Tournament of Champions - this tournament is one of the most prestigious and competitive American high school speech and debate tournaments. In Impromptu Speaking, Sebastian Santana placed as a semifinalist. In Novice Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Luke Meinhardt placed as a semifinalist and won an award for 2nd best speaker. In Varsity Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Nicholas Diaz placed as an octofinalist. The Public Forum Debate teams also saw success. Sophomore Rene Coto and freshman Santiago Rodriguez placed as quarterfinalists in Novice Public Forum Debate. In Varsity Public Forum Debate, Joseph Alonso and junior James Sacher also placed as octofinalists. The team also had the opportunity to explore the city, visiting Loyola University, The National WWII Museum, Preservation Hall, the French Quarter, and the St. Louis Cathedral.
Overall, the Speech and Debate Team saw great success in October, November, and December. It will continue working hard to maintain this record of success in the months ahead and represent Columbus at tournaments in North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, and more.