by Nicholas Diaz
The Columbus Speech and Debate team had a successful second semester competing at local, state and national circuit tournaments.
The success began in January at the Cavalier Invitational in Durham, North Carolina. Alan Munschy ‘23 finished in doubles in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas, while Luke Meinhardt ‘25 finished in semifinals in Novice Lincoln-Douglas. Meinhardt also placed as fourth best speaker overall. In Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking, Martin Seals ‘24 finished in semifinals, and Sven Stumbauer ‘25 finished third in finals. Seals also finished in semifinals in Varsity Impromptu, while Stumbauer finished fifth. In Varsity Humorous Interpretation, Victor Barreda ‘25 finished fourth.
The next tournament in January was the Barkley Forum hosted by Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. The Barkley Forum is known to be one of the most competitive tournaments on the national circuit. Despite its difficulty, the team saw success. Stumbauer finished in quarterfinals in Varsity Extemporaneous Speaking and in semifinals in Varsity Impromptu Speaking. In Varsity Lincoln-Douglas, Nicholas Diaz ‘24 finished in triples.
In February, the team saw immense success at the local level. At regionals or varsity state qualifiers, there was success in various different events as many debaters qualified to FFL Varsity states. In After Dinner Speaking, Nicholas Rojas ‘25 and Jorge Cereceda ‘25 finished in fourth and fifth, respectively. Stumbauer finished in fifth in Impromptu Speaking and first in Extemporaneous Speaking. The Duo Interpretation team of Alexander Valcarcel ‘24 and Victor Barreda finished in fifth overall. In Lincoln-Douglas, Munschy, Matthew Moreno ‘25, and Nicholas Gonzalez ‘23 finished in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. James Sacher ‘24 and Joseph Alonso ‘25 finished first in Public Forum.
At districts or national qualifiers, there were several district champions. Alonso and Sacher championed in Public Forum, and Diaz championed in Lincoln-Douglas. Sebastian Santana ‘23 championed in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, while Stumbauer championed in International Extemporaneous Speaking. Barreda championed in Humorous Interpretation and finished second in Dramatic Interpretation. Marco Cortes ‘25 finished second in Informative Speaking, and Bruno Barreiro ‘24 and Benjamin Corral ‘24 finished second in Policy Debate. All of the aforementioned debaters, along with the World Schools Debate team, qualified to NSDA Nationals.
The team also traveled to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Harvard National Forensics Tournament. In Junior Varsity Lincoln-Douglas, Gonzalez finished in triples.
In March, the team competed at several state level tournaments. At FFL Varsity States, Rojas finished sixth in After Dinner Speaking, and Stumbauer finished sixth in Impromptu Speaking and fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking. Barreda and Valcarcel also placed as semifinalists in Duo Interpretation. At FCDI States, the team saw much more success. In Varsity Impromptu Speaking, Munschy finished in first and Nicholas Dominguez ‘24 finished in fifth. In Varsity Extemporaneous Debate, Alonso finished in second; in Novice Impromptu Speaking, Juan Pablo Martinez ‘25 finished in third; and in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking, Michael Tabares ‘25 finished in third.
The team competed nationally again in April, traveling to the states of Kentucky and Texas. At the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Stumbauer competed at the Tournament of Champions, the most competitive and prestigious national circuit tournament. He was the only one from the team to qualify for the tournament. Despite not breaking through to elimination rounds, Stumbauer was the first Columbus debater to compete at the tournament in six years.
In Houston, Texas, the team competed at the Bluebonnet World Schools Debate International Tournament, which hosted teams from around the world. The Varsity teams, the Exploradores and the Adelanteros, finished with a 3-2 record. The Novice team, the Exploraditos, finished as semifinalists. Christian San Juan ‘25 finished as third best speaker, and Meinhardt finished as eighth best speaker. The team also won the award for most team spirit as the debaters displayed their C-pride.
Awaiting the team in May is the Columbus Speech and Debate awards ceremony on May 16th where awards and recognitions for the season will be presented. The team will spend the rest of May preparing for NSDA Nationals in June, which will be hosted in Phoenix, Arizona.