Sage Ridge Debate Team at Wooster High School

  • Sage Ridge Spotlight
  • Speech & Debate
Marnie Sturm

Greetings, Debate Fans!

With a record-setting 23 students in action, SRS caused major damage at our latest tournament at Wooster High School on 16 October 2021. We amassed 41 wins on the day, had two Top Speaker awards, and placed 1-2 in two divisions (known as "closing out."). It has been several years since SRS closed out an event, and in this tournament we earned this distinction in both Senior and Novice divisions of Public Forum. This is a great achievement for our small school. 

Senior Public Forum:

Kevin Lu '23 and Maddy Dutton '23 had an incredible tournament and were able to win every ballot in both prelims and finals. Both of these debaters have competed since 9th grade, and they put together their finest performance to date at Wooster. One judge mentioned that they "controlled the round from start to finish." Look for these two to continue their success as a powerful PF pairing. Amazing! 

Our leadership comes from seniors Adeline Guinasso '22 and Gil Patterson '22 and in this tournament they were a steady presence as they supported the entire team. They were a perfect 4-0 in the preliminary rounds, and then won the semifinal with a 3-0 sweep of the judges' ballots. It was only Maddy and Kevin that were able to match them in the final round. This was Adeline's first attempt at a team event and this strong pairing is poised for continued success. Excellent work!

Lexie Wang '23 partnered with classmate Alex Zhang '23 as the two worked together in PF for the first time. Even with minimal preparation for this event, they were able to win their first round and go 1-4 on the day. Although Lexie is new to PF, in one round she was voted the best speaker among the two teams. These two have a good foundation and will have more success in the future. Well done!  


Novice Public Forum:

Joss Wilson '24 and Parsa Valdez '24 teamed up for the first time in a PF round and ended up winning the event in convincing fashion. Joss's 111 speaker points were outstanding, and Parsa was not far behind with 109. Although they dropped their first round in prelims, they were a perfect 5 for 5 to finish the day, and did not drop a single ballot on their way to this impressive tournament win. Excellent work! 

Two more Sophomores, Chris Zhao '24 and Ethan Wu '24, joined forces for the second time and made huge strides by going 3-1 in prelims, winning their semifinal round, and ultimately finishing runners-up to Joss and Parsa in finals. Most impressive was Ethan's top 10 finish with 105 speaker points, a huge improvement over his first competition a month ago. Great job!  

Following up their Middle School debate success, Sitara Reganti '25 and Kate Clemetson '25 had an amazing day in their first High School debate by going 4-0 in prelims and making it all the way to the semifinals. They gave Chris and Ethan a very strong challenge and lost in a 2-1 split decision by the three judges. These two 9th graders ended up tied for 3rd place in speaker points with 110 apiece -- wow! -- and 3rd place overall. This strong tournament was just the beginning for these two competitors. Fantastic! 

Two more 9th grade competitors with Middle School experience, Andrew Barth '25 and Caleb Mulvaney '25, were back in the finals for the second straight tournament. Although they were not able to match Parsa and Joss in the semifinals, Caleb came away with the top speaker award with 113 speaker points, while Andrew finished in the top ten with an impressive 107.  They come away tied with Sitara and Kate for 3rd place. Great work!

Libby Mulvaney '23 and Malina Jeffery '23 went 3-1 in prelims and for the second straight tournament only narrowly missed breaking to finals. They improve with every round and there is no doubt in my mind that these two are headed to finals in their next tournament. Libby's 103 speaker points is an improvement from last month's tournament, and with this second strong 3-1 finish this team is the odds-on favorite to be our next tournament winner. Well done!  

Huxley McKenzie '25 and Dylan Phares '25 competed for the first time in PF and although they did not get a win this time out, they improved with each round and gave their more experienced opponents a good challenge each time. Their ballots tell the story of their improvement: while they only earned a combined total of 41 speaker points in their first round, by round 4 they were up to 50. I am sure they will carry on this momentum into next month's tournament. Great job! 


Lincoln Douglas:

Zoe Dixon '24 had a strong day competing in LD and emerged as our highest ranked speaker with 105 points and a 2-2 record. One judge remarked on her "great cross-ex questions and nice use of them in [her] constructive case." This is Zoe's second year in LD and it is just a matter of time until she works her way into finals. Well done!

Just behind Zoe with 104 speaker points was Murron Polk '24 who also finished 2-2 on the day. In one round, her judge was impressed with her "great job of laying out [her] case" and her organization during the round. Another mentioned her "excellent turn" of a point to her favor. Murron is gaining experience with each debate and is very likely to break into finals at her next tournament. Keep up the good work!  

Tied with Murron with 104 speaker points and a top-10 speaker finish was new LD debater Nanki Sandu '25, who like her teammates finished the day at 2-2. Her judge gave her rave reviews in one round: "Fantastic constructive speech. Great presentation. Clear argumentation. Good use of evidence both to support your case and attack your opponent." It does not get much better than that. Excellent work!

Scarlett Lopiccolo '25 also went 2-2 on the day and made good progress in LD. One judge was so impressed with her performance that he confessed that he didn't "have too much to give [her] in the way of feedback" as he explained why she was the winner. Scarlett has a very clear path forward as an LD debater and is a strong candidate to break at our next tournament. Well done! 

In her first ever debate competition, Faith Reed '25 went 2-2 in a very strong outing in LD. Her judge in one round said that she "loved the pace [Faith] speaks at" and her attention to the value debate. This solid finish represents real ability in LD, and as a 9th grader, Faith should feel very confident about this solid performance. Great work!


Special Thanks To:

Dr. Tara McGann, who was our lone faculty representative at the tournament. She not only put in a 13 hour day supporting the team, but covered judging duties as well. The team owes her a great deal of gratitude for her leadership today. Thank you!

Parent judges Season Lopiccolo (Scarlett's Mom), Kevin Dixon (Zoe's Dad), and Gina Barth (Andrew's Mom). Your participation makes this great activity possible. Thank you!


Mark Your Calendars: Next up is McQueen on November 20. 

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