Gonzaga University junior debaters Grace Saez (Las Vegas) and Nick Bormann (Spokane) advanced to the final round before losing to a talented University of Southern California team to finish second in their first regular-season debate this year.
Saez was named the 10th overall individual speaker at the tournament hosted Sept. 22-25 by the University of California at Berkeley. More than 40 other colleges and universities were represented at the tourney, including University of Redlands, Stanford University, Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles, University of Idaho, Pepperdine University and others.
Meantime, highly recruited freshmen debaters Abe Corrigan and James Joseph combined their considerable talents to advance to the varsity field of 16 before losing 2-1 to U.C. Berkeley. Corrigan, a religious studies major from Glenview, Ill., was named the No. 9 best overall varsity speaker (from approximately 80 competitors). Joseph, a political science major from San Diego, and Corrigan were among three GU varsity debate teams that competed at the tournament and advanced to its elimination round; Gonzaga also was represented by one junior varsity team. Corrigan and Joseph both had turned down multiple offers to debate for Gonzaga.
“It will not be long before Abe and James will be among the very best teams in the nation,” said GU Coach Glen Frappier. “Our performance at the tournament exceeded all my expectations, including a second-place finish in the varsity division.”
Sophomore political science majors Melissa Hanna, from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Brent Hamilton, from Tualitan, Ore., defeated California State University at Fullerton 2-1 and advanced to the varsity quarterfinals before losing 3-0 – also to a USC team. Hamilton has emerged as one of the “hardest-working” debaters Gonzaga has had in many years, said Frappier. Freshmen Dan Peck (honors program; Helena, Mont.) and Desean Garnett (Puyallup, Wash.) posted a 3-3 record in the junior varsity preliminaries — failing to advance. Still, Peck was named the No. 2 overall speaker among the 40 or so JV debaters.
“This was an outstanding tournament for Gonzaga,” Frappier said. “Advancing three teams to the elimination rounds of a varsity tournament is extremely rare for any school and something we can take a lot of pride in.”
The Zags have added two new coaches: Steve Pointer has taken over as director of debate and Jeff Buntin (a recent Whitman College graduate) is serving as an assistant coach.
“Both are hard workers, have outstanding debate minds, and are well respected among the college debate community,” Frappier said. “We are fortunate to have them and they proved this past weekend they are up to the task of keeping Gonzaga among the elite of college debate.”
For more information, call Glen Frappier at (509) 323-6663.