Debate team reaches seasonal goal, places first in competition

Nic Baggetto, Editor in Chief

In what the coaching staff considers to be the best season in the past five years, the Elk Grove debate team has met one of its primary goals less than half way through the season. Coming off of several victories for seniors and co-team-captains Mike Pauls and Ray Solorzano, as well as senior Layan Safi, the team was ecstatic heading into one of their November tournaments at Rolling Meadows High School where they collectively won first place out of 21 schools.

“That was a huge accomplishment for our team,” social science teacher and head debate coach Matthew Bohnenkamp said. “Placing at a tournament was something we that knew that we were capable of doing, but finishing first was even better!”

In addition, Pauls took second place individually at the same meet and, along with Solorzano, won best presiding officer awards. Solorzano and Safi subsequently won second place for best legislation, solidifying their season.

“The work that the seniors, like Mike and Ray, have put in is really inspiring to see because they have so much drive to be leaders of the debate team, and I wish to be part of that with them,” freshman Adam Macro said.

Before Thanksgiving break, several debaters competed in the Glenbrooks National Tournament in Chicago and will be traveling to Minneapolis for the Blake Tournament soon.

Humble in regards to their stellar season, Bohnenkamp cited the authoritative presence of the elder members of the club as the key to success and recognized that there is always room for improvement.

“Our debating can always improve in terms of better research, better refutations, and just being more active in the chambers at tournaments,” Bohnenkamp said. “That’s something that we work on every day in practice.”