Debate students qualify for nationals at South Florida tournament

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With over 500 competitors, the South Florida Catholic Forensics League (SFCFL) Grand Finals is easily one of the largest debate events in the state. The Heritage Speech and Debate team traveled to the tournament Saturday, March 18, resulting in ten students placing at the top in their respective events and qualifying for the national competition.

Sophomore Chase Freeman, who competes in Congressional debate, was declared Grand Champion of Congress in South Florida after he received the highest scores out of every Congress debate student.

“There are preliminary rounds where everybody competes. They then take the top five of each for semifinals. Out of each semifinal chamber they pick the best and make the final chamber. The top six from those get to qualify for nationals,” he explained.

Although every Congress debater from Heritage made it to the final round, Freeman was the only one to qualify for the National Catholic Forensics League (NCFL) Grand Finals, which will take place in Louisville, Ky. in May.

“Any award we get is not individual. We all work together. When we cooperate, we can succeed at these big events. I believe the only reason all of us finaled was because the team is able to work together so well. Not just the team, but the coaches as well. It is the most important part about debate. While many people think it’s just about arguing, it’s more about teamwork.”

A full list of qualifying students can be found below.


Paula Mitre – 1st place- varsity declamation (Grand Champion)

Jana Kelly  – 2nd place – varsity declamation

Isabel Mitre – 5th place varsity declamation

Amrita Bonthu – 6th place varsity declamation

Robby Gillespie – 3rd place- varsity Lincoln-Douglas

Svetoslav Karagueorguiev and Nilesh Chander – 4th place – varsity public forum

Jonah Platovsky and Jordan Parker – 1st place – varsity public forum (Grand Champions)

Chase Freeman – 1st place – varsity Congress (Grand Champion)

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