WHS Debate Team Wins Liberty Bell Classic

For the second consecutive year, the Wellington High School speech and debate team traveled to the Liberty Bell Classic Debate Invitational on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania and brought home a championship trophy.

In Public Forum Debate, the team of Rachel Ganon and Vinnie Gasso went 10-1 and took home first-place honors from the UPenn tournament, scoring a 3-2 judges decision against Millburn High School (N.J.) in the finals.

In addition, the team of Ali Sina Booeshaghi and Yourui Ruan advanced to the octofinal round before being knocked out of the tournament.

It was Wellington’s third championship at a major national tournament since Paul Gaba became coach in 2002. The previous one was also earned at UPenn in 2012, when Ruan won Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate.

Wellington’s PFD teams of Sabrina Abesamis and Juliana Diatezua, Kevin Murphy and Greg Foster, and Sydney Rogalsky and Caitlyn Konopka each narrowly missed advancing to break rounds as well.

By advancing to at least the quarterfinal round, both Ganon and Gasso earned a bid to the 2013 Tournament of Champions national invitational in Kentucky at the end of April.

The team of Ganon and Gasso actually scored a double championship over the weekend of Feb. 15-17 by winning the second annual LBC Public Forum Debate Round Robin Invitational, a pre-tournament competition where 10 teams squared off against each other as a precursor to the full tournament.

In the Round Robin, Ganon and Gasso took six of their ten preliminary round ballots, then swept teams from Timber Creek and Union Catholic in two 3-0 decisions to take home the top prize.

Ganon and Gasso each earned 147 National Forensic League points during their 18 rounds of debate competition.

In addition, Rafael Blecher earned his varsity letter and his NFL Degree of Honor by surpassing the 75-point mark.


Above: Wellington Debate at the Liberty Bell Classic.