Debaters Are State Champions Again
The Jesuit Debate Team capped off another successful season at the State Championship on Saturday, April 2. The Louisiana High School Speech League (LHSSL) State Tournament of Champions was held at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans.
In Lincoln-Douglas Debate (LD), sophomore Robert Cerise survived a difficult series of debates that saw a number of top competitors quickly eliminated before advancing to the final round and winning the first State Championship of his career. Just two weeks ago, Cerise went undefeated at the Louisiana District Championship, earning his first District Championship as well. Cerise was also named to the All-State Team at the end of the tournament. This is Jesuit’s fifth consecutive LD State Championship. In 2015, Ben Gillen ’16 won the title, and Jim Huang ’14 won the title three years in a row from 2012-2014.
In Public Forum Debate (PF), Jesuit solidified its status as the top squad in Louisiana, with the final round becoming an all-Jesuit affair. The senior team of Andrew Cerise and Mayank Mardia went undefeated and joined the junior team of Jaime Colon and Andrew Souther to share the State Championship. This was Colon and Souther’s first State Championship. In 2014, Cerise and Mardia won their first State Championship as sophomores with their teammates Mako Giordano ’15 and Rishab Chimmanamada ’15, respectively. Colon and Souther also claimed the PF District Championship two weeks ago going unbeaten at the tournament. Cerise, Mardia, Colon, and Souther were all named to the All-State Team at the end of the tournament.
Cerise and Mardia end their debate careers as two of the most accomplished PF debaters in Louisiana history. Among their many achievements, they each won two State Championships (closing out finals both times), won two District Championships (closing out finals both times), qualified to the National Championship twice, and earned two bids to the prestigious National Tournament of Champions.
Debate Team coach Ian Gunn ’07 is thankful to Mrs. Sarah Simoneaux, mother of debate alumnus William Simoneaux ’09, who helped judge for the team at the tournament, and junior Taylor Barnett, who supported the team throughout the weekend.