The Debate Team Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Posted September 1, 2013 / Last updated April 16, 2014

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Participant Category

Policy (CX) Debate

Kris Bonilla ’93 –  Kris qualified for NFL Nationals twice and earned multiple TOC bids. He broke at almost every national tournament he attended.

As a junior, the University of Kentucky named Kris an Institute Fellow in recognition of his distinguished debate accomplishments nationally. He was the two-time consecutive Louisiana State Champion (in ACX) as a sophomore and junior (and didn’t attend the State Championship his senior year). In his senior year he won Glenbrooks South and was one of the elite speakers on the national policy circuit, earning top speaker awards at Glenbrooks South, Greenhill, St. Mark’s, the Barkley Forum (Emory), MBA, the Greenhill Round Robin, and the Harvard Round Robin.

Lincoln-Douglas (LD) Debate

Jacob Pritt ’12   Jacob qualified for the TOC three consecutive years as a sophomore, junior, and senior, advancing to double-octafinals as a junior and octafinals as a senior.

As a sophomore Jacob advanced to quarterfinals of the Crestian and octafinals of the Victory Briefs Tournament (VBT), and he closed out the finals of both the Louisiana State Championship and NFL District Championship, in the process qualifying to NFL Nationals. As a junior he qualified to NFL Nationals again, qualified to the TOC with four bids, won Vestavia Hills, and broke to finals of VBT, finals of Isidore Newman, and semifinals of Sunvitational. The Institute for Speech and Debate ranked him as the 23rd best LD debater in the country for the 2010-2011 season. Fantasy Debate ranked him as the 20th best LD debater in the country for the 2010-2011 season.

As a senior he qualified to the TOC with seven bids, bringing his career bid total to thirteen. Both Fantasy Debate and the Institute for Speech and Debate ranked him the 9th best LD debater in the country for the 2011-2012 season. He was co-champion of the Berkeley Round Robin, won the University School TOC Prep Round Robin, and won the Crestian Round Robin. His senior year he was one of the top speakers in national LD debate earning Top Speaker honors at more than three-quarters of the tournaments he attended, including winning the Marc Wallenstein Award for Top Speaker at Greenhill, Top Speaker at Walt Whitman, Top Speaker at Apple Valley, Top Speaker at Crestian, and the Walter Alan Ulrich Award for the Top Speaker at the TOC. He did not lose a single preliminary round on the November/December 2011 topic. As a senior he also closed out the Crestian and advanced to semifinals of Berkeley, semifinals of Apple Valley, semifinals of Isidore Newman, quarterfinals of Walt Whitman, and quarterfinals of Greenhill among others.

Coach Category

Head Coach

Kevin Twohy – Kevin began coaching at Jesuit in 1975 and coached at least through 1979, though his exact date of departure from Jesuit is unknown. Kevin developed Jesuit’s forensics program from a local to a national team. He sent the team to premier debate workshops and began bringing the team to major national tournaments. Before the team competed in LD or PF, his policy squad became one of the best in the country and he coached his teams to multiple national victories and round robins.

In the 1977-1978 debate season, his policy teams won NCFL City Championship, NFL District Championship, Louisiana State Championship, NFL Nationals Championship, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Bronx Science, and placed second at Harvard, the Barkley Forum (Emory), and the Harvard Round Robin as well as winning top speaker at the Harvard Round Robin.

Kevin went on to coach Policy Debate on the national collegiate circuit and his contributions are recognized by a college policy tournament named in his memory.

Michael Arton – Michael coached Jesuit’s Speech and Debate Team from 1998 to 2003. He grew the team from under ten students in his first year to about twenty-five in his last year and worked especially on expanding the LD program.

Seven LD debaters qualified for the TOC during his tenure while multiple debaters qualified for NFL Nationals. In 2001-2002, the LD squad accumulated more TOC bids than any other LD program in the country, qualifying four debaters to the TOC in the process. His LD squads won at least two State Championships, and he coached LD students to three TOC breaks, and championships at Greenhill, Isidore Newman, Homewood, the Chesapeake Round Robin, and MBA Round Robin.

Three CX teams qualified for the TOC during his tenure, including two teams qualifying in back to back years. His CX squads also won a State Championship, and he coached CX students to a championship at the Glenbrooks. The team also competed successfully in Individual Events during Michael’s tenure.

Travis Smith – Travis served as head coach of Jesuit’s Debate Team from 2006 to 2012. He oversaw the rebuilding of the team after Katrina when he began with only one LD debater. Travis renewed the tradition of Jesuit’s debate tournament, after at least five years of not hosting a tournament. He also began the team’s competition in Public Forum.

During his tenure, the LD squad qualified six debaters to NFL Nationals and five debaters to the TOC, amassing 45 TOC bids in the process. He coached LD debaters to two breaks at the TOC including Top Speaker at TOC. His LD squads won two State Championships and won titles at Isidore Newman (four times), Vestavia Hills (twice), the Crestian, the California Round Robin, the Crestian Round Robin, the Bronx Round Robin, and the Vassar Round Robin. His LD debaters also earned top speaker honors at tournaments such as Greenhill, St. James, Walt Whitman, Apple Valley, and the Crestian.

His PF squads qualified three teams for NFL Nationals and one to the TOC. He also coached his PF debaters to a State Championship.