Marist School’s award-winning Speech & Debate Team recently competed at the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Championship in Chicago, Illinois. After nine tough debates over three days, the team of Sophie Verska ’20 and Will Sjostrom ’20 finished third overall in the nation.
This is the best finish for Marist’s program at a national championship ever, and it marks the seventh consecutive season the school’s public forum team has finished the season ranked in the top 15 nationally at a national championship.
Will and Sophie’s finish was truly remarkable as they entered the tournament ranked 70th in the country. In the preliminary rounds, they beat the two top 25 teams, and their only loss was to the top team in the country. They headed into the elimination debates as the second seed with a 5-1 record. In the elite eight round of the competition, they upset the number two-ranked team in the country (which included a debater who is the reigning national champion) on a 3-0 decision. The team of Will and Sophie ended up bowing out in the final four round to the eventual national champion team from the Blake School in Minnesota.
In addition to this win, Will and Sophie have had a great season including winning the district championship and finishing the season as the top-ranked Georgia team in national rankings. The two still have a couple more tournaments left—the Tournament of Champions and the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) National Championship.
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