Debaters end a bittersweet season

Four debaters boarded a bus that would take them to the biggest tournament in Minnesota with speeches, evidence, and high expectations. On Jan. 18. St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s best debaters competed for the state championship. Seniors Bilal Askari, Yusra Murad, Mason Mohring, and junior Thomas Toghramadjian fought for the top spot and saw mixed results on both personal and team levels.

Mohring and Toghramadjian failed to break into elimination rounds, and ultimately finished 10th: “I am very disappointed that I couldn’t help Mason defend his title as a state finalist. Both of us know that we debated as well as we have all season, there wasn’t anything we should have done differently. At the end of the day, debate is a subjective event, and sometimes the circumstances aren’t in your favor,” Toghramadjian said.

Askari and Murad finished 5th overall: “I’m proud of Bilal’s and my accomplishments; however, we had a disappointing decision in our final round against Blaine,” Murad said.

Despite the disappointing state finishes, Thomas Toghramadjian and Tom Fones were named the top Public Forum debater and Coach of the Year respectively in the state of Minnesota. In addition, SPA qualified for the only three district spots for the national tournament in June, an unprecedented accomplishment that leaves the debaters optimistic about the future.