If this had been a state high school football championship, the coaches, Steve Sexton and Zack Vrana, of the Brookfield East High School (BEHS) debate team would surely have walked off the field drenched in Gatorade this past weekend at the 2013-14 Wisconsin State Debate tournament at UW-Whitewater. The team pulled off impressive championship victories in the two debate categories in which they compete– Lincoln-Douglas (LD) and Public Forum (PF). This was the 4th straight championship in LD and this may be the first time a team has ever closed out the finals in both categories. In LD (a one on one format), the team’s co-champions were juniors Noah Haselow and Nithin Alexander. In the PF category (a two on two format), the final round was swept by the senior teams of Mihir Trivedi/Akshaya Trivedi and Archit Baskaran/Jonas Demuri-Siliunas.
Noah Haselow made it through to the finals with a 2-1 upset victory over Whitefish Bay senior, Jim Broomfield, who was favored to win going into the competition. The other semi-final pairings had Alexander facing off against fellow team member BEHS sophomore, Niyaz Nurbhasha. The semi-final finish of Nurbhasha bodes well for the team’s continued success in LD. The other LD out-round finisher for the team was senior Alexander Wang who made it to the quarter finals.
The PF semi-finals had the Trivedi twins facing off against the Marquette University H. S. team of Jake Lubenow/Dan Riley coming away with a victory on a 2-1 ballot. The other semi-final pairing had Baskaran/Demuri-Siliunas facing off against season rivals James Madison Memorial’s Luke Gangler/Sullivan Sweet. The teams had faced off three other times during the regular season in out-rounds. Two of those meetings were in tournament finals with each team taking a finals win. The 3-0 decision and state championship win was a great ending to this senior team’s 4-year run together. Other PF highlights for the team: quarter-final finish for sophomore team Will Bartowski/Sean Wei, showing the depth of talent in this BEHS team; octa-final finish for the senior team Ashveer Singh/Zach Zandi who are first time debaters this year and former BEHS football players.
An additional honor for the team, head coach, Steve Sexton, was also acknowledged by his peers as WDCA Coach of the Year. This is the second time Coach Sexton, a WI state debate hall of famer, has received this honor. This tournament result also capped off a season that started with devastating news when the team’s young assistant coach, James Hoggatt (24) unexpectedly passed away. These championship victories were the best way to honor the memory of this beloved coach.
Other team results include: LD–Mark Maier 3-3, Tim Vrakas 3-3, Bashar Zaidat 3-3, Collin Gray-Hoehn 2-4.
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