Another narrow miss for CDS Speech and Debate
Posted 01/20/2015 09:15AM

CDS students are known throughout the state for their hard work, determination, and grace under pressure. At the Hillcrest High School Speech and Debate tournament this weekend, the Advocating Wildcats showed these virtues, posting three even records across four entries. Representing CDS were Nathan Ball '15, Ethan Baechtold '16, Ryan Bastin '17, Sahil Gupta '17, and Eric Perless '17. Accompanying the team were parent volunteer David Perless and co-coach Mark Wonnacott.


Gupta continued his run in varsity Lincoln-Douglas, competing against third and fourth year competitors. For the second time in as many weeks, Gupta dominated in early competition, winning both of his first two rounds in decisive fashion. A stumble in round three set him up with two wins against one loss going in to the final round. After a narrow decision against him, Gupta ended with an even record. “It's a little frustrating to come this close,” said Gupta. “If we had researched one or two more arguments, I think we really could have won.” Gupta's record and points qualified him for a tenth place finish in the field.


In novice LD, Ryan Bastin posted a personal best record. After a slow start, Bastin won his next two debates to set up a final round against the eventual tournament champion. A victory would have put Bastin on the podium, but his opponent's tactics proved overwhelming. Hillcrest recognized the top six, and Bastin finished number seven in the field. “I can't believe how much I've learned in the short time I've been doing this,” Bastin said on the bus ride home. “I feel like a different person than I was in September.”


In public forum, the team of Baechtold and Perless posted an even record. A slow start hindered their chances, but the pair showed great mental fortitude rebounding from the losses to win their final two debates. “This is a pretty strange topic. I'm looking forward to discussing something more straightforward next month, when the topic is global poverty,” Baechtold joked.

“This is a really impressive group of students,” said coach Wonnacott. “Their determination and enthusiasm are a joy to watch.” The Advocating Wildcats next compete at the University of Pennsylvania Liberty Bell Classic in Philadelphia, PA.

For questions about the team, please contact Mark Wonnacott at


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