NW Debate Season Award Winners

West Debate Accomplishments for 2020-21

NILES WEST DEBATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2020-21

National Speech and Debate Association Academic All-Americans

Congratulations to Randall DeVera (‘21), Abhi Shah (‘21), and Sumerah Taj (‘21) on receiving the prestigious Academic All-American award, sponsored by the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA). According to the NSDA, “The Academic All American award recognizes high school students who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points); completed at least 5 semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale.”

National Speech and Debate Association Diamond Coaches 

Congratulations to Eric M. Oddo (Second Diamond) and Valerie McIntosh (First Diamond) on their respective Diamond Coaches awards. According to the NSDA, “Diamond Coach awards reflect excellence and longevity in the activity. A coach’s first Diamond is earned when they receive 15,000 points and have been coaching in the Association for at least five years since achieving the degree of merit (25 points). Five years must pass between each new diamond award, and 15,000 points must be earned to receive a second diamond.”

Debater Earns $132,000 college debate scholarship

Ephraim Bennett

Ephraim Bennett (‘21) accepted a $33,000 per year scholarship to debate at Michigan State University. This brings the total amount of college debate scholarships accepted by Niles West students, in the past eleven years, to an outstanding $1,329,872.00! Additionally, Abhi Shah (‘21) will debate at the University of Southern California.

Tournament of Champions Qualifiers

This year the team had the privilege of qualifying one team to the Tournament of Champions. Congratulations to Dulguun Bat-erdene (‘21) and Ephraim Bennett (‘21) for qualifying with two bids to the Tournament of Champions. They earned their first bid by winning the Grapevine debate tournament and their second bid by making it to the Quarterfinals of the Dowling Catholic debate tournament.   

Tournament Victories

The team emerged as tournament champions at two prestigious tournaments this year. Congratulations to Dulguun Bat-erdene (‘21) and Ephraim Bennett (‘21) for winning the Grapevine debate tournament. Congratulations to Emily Lim (‘23) and Sumehra Taj (‘21) for winning the Solorio debate tournament. 

End-of-Season Award Recipients 

NW Debate Season Award Winners

Every year Niles West Debate gives four awards in special recognition of debaters that not only excel competitively but also facilitate the success of their peers. Their efforts ensure Niles West Debate will maintain a culture of success long after their graduation. Congratulations to the Debater of the Year Randall De Vera (‘21). Congratulations to the Teammate of the Year Sumehra Taj (‘21). Congratulations to the Team of the Year Abhi Shah (‘21) and Randall De Vera (‘21). Congratulations to the Most Improved debater Hina Shehzad (‘23). 

Recent Tournament Results 

On January 15th – 17th, Niles West competed virtually at the Solorio debate tournament. In the Varsity division were sophomore Emily Lim (‘23) and senior Sumehra Taj (‘21) who went 3-2 finishing as the eighth seed. They would go on to win the tournament defeating the second seeded Lane Tech in the final round on a 2-1. Other debaters competing in the Varsity division were sophomores Mia Koeberl (‘23) and Vincent Wu (‘23). Additionally Mia Koeberl was awarded the 10th speaker. Competing in the Novice division were freshmen Charlize Chung (‘24) and Vincent Pappas (‘24) who went 3-2, finishing as the fourth seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 in the Quarterfinals. 

On February 4th – 7th, Niles West competed virtually at the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational. Competing in the TOC Bid division were seniors Abhi Shah (‘21) and Randall De Vera (‘21) who went 4-1 finishing as the seventh seed. They were eliminated on a 3-0 decision in the Octofinal round. 

On February 5th – 7th, Niles West competed virtually at the Maine East Regatta. Competing in the Varsity division were sophomores Hina Shehzad (‘23) and Mia Koeberl (‘23) who went 4-1 finishing as the fourth seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 in the Semifinal round. Also competing in the Varsity division were sophomores Rose Bilicki (‘23) and Nathan Kostovetsky (‘23) who went 3-2 finishing as the fifth seed. They were locked out with Hina Shehzad (‘23) and Mia Koeberl (‘23) in the Quarterfinals. Competing in the Novice division were freshmen Bethany Thai (‘24) and Megan Gartner (‘24) who went 4-1 finishing as the second seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 in the Quarterfinals. Also competing in the Novice division were freshmen Oyinkansola Agunloye (‘24) and Charlize Chung (‘24) who went 3-2 finishing as the sixth seed. They were eliminated on a 3-0 decision in the Quarterfinals. Additionally Rose Bilicki was awarded 5th speaker in Varsity and Megan Gartner and Charlize Chung were awarded 3rd and 4th speaker respectively in Novice. 

On February 12th – 14th, we had students competing virtually at the Bingham Invitational. Competing in the TOC Bid division were seniors Abhi Shah (‘21) and Randall De Vera (‘21) who went undefeated in the preliminary rounds and finished as the first seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 decision in the Semifinals. Additionally Abhi Shah and Randall De Vera were awarded 1st and 6th speaker respectively. 

On March 19th – 21st, Niles West competed virtually at the Illinois Debate Coaches Association Novice JV State Championship. Competing in the JV division were sophomores Hina Shehzad (‘23) and Mia Koeberl (‘23)  who went 4-1 finishing as the fourth seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 in the Quarterfinals. Also competing in the JV division were sophomores Rose Bilicki (‘23) and Nathan Kostovetsky (‘23) who went 3-2 finishing as the seventh seed. They were eliminated on a 3-0 decision in the Quarterfinals. Competing in the Novice division were freshmen Sofia Vrajitoru (‘24) and Joseph Russo (‘24) who went 7-3 finishing as the seventh seed. They were eliminated on a close 2-1 decision in the Quarterfinals. Additionally Hina Shehzad, Mia Koeberl, Emily Lim, Rose Bilicki, Nathan Kostovetsky, and Sophia Lannoye were awarded 6th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 14th, and 19th.