Pace Academy has long been a local and national debate powerhouse, and following last year’s victory in the NDCA National Championship by Victor Skenderi (’13) and Anshuman Parikh (’14), expectations were set high for this year’s group.
Pace varsity debaters had a successful year with a long list of accomplishments. Two teams (seniors Erik Howard + Anshuman and juniors Tanner Lewis + Clyde Shephard) earned berths to the Tournament of Champions in Lexington, Ky., and four teams earned berths to the National Debate Coaches Association National Championship. Clyde and Tanner won the University of Michigan Round Robin, as well as the GFCA State Championship.
In years past, Georgia debate was sanctioned by the GHSA. This meant that there was a state champion in each classification, A-AAAAA. This system made Pace’s long streak of state championships possible that is on display in the Inman Center. However, four years ago, the GHSA relinquished its control to the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association, which crowns only one state championship for all classifications. With a victory over Westminster in the finals, Tanner and Clyde won this year’s state championship, Pace’s first in several years. “Now it’s an all classification event so the competition is much more stiff,” said head coach Shuntá Jordan. “It’s a great accomplishment for juniors to have done that.”
Anshuman and Erik completed their successful debate careers this year. At the beginning of the season, the two attended the Greenhill Round Robin, a tournament for the top 14 debate teams in the country. “Anshuman and I had the great pleasure of being invited,” said Erik, “and we finished in fifth place.”
Pace’s freshman debaters also performed well at tournaments throughout the year. “We had a large number of freshmen this year, and they all had very successful seasons,” said Coach Jordan, “Essentially every tournament they were in, they either won, closed out or were in the finals or semis.” Pace freshmen closed out (were the final pairs remaining) at the University of Michigan Tournament, which is the state tournament for freshmen, and the Woodward Tournament, which is the national championship for first- and second-year debaters.