Roosevelt Riders Debate Team Earns State Championship Trophy

Roosevelt debaters pose with the Iowa High School Speech Association’s Sweepstakes Trophy after being named the top debate team in Iowa.

For the third time in four years, Roosevelt High School is home to the top debate team in Iowa.

Roosevelt earned the Sweepstakes Trophy – the state championship award – during the State Debate Tournament this weekend. The championship is sponsored by the Iowa High School Speech Association and took place at the DMACC campus in Ankeny.

Senior Luke Theuma had the top individual finish for the Riders, earning first place in the Student Congress category. Junior Henry Winber was third in the same event.

In the Lincoln Douglas category, Roosevelt junior Emma Weddle and senior Reid Wade finished second and third, respectively.

“Depth was the difference as Roosevelt outlasted Dowling Catholic for the win,” noted Roosevelt debate coach Harry Strong. ” That depth came on a series of quarter- and octo-finalists in a variety of events.”

Other top performances at State by the Riders included seniors Murphy Burke and Lily Nellans in Public Forum Debate and the Policy Debate team of senior Max Pilcher and Junior Ted Appel all advanced to the quarter finals; junior Elena Hildebrandt and sophomore Marlee Rutledge finished in octo finals of Public Forum Debate; junior Jenna Pokorny and freshman Rachael Wade won Superior Senator awards in Congressional debate; and sophomore Jane Rice and freshman Claire Wallace each won Medals of Excellence in Congressional debate.

In the race for the top overall debate team in Iowa, following Roosevelt’s first place finish were Dowling Catholic (second), Okoboji/Spirit Lake (third), Grinnell (fourth) and Ankeny Centennial (fifth).

For more information on the State Debate Tournament, visit the Iowa High School Speech Association.