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Debate Team Closes Out State Championship with Dual Win

Woodward's debate teams of Sachi Reddy '21 and Ashna Ghanate '22 and Jack Hightower '22 and Ria Thakur '22 won the championship title at the recent Varsity State Debate Championship hosted by the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association March 6-7.

Both teams finished the tournament with perfect records on wins and ballot counts to share the championship title. By winning both of the tournament's semifinals debates, Woodward "closed out" the final round. This is the third time Woodward has closed out finals, and the Academy continues to hold the record as the only school in tournament history to do so.

This win marks Woodward's seventh Varsity State Debate Championship in the 11 years since the GFCA took over administration of a unified state tournament in 2010-2011. It's also the War Eagles' fifth state championship in the last six years.

Individually, all four of the championship debaters earned top 10 speaker awards: Sachi in first, Jack in third, Ashna in fourth, and Ria in seventh. Sachi joins past Woodward top speakers at state Mona Mahadevan '19, Arjun Srinivasan '18, Tripp Haskins '17, and Jason Sigalos '12 (who won the award twice).

Director of Debate Maggie Berthiaume also was admitted to the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, coaches must have coached in Georgia for at least five years and have promoted interest not only through the strength of their program, but also through the Association itself. Hall of Fame coaches demonstrate speech and debate as an ultimate tool for education and communication.   

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