Debate team finishes its season in Top 5 in national tournament

two students sit at desks while talking to each other

University of the Pacific’s forensics team finished its season fourth in the country at the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship Tournament, the seventh consecutive year Pacific ranked as a top-10 team in season long rankings and the fifth in a row as a top-five program.

The team also placed seventh in National Tournament Sweepstakes, which is based on a school’s overall performance at the tournament. This is the sixth time in eight years the team has placed in the the top 10 overall. 

The national tournament was hosted at Pacific’s Stockton Campus March 25-27, 2023. This was the association’s first national championship tournament in-person since the pandemic, providing a tremendous opportunity for Pacific Forensics to showcase the campus and its students in competition.

“I’m very proud of our students’ success,” said Director of Forensics Steven Farias ’09, ‘11. “Their performance is indicative of the intense preparation they put in before competition, including spending the entirety of their spring break on campus working every day for eight hours. They competed against the best teams in the nation and did fantastic.”

Along with the team success, Jonathan Reyes ’23 was named to the National Parliamentary Debate Association All-American Team, an award recognizing graduating seniors for their competitive and academic success over their collegiate career. Reyes is the ninth recipient of the award from Pacific over the past eight years. Only three students in the country were named to this year’s team.

“Being named to the All-American team is a realization of everything that I’ve worked for during my career in debate,” Reyes said. “I feel it's a recognition of my achievement as both a competitor and student and I am extremely grateful to be selected for the award and have the support from my coaches and teammates that led me here.”

Six Pacific students competed in teams of two at the recent competition, including:

  • Angelica Guzman '24 and Jonathan Reyes '23 who finished 20th,
  • Daneli Santillan '25 and Estefany Torres '23 who finished 21st, and
  • Axel Amador '25 and Ghazi Rizvi '26 who were one win short of the novice national semi-final round.

The team now turns its attention to the National Forensics Association's National Tournament for speech events and Lincoln-Douglas Debate hosted by Bradley University April 13-17.

The team will host a speech night to showcase the events students are taking to the National Forensics Association’s national tournament April 4 in the Janet Leigh Theatre.

High school students have the unique opportunity to learn valuable skills from the team’s coach and students during the Pacific Summer High School Institute. Students enrolled in the pre-college program live on the Stockton Campus for two weeks while taking part in one of more than 50 hands-on courses, including Debate Camp.

The program will delve into important topics such as race, climate, privacy and the role of government while teaching students invaluable research techniques and critical thinking skills.

Registration is open with two sessions available: June 5-17 and June 20-July 1.