Lincoln Academy Debate Team are State Champions! Back row: debate coach and LA science teacher Matt Leland holding the debate trophy. Middle row: Caleb Mullin ‘15, Monica Hao ‘16, Ally Wehrle ‘16, Camden Reiss ‘15, Tommy Thelander ‘18. Front row: Linh Nguyen ‘17, Isabella Watmough ‘16, Johanna Neeson ‘16, Elise Dumont ‘16, Hindley Wang ‘17, Alex Welch ‘15, Karolina Duchkova ‘15. Photo by Natalie Norris.

Lincoln Academy Debate Team are State Champions! Back row: debate coach and LA science teacher Matt Leland holding the debate trophy. Middle row: Caleb Mullin ‘15, Monica Hao ‘16, Ally Wehrle ‘16, Camden Reiss ‘15, Tommy Thelander ‘18. Front row: Linh Nguyen ‘17, Isabella Watmough ‘16, Johanna Neeson ‘16, Elise Dumont ‘16, Hindley Wang ‘17, Alex Welch ‘15, Karolina Duchkova ‘15. Photo by Natalie Norris.

Just four years after founding the Lincoln Academy debate team, coach Matt Leland has brought home a Debate State Championship to Academy Hill. The Lincoln team came in first overall at the Maine State Debate Meet on Saturday, February 7 at Lewiston High School.

In a field of approximately 250 debaters and 27 schools, the team of Hindley Wang ‘16 and Monica Hao ‘16 placed 4th in novice Public Forum debate. For Lincoln Douglas debate, Camden Reiss ‘15 placed 2nd in Novice, Johanna Neeson ‘16 placed 2nd in JV, Alex Welch ‘15 placed 5th in Varsity, and Elise Dumont ‘16 placed 2nd in Varsity. These scores placed Lincoln first overall in the state.

“This is a big win for Lincoln,” says debate-team parent Judy Dumont. “Unlike in sports and other activities, schools are not separated by size (class A, B etc.) so our little LA has always been up against some very large debate teams. The team did an amazing job!”

What’s next for the Lincoln Academy debaters? According to coach Matt Leland, the official season is over. There are two national qualifying tournaments left before the end of the year, with a chance for individual varsity-level debaters to participate in the Catholic Forensics League national tournament in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and the National Forensics League national tournament in Dallas Texas. Individual debaters can participate in these tournaments if they choose to compete and qualify to represent the state. As for the LA team as a whole, they have accomplished what they set out to do in the 2014-15 season – and then some!

Leland says, “I am extremely proud of our debaters. Over the past month, they have put in an outstanding amount of work planning and writing their cases, reading philosophy, and preparing rebuttals. I couldn’t be happier for what they have accomplished.”