Manville Forensics Rings in the New Year with a Bang


George Thomson

Manville High School Forensics started 2022 strong, competing in two local tournaments in the first two weeks of the year while making history along the way. The forensics team, consisting of speech, debate, and Congress divisions, rolled into the new year with momentum built at the Randolph Fall Classic and Summit Hilltopper Holiday Classic in November and December respectively. Since 2018, the team has established itself as one of the most successful small-school teams in the circuit, competing against the local powerhouses of Summit, Delbarton, Ridge, Phillipsburg, and Montville. This year, Manville has built a large team across all three divisions; four Public Forum Debate duos and four Congressional debate members led by Debate captain George Thomson and Vice-President of Forensics Mouctar Diarra, in addition to three speech members led by Speech captain and President of Forensics, Chloe Gosk.
In the first tournament of the year, Manville brought three varsity PF debate teams and two Congressional debate members to compete at the Hunterdon Central Winter Invitational, which was held online on January 8. Across four rounds of debate, Manville placed two of its teams within the top 6 placing positions; Todd Peterson and George Thomson placed sixth overall in their first tournament of the year, while Mouctar Diarra and Nicholas Imerlishvili recorded a 3-1 record to place second overall in the bracket.
Just a week later on January 15, a historic day saw all four PF debate teams, two Congressional debate members and one speech member compete at the Freehold Township HS Tournament. The competition returned to in-person as the Manville Forensics team traveled down Route 18 to Freehold; with 11 members leaving the High School at 7:30 AM, they would return with 9 trophies. Chloe Gosk placed fourth overall in Informative Speaking, maintaining a 100% placing record across the season so far; the debate teams of Imerlishvili-Diarra and Thomson-Peterson would do the same. In just their second competition, sophomores Arlette Figueroa-Holguin and Mia Mora placed fourth overall in the Novice division of PF. In varsity PF, juniors Amelia Szewczyk and Marissa Morris placed fifth overall and Thomson and Peterson placed third overall, while Imerlishvili and Diarra went 4-0 to place first overall. The Public Forum teams went 13-3 overall on their way to place all four of their teams for the first time in school history. With this, all four teams booked their place in the State tournament in late March.
Manville Forensics will head to Basking Ridge on January 29th for the Ridge Invitational, the largest tournament on the team’s regular-season schedule. The team now has six automatic qualifications to the State tournament, including all four PF teams, Chloe Gosk in Informative Speaking, and junior David Kuznetsov in Impromptu Speaking.