Fisher and Spies Make History at National Debate Tournament

Early this morning Matt Fisher and Stephanie Spies made history by becoming the first duo ever to win both the Tournament of Champions and the National Debate Tournament. Matt and Stephanie won the TOC in 2007 while at Glenbrook North High School and the NDT in 2011 while at Northwestern University. They also became just the sixth and seventh individuals ever to win both tournaments.

If that wasn’t enough, they also became the first duo ever to win both the National Forensic League National Tournament and the National Debate Tournament. Matt and Stephanie won NFL Nationals in 2007 and became just the fifth and sixth individuals ever to win both tournaments.

Most impressively, Matt and Stephanie became just the third and fourth individuals in debate history to win all three national championships — NFL Nationals, the TOC, and the NDT.

Who are the other two? Who has come closest? The answers are below the fold.

Champion at TOC, Champion at NDT

  1. Matt Fisher — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  2. Stephanie Spies — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  3. Andy Ryan — Caddo Magnet (1997) & University of Iowa (2001)
  4. Steven Sklaver — St. Mark’s (1989) & Dartmouth College (1993)
  5. Shaun Martin — Lake Braddock (1984) & Dartmouth College (1988)
  6. Mark Koulogeorge — Glenbrook South (1981) & Dartmouth College (1984)
  7. John Bredehoft — Cardinal Spellman (1975, 1976) & Harvard University (1979)

Fisher and Spies also finished as runner-up at the NDT in 2010. Bredehoft also finished as runner-up at the NDT in 1980.

Runner-Up at TOC, Champion at NDT

  1. Josh Branson — St. Mark’s (2002) & Northwestern University (2005)
  2. Ara Lovitt — Harvard Westlake (1990) & Dartmouth College (1993)
  3. Ahilan Arulananthain — Harvard Westlake (1990) & Georgetown University (1992)

Arulananthain also finished as runner-up at the NDT in 1993.

Champion at TOC, Runner-Up at NDT

  1. Stephen Weil — Westminster Schools (2005) & Emory University (2011)
  2. Stacey Nathan — Glenbrook North (2001) & University of California (2005)
  3. Brian Smith — Pace Academy (2002) & Dartmouth College (2003)
  4. Kamal Ghali — Caddo Magnet (1997) & Emory University (1999, 2001)
  5. George Kouros — Niles West (1995) & Emory University (1998)
  6. Eric Truett — Oak Park & River Forest (1990) & Georgetown University (1993)
  7. Andrew Schrank — Albany (1986) & University of Michigan (1989)
  8. Jeff Wagner — Glenbrook North (1980) & University of Redlands (1982)

Weil also finished as runner-up at the TOC in 2007.

Runner-Up at TOC, Runner-Up at NDT

  1. Rebecca Tushnet — Georgetown Day (1991) & Harvard University (1992, 1993)
  2. Colin Kahl — Richmond Kennedy (1989) & University of Michigan (1991)

Champion at NFL, Champion at NDT

  1. Matt Fisher — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  2. Stephanie Spies — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  3. Alex Lamballe — Montgomery Bell (2005) & Wake Forest University (2008)
  4. Josh Branson — St. Mark’s (2002) & Northwestern University (2005)
  5. Steven Sklaver — St. Mark’s (1990) & Dartmouth College (1993)
  6. Mark Koulogeorge — Glenbrook South (1981) & Dartmouth College (1984)

Champion at NFL, Champion at TOC, Champion at NDT

  1. Matt Fisher — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  2. Stephanie Spies — Glenbrook North (2007) & Northwestern University (2011)
  3. Steven Sklaver — St. Mark’s (1989, 1990) & Dartmouth College (1993)
  4. Mark Koulogeorge — Glenbrook South (1981) & Dartmouth College (1984)

Did I miss anyone? Additions/corrections are welcome.

Note: this article was corrected on 03-30-2011 to include John Bredehoft’s NDT championship in 1979.

38 thoughts on “Fisher and Spies Make History at National Debate Tournament

  1. Whit

    It should also be noted that Stephanie was only the second female ever to win top speaker at the National Debate Tournament (Gloria Cabada of Wake Forest was the first in 1988).

    Also of interest, in an era of overwhelming neg flex Stephanie and Matt lost only one debate on the affirmative all year. That was in the semifinals of Georgia State (their first tournament of the year) to Berkeley BP (Kathy Bowen and Jacob Polin).

      1. Kevin Hirn

        they were aff in the finals of Kentucky (in addition to semis of GSU). nonetheless, an incredibly sterling performance on the affirmative. congrats to NU FS

    1. Bill Batterman Post author

      Both of those statistics are amazing. A truly historic season for Glenbrook North/Northwestern FS.

    2. Brent Brossmann

      Actually, Gloria was not the first woman to earn top speaker at the NDT. I was in the room when she claimed that distinction, but Patricia Stallings (University of Houston) beat her by 31 years. Still, top speaker at the NDT is an amazing accomplishment. Everyone who has ever earned that distinction has every right to be proud.

      The complete list of top speakers is on the NDT home page.

    1. Bill Batterman Post author

      Yeah — I just included each person's best finish (so Stephen is listed under TOC Champion, NDT Runner-Up).

  2. Josh Brown

    I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure in 2007 they won the Catholic Nationals too? My memory could be off though.

  3. Duane Hyland

    Spies was also an NCFL Octafinalist in 2006. And, GBN definitely participated in the 2008 NCFL tournament, with two teams dropping in Octas

  4. Scottyp4313nr Post author

    Several of these statistics are impressive.BY FAR the most impressive is the aff record of FS. That aff record would of been unheard of 10 years ago before the neg got 4 conditional pics and a K.

    1. Bill Batterman Post author

      Corrected, thanks. He has to be in the running for greatest debater of all-time — back-to-back TOC championships and back-to-back appearances in the finals of the NDT, winning it once.

      It's a shame that Cardinal Spellman doesn't seem to have a debate team anymore.

  5. anon

    i think last year we had the full rfd's for the round, not sure. will something like that happen this year?

  6. joe

    don't know if you're tracking NFL winners who were in the finals of the NDT, but Dan Shalmon is definitely in that category

  7. Kramer

    Ted Belch coached 3 of the 7 to win both the TOC and NDT (Fisher, Spies, Koulogeorge). Congrats to Stephanie and Matt on a very impressive accomplishment (and career).

    1. john

      belch never actually worked at gbn when spies debated there- she started the year after her left

  8. NUDebate

    I think the most impressive is that between Fisher and Spies:
    -they won the NDT
    -they won the TOC
    -they won NFLs
    -1 was the TS at the NDT
    -the other was TS at the TOC
    -fisher won the copeland

    what partnership includes all of those successes?

  9. Guest

    They are 23-1 at NDT in two years! They are juniors! Some people are probably hoping that they're burned out or have nothing left to prove and retire early.

    That also overshadows that Northwestern sent 3 teams to NDT in 2011, all of whom broke to elims. Two teams went 8-0 in prelims (first time ever?). Darn near closed out the final round for the first time.

    1. T-Rex

      At the 2000 NDT, Emory's three teams (Stephen Bailey & Kamal Ghali, Michael Horowitz & Jon Paul Lupo, and Larry Heftman & Jeff McNabb) were seeded 1,2, and 3 after prelims. I believe one team was 8-0 and the other two were 7-1. Emory HL won the tournament, but BG was also in the semis. It was the second consecutive year that Emory had two teams in semis of the NDT (HM and BG in 1999).

      1. Anon

        another interesting note about Stephen Bailey & Kamal Ghali is that they lost in the finals of the NDT as sophomores and seniors, and lost in the semis of the NDT their junior year.

    2. rlevkov

      Bailey and Ghali got walked over in the semis that year, their only two NDT elim losses ever were in the finals.

  10. Anon

    Imagine if Stacey Nathan and Klinger still debated with each other after highschool. Another post-GBN almost unstoppable debate team.

  11. Bangkok Condos

    The National Debate Tournament is one of the national championships for collegiate policy debate in the United States. The tournament is sponsored by the American Forensic Association with the Ford Motor Company Fund.

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