The 40th Tournament of Champions was held this past weekend at the University of Kentucky. Capping off a historic run, the Westminster Schools claimed its third consecutive championship by defeating Lexington High School’s Tyler Engler and Arjun Vellayappan in the final round. Interested in digging a little deeper into the results from this year’s TOC? Some historical perspective and trivia is below the fold.
The Westminster Schools’ Ellis Allen and Daniel Taylor became the second partnership in TOC history to win back-to-back championships. In 1975 and 1976, Cardinal Spellman High School’s John Bredehoft (this year’s Breakfast of Champions keynote speaker) and Leo Gagion became the first to accomplish this feat.
Only one other individual has won two TOCs: Lake Braddock High School’s Mike Green won the championship in 1984 with Shaun Martin and repeated as champion in 1985 with Joe Pettit.
Others have been close:
The Bronx High School of Science’s Andrew Berman won the TOC in 1979 as a junior while debating with Herschel Goldfield and finished as runner-up in 1980 alongside partner Stuart Weich.
Lexington High School’s Steve Lehotsky won the TOC in 1994 as a junior with Li-Cheng Wang and finished in second place in 1995 with Matt Nichols.
Westminster’s Stephen Weil won the TOC as a sophomore in 2005 with Anusha Deshpande and lost in finals two years later as a senior in 2007 with Anshu Sathian. Anshu won the TOC in 2009 with Rajesh Jegadeesh.
The closest a partnership has come to a repeat prior to this season was College Prep’s Eli Anders and Michael Burshteyn: they won the TOC as juniors in 2003 and lost in the finals in 2004.
With the win, Westminster became the first school in TOC history to win back-to-back-to-back championships. They had already joined a short list of back-to-back champions that includes Cardinal Spellman (‘75-76), Oak Park-River Forest (‘82-83), and Lake Braddock (‘84-85).
Three Time Qualifiers
Four students in the class of 2011 debated at three TOCs: Pablo Gannon from Damien High School, Lee Quinn from Mountain Brook High School, and Ellis Allen and Daniel Taylor from the Westminster Schools.
Pablo Gannon — Damien
2009 — 4-3 (with Eric Berggren)
2010 — 3-4 (with Reid Ehrlich-Quinn)
2011 — 6-1 (with Nadeem Farooqi) + semifinals
Total: 13-8, 2-1, 15-9
Lee Quinn — Mountain Brook
2009 — 2-5 (with Gabrielle Tandet)
2010 — 3-4 (with Kevin Jiang)
2011 — 5-2 (with Evan McCarty) + octafinals
Total: 10-11, 0-1, 10-12
Ellis Allen & Daniel Taylor — Westminster
2009 — 4-3
2010 — 7-0 (champion)
2011 — 6-1 (champion)
Total: 17-4, 8-0, 25-4
16 Seed Upsets
Kinkaid’s victory in the octafinals over Beacon was the third such upset since 1995 and the second by a 17th seed run-off round winner. In 1995, 16th seeded Glenbrook North upset the top seed from T.A. Edison. In 2003, 17th seeded Westminster defeated 16th seeded Grady in the run-off round and then upset top seeded Georgetown Day in the octafinals.
First From Their State
Two states made their first appearance in the elimination rounds at the TOC since 1995: Alabama and Missouri. Mountain Brook’s Evan McCarty and Lee Quinn were the first team from the Yellowhammer State to reach the elims while Pembroke Hill’s Thomas Hodgman and Mihir Vedantam became the first Show Me State duo to accomplish the feat. Both teams were defeated in the octafinals.
First From Their School
Four schools cleared at the TOC for the first time: Beacon, Homewood-Flossmoor, Mountain Brook, and Pembroke Hill. Three schools also ended elim droughts: College Prep reached the elimination rounds for the first time since 2005, Dallas Jesuit reached the elims for the first time since 2001, and Georgetown Day reached the elims for the first time since 2006.
Glenbrook North extended their streak of elimination round appearances to six while Glenbrook South, Kinkaid, Westminster, and Woodward extended their streaks to three. Carrollton, Lexington, and St. Mark’s rounded out the list of schools with back-to-back appearances in the elimination rounds.
School Elimination Round Appearances
Glenbrook North and Greenhill have reached the elimination rounds in 16 of the last 17 seasons with Greenhill edging GBN in total teams in the elims, 23-22. Lexington qualified its 16th team to the elims while Glenbrook North and Westminster qualified their thirteenth, Woodward its twelfth, and College Prep its tenth.
Glenbrook North reached the semifinals for the eighth time since 1995, one more than any other school. Greenhill is second with seven followed by Lexington and Westminster with six.
With two more elimination round wins, Glenbrook North has edged in front of Greenhill for the top spot since 1995 with 28. Greenhill remains second with 26 but Westminster is close behind with 25. Rounding out the top five are Lexington with 17 and College Prep with 14.
Texas qualified four teams for the elimination rounds for the tenth time since 1995, by far the most of any other state. Texas and Illinois both extended their streak of consecutive tournaments with at least one team in the elimination rounds; at least two teams from Texas have reached the elims every year since 1995. Other active state streaks include Georgia (thirteen years in a row including twelve years in a row with at least two teams in the elims), New York (four years in a row), Florida (two years in a row), and Massachusetts (two years in a row). Texas has cleared 60 teams since 1995; Illinois is second with 48 followed by Georgia with 41 and California with 28.
Jenny Heidt coached her fifth TOC champion, second most in tournament history behind only Ted Belch. Heidt coached the 2002 champion from Pace Academy and the 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2011 champions from Westminster. Belch racked up six championships: 1974 and 1978 for Walter Panas, 1981 for Glenbrook South, and 1996, 2001, and 2004 for Glenbrook North.