Cypress Debayte Takes a Bite out of the Big Apple.



On Thursday, 32 of our debate squad got up extra early to head to the bright lights and big city of New York. The first thing we did when we got off the plane, after getting our rental vans and queuing our NYC soundtracks (think Frank Sinatra and Jay-Z), was head to our hotel in Saddlebrook, NJ, to unload and unwind. After a couple hours we all headed into the city on NJ transit and got into Penn Station with unabashed excitement. Some of the group stayed in Times Square with Mr. Martin to explore some of his favorite spots, some splintered off to talk a walk in Central Park with Mr. Montecalvo, and the bulk went a couple stops down on the 1 to SoHo to do some shopping with Ms. Fiebrantz, Ms. Arnold, and Ms. Warenik.


After a couple of hours checking out the city that never sleeps, the group came back together in Times Square to take some iconic pictures and feast at Virgil’s, a local, legendary, BBQ spot the team always tries to enjoy. After dinner we walked up the block en masse to the Broadway show Matilda—the story of a young girl who is brilliant but misunderstood by those who are supposed to be closest to her. The show was enchanting and electrifying.


Friday dawned, early for some, and the squad, prepped throughout the morning to prepare for the first few rounds of the Bronx Science Tournament. Additionally, the group got a treat in a catered lunch at the hotel with one of our fellow Manatee schools, University School.


At 1:45PM, everyone loaded up and we caravanned to Bronx Science. The rest of the day passed in a blur of three prelim rounds with more to come the next day.

Saturday, everyone was competing and everyone was up and on the road by 6:40. With some espresso, coffee, or tea (pick your poison), our coaches were ready to face the day. 😉 By the finish of the day Saturday, we had a baker’s dozen of competitors still in the hunt.

Eli Nir in LD

The teams of Kotler/Kotler, Viera/Hanan, Fernandez/Markowitz, and Schein/Bosem in Policy

Sterling Wertanzel in OI

Noah Rabinovich in OO

Brian Levy in DI


Gus Duran in Extemp



For the first time in the team’s history, we had FOUR Policy teams competing in bid rounds (if the round is won, the winning team earns 1 of 2 invitations to the Tournament of Champions, a prestigious tournament held in Lexington, Kentucky every spring). We have had a few policy teams reach TOC bid rounds. We have never had a team earn a TOC bid.


On Sunday, the stars aligned and Speech and Debate came together to have out rounds on the main campus of Bronx Science.

Across the board, all the kids, regardless of speech or debate, supported one another in their elim rounds. They especially appreciated the support of current and former teammates who weren’t there in person.


Without further ado, results:

Tyler Kotler (junior) and Lance Kotler (junior) & Alice Viera (senior) and Blake Hanan (senior) were in the top 8 policy debate teams out of 86 teams this weekend receiving their first of two needed bids to qualify to the TOC. First ever in Cypress Debayte history!!


Our other exciting results are below:

Alice Viera (senior) was awarded 2nd place speaker out of 172 debaters

Reilly Markowitz (senior) was 8th speaker out of 172 debaters

Roberto Fernandez (senior) was 16th speaker out of 172 debaters

Sterling Wertanzl (senior) placed 3rd in Program Oral Interpretation

Gus Duran (junior) placed 6th in Extemporaneous Speaking

Roberto Fernandez (senior) and Reilly Markowitz (senior) placed in the top 16 debate teams (out of 86 teams)

Alex Schein (senior) and Brian Bosem (senior) placed in the top 16 debate teams (out of 86 teams)

Noah Rabinovitch (sophomore) and Brian Levy (senior) were semi-finalists in their individual events as well.


Additionally, the team placed 9th overall in speech sweepstakes.

After a long, exhausting, fruitful weekend, Cypress Debayte is pleased to be bringing home so much good news. We are looking forward to the local CFL tournament this coming weekend and for one of our favorite tournaments of the year Blue Key in Gainesville in two weeks.


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