TJ Foley of Valley wins Great Midwestern Novice Nationals; Emma Weddle of Roosevelt wins JV title

TJ Foley of Valley High School is this year’s Great Midwestern Novice LD champion. TJ defeated Neal Kapoor of Lake Highland Prep in the final round. TJ was coached by Dave McGinnis and Jason Smith; Neal is coached by George Clemens, Michelle Jiang, and Martin Sigalow.

Full results:


Millard North JM advances without debating

Lake Highland NK advances without debating

Lake Highland SP advances without debating

Valley IP defeats Los Altos JN (James Naumovski)

Lake Highland NP advances over Lake Highland GN (Gloria Nashed)

Valley TG advances over Valley CT (Conal Thomas-McGinnis)

Lake Highland MC advances over Lake Highland WB (Whitney Beamer)

Valley TF advances over Valley EM (Evan McKinney)


Valley TF defeats Millard North JM (Jesse Mu)

Lake Highland NK advances over Lake Highland MC (Michael Corder)

Lake Highland SP defeats Valley TG (Trent Gilbert)

Lake Highland NP defeats Valley IP (Isabelle Pierotti)


Valley TF defeats Lake Highland NP (Navya Potthamsetty)

Lake Highland NK advances over Lake Highland SP (Sreya Pinamaneni)


Valley TF defeats Lake Highland NK (Neal Kapoor)


Valley TF (TJ Foley)

In the JV division, Emma Weddle of Des Moines Roosevelt and Rikhav Shah of Lake Highland advanced to the final debate of the six-person round robin. On a 2-1 decision, Emma was declared the champion.



  • yewww the babies<3

  • It should go without saying that I am tremendously proud of my novices. TJ, Trent and Evan are all 8th graders and Conal is a 6th grader. So, you know, watch out.

    I was also particularly proud of Jason Smith who spent hours working with the kids to prep against some very difficult opponents. Not only is Jason a fabulous debater, but he will one day soon be a sought-after and very successful coach.

    Last, I was very pleased to see my novices learn a lesson about friendship and debate. After duking it out tooth and nail with the incredible novice team from Lake Highland, they concluded the tournament with a group photo featuring both teams, and, apparently, they are all now Facebook buddies, which will of course lead to more time spent FB-chatting and less time spent cutting cards, but if that is the price of intra-squad friendship, I am willing to pay it.

  • Congrats Emma!! That’s such a great accomplishment, you’ve got such a bright future ahead in the activity!

  • George Clemens

    Congrats to Valley TJ Foley and Des Moines Roosevelt Emma Weedle. And… I’m very proud of my kids. Best group of Varsity Mentors I’ve ever had and certainly best group of novices I’ve ever had. McGinnis, send me the pictures you took please.

  • Oh damn. Emma is so so cute. Like, too cute to handle.

  • Neal and Rikhav are also coached by Bryan Wilder! Congrats guys! And congrats to the rest of Lake Highalnd for dominating acroos the board!

    • Yes, Lake Highland definitely dominated… acroos… the board. 😉

      Seriously, though, that group of Lake Highland novices is incredible. The depth of talent rivals anything I’ve seen (outside of Valley, maybe 🙂