Manhattan High debate sweeps the competition season

Meredith Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Manhattan High’s debate team has been arguing up a storm this competition season. The team has competed in a multitude of tournaments the last few weeks, including the Topeka West tournament Oct.17, the MHS Home Tourney Oct. 20 and, more recently, the Junction City Invitational on Saturday.

“The best part of my job is, consistently throughout the season, our advanced and experienced debate kids have been so willing to work with the younger students and support them,” Mac Phrommany, head coach, said. “It makes me incredibly proud.”

His statement can be clearly evidenced in the outpouring of peer support at Topeka West. While most Manhattan teams competing were novices, according to Phrommany, five experienced debate students also attended to coach and support younger pairs. The tournament resulted in Manhattan High eliminating six teams from the competition, sending all MHS pairs home with a winning streak, and two away undefeated.

The team went on the following Saturday to host their own meet, expressing incredible gratefulness for the participation not just from those directly associated with the team, but the community as well.

“The outpouring of school and community support was absolutely incredible,” Phrommany said. “It was a fairly small tournament due to our location in comparison with our competition, so we usually only need around 40 judges but we had 80, so we sadly had to turn a few away. But the community outpouring of support was astounding.”

Last weekend, the team traveled all of 30 minutes away to compete in the Junction City Invitational. The tournament consisted of five rounds against nine schools and 44 pair-entries. Manhattan High took novice debaters, as well as first-time-tournament students and Advanced debaters. According to Phrommany, while the group experienced “a couple of revisions, a couple grievances, a little bit of drama,” they went on to take fourth place overall and showcase the individual achievements of students Peyton Woods, junior; Ivy Auletti, junior; and Sam Delong, freshman. Woods was awarded first place speaker, preceding his younger debate fellow Delong, who took second. Auletti followed close behind, taking seventh.

“I feel like [our success] puts a higher standard on Manhattan and our progressiveness and fallibility when we compete,” Woods said. “I feel good about the season, our novices and more experienced debaters are doing well and I’m not nervous about the season at this point at all.”

The team has been making their mark in the 2018 competition season, and looks forward to more.

“Debate is really hard to prepare for, but pays off in the end,” Auletti said.

But, according to Phrommany, he wins are not the best part of the season and the credit belongs entirely to the students.

“The records are cool, the numbers are nice, but what I’m most proud of right now is the fact that some of these kids are saying ‘hey, what you’ve been teaching me is making sense now,’ it’s clicking and it makes me really happy to see that on the ballots,” Phrommany said. “I’m proud of my kids, they work hard and I think their results speak to how hard [they] work.”


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