Debate has week of success at several tournaments

Ayden Boyles, Staff Writer

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Debate has had a week of success at the Junction City and Shawnee Heights tournaments on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday.

At Junction on Saturday, the team had many individuals place in the top ten, with the team receiving fourth place overall. The team took 24 students to Shawnee Heights, resulting in two varsity division top three placements, a second place win in open division and a top ten placement in the novice division.

“I’m thoroughly impressed by the first year debaters that are going up this year, they’ve worked hard,” Mac Phrommany, MHS debate head coach, said. “It took a little bit of wrangling to get them out to tournaments… but I think the competitive and personal success and the meeting of goals and realizing that they’re more talented than they realize, has really shown a lot of these kids debate might be something they want to stick with, or debate is something that can open some doors for them.”

The team has some struggles going into tournaments, the biggest being nerves. Nerves are a natural part of speaking in front of anyone so the team will often hear Phrommany tell them, “If you’re not nervous, you’re lying.”

The team has also used their time to work on strategy by analyzing tactics that other schools use throughout the tournaments. This has lead to the debate team having two undefeated teams at the Shawnee Heights tournament last Tuesday, which Phromanny says was very competitive, and high ranks from Shawnee Heights last Saturday.

Shawnee Heights, while quickly becoming a shining moment for the team, had complications of its own. Advanced debate pairs juniors Trinity Brockman and Will Bannister, and juniors Megan Keenan and Allison Payne — who have had multiple successes this season — both placed in the top three in the varsity division. Keenan and Payne won the quarter-final round on a 3-0 decision, setting up to face Brockman and Bannister, who went undefeated, in the semi-finals. At the decision of Phrommany, Brockman and Bannister “stepped over” Keenan and Payne rather than debate them, going on to win the entire varsity division. Keenan and Payne went on to take third.

“[Being asked to debate Keenan and Payne] was kind of weird, but I knew since we had a higher record there was nothing we could do,” Brockman said. “It was a slightly rough weekend since both [Bannister] and I were sick, and it was [Bannister’s] first time in varsity, but since we were able to get a lot of work done before the tournament we were able to be well prepared.”

Pairs Tanya Singh, junior, and Sam Delong, freshman, also took second in open at Shawnee Saturday. Jonathan Stanger, senior, and Dominkyas Metlevski, junior, took eighth in the novice division.  

The tournament at Shawnee took place just two days after the Westboro protest, where debate students had the opportunity to practice the abstract lessons of debate.

“We had been leading up to lessons about staying cool, calm and collected in the face of stress. [The Westboro Baptist Protest] was a perfect example… of what it means to be stressed out, to have someone yelling at you, to have someone working against you… and staying cool calm collected in the face of duress, in the face of stress in the face of adversity,” Phrommany said. “That’s something we practice in our debate rounds, which is a more safe and secure space. These are lessons that are going to be extended into the real world.”

Debate will continue on to compete at Highland Park this Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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