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Debate struggles through week’s tournaments, battles “untraditional” opposition

Meredith Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Debate had a busy week, fighting through the Highland Park tournaments on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, as well as jumping in on an unscheduled Derby Invitational.

“Great continuation of the season,” head coach Mac Phrommany said. “The kids are putting in a lot of hard work.”

Highland was a success that left the team with every partnership receiving a winning record and a first place win in the sweepstakes round.

“Overall, [the tournament was] genuinely a wonderful and incredible time,” Paul Wright, senior, said.

However, talk of racial bias and “flawed arguments” swarmed the debate room Monday morning.  Students The Mentor interviewed were hesitant to comment on what they called “interesting” and “untraditional” arguments.

Advanced debater junior Trinity Brockman — the student behind Manhattan’s involvement at Derby — was asked to clarify on her teammates’ comments of “interesting” and “weird” arguments.

“What [my teammates] meant was the arguments were kind of inaccurate and were based on bias and not facts,” Brockman said.

While Derby did not prove successful in gaining the team another sweepstake, it still opened up opportunities for the team. Spearheaded by Brockman, Derby was a student-led initiative aimed at getting Manhattan High a more diverse and experienced set of opponents and judges. This was the first time the team traveled to another district for a tournament.

Brockman and her partner, junior Tanya Singh, took second place overall at the tournament, a placement that has made her, as a first-year debater, a player to watch this season.

“Tanya is in her first year of debating and this is her second time going to [debate] outrounds and getting second which is a little less cool when you say it out loud,” Phrommany said. “For first-year debate, [Singh] has set the scene on fire.”

Junior and first-year debater Mbofho Ndou also went on to place as fifth speaker overall for the entire tournament.

The team will go on to compete at Topeka High next week in a DCI tournament.

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Debate struggles through week’s tournaments, battles “untraditional” opposition