Debate starts competition season at Washburn

Meredith Comas, Print Editor-in-Chief

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Manhattan High’s Debate team started off the competition season this weekend at one of their biggest tournaments of the year: the Washburn Rural Invitational. 

“It was, I think, a very good establishment, especially because Washburn Rural is one of the bigger tournaments,” intermediate debate student Elizabeth Kim, senior, said. “I’m very excited to see how the rest of the school year goes.”

According to head coach Mac Phrommany, this competition was the first Debate Coaches Invitational Tournament and Tournament of Champions national qualifier the Varsity team had ever attended. 

“It was awesome to see a lot of improvement for my students,” Phrommany said. “A lot of surprises, a lot of like, ‘Wow, you’ve grown a lot.’ I’ve known a lot of these students for the past three years in different capacities and knowing the fact that I’ve been able to see longitudinal growth over a couple of years has been a really cool experience and one I’m thoroughly enjoying.”

Kim, along with partner Kailitri “KJ” Jones, junior, placed fourth out of 55 teams in the Open division at Washburn on Saturday, making the quarter-finals for the first time in their debate career. The pair had never worked together before and had planned on a temporary partnership. According to Kim, after Saturday they plan to continue working together throughout the season.

“Last year was only my novice year so [Washburn] really allowed me to take my debate skills up to another level and I think so did [Jones] because this was the first time either of us had made it to the finals,” Kim said. “And before… although we were experienced debaters, we had never gotten that far. And so I think something magical happened where we were just perfect for each other.”

The Varsity team — made up of senior Trinity Brockman and sophomore Sam Delong — had finished last year’s season set up to make waves this year. The pair did not disappoint. 

According to Phrommany, Brockman and Delong made it all the way to the top 16 out of 62 teams in the Varsity Division. Of those 62 teams, Brockman was recognized as the single best competitor and Delong was recognized as the 8th best. 

The varsity division was a national level competition, featuring teams from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. 

“I was proud of both of us since there were almost 200 speakers,” Brockman said. “Doing well at the opening tournament not only made us more credible and a threat to other schools, but now we have a good idea on how to win tournaments coming up.”

The team will go on next weekend to compete at the Wichita East Invitational.