Following their wins in the last week at the Silver Lake and Salina South debate tournaments, Manhattan High debate is continuing their success streak, placing teams in the top ten in Varsity and Kansas Debate Classic divisions at the Tom Kelly Debate Invitational in Hutchinson this weekend.
Varsity pair senior Trinity Brockman and sophomore Sam Delong — who have consistently been the group to keep an eye on this season — ranked third overall in the Varsity division after dropping to Lawrence. This comes after their first place win at Salina last week that qualified them to the state Debate Coaches Invitational Tournament, which is available only to those that successfully compete at a top DCI-level tournament.
“We competed against a lot of the teams that we will have to debate at DCI state, so it helped us gauge our competitiveness,” Delong said.
In addition to the Varsity win, junior pair Cryteen Brown and Ben Whitten placed ninth in the Debate Classic division. According to head coach Mac Phrommany, the pair “barely missed making the quarterfinal round.”
According to Brockman, preparing for national-level debates such as the KCKCC tournament has been a challenge, as she and Delong are currently the only ones from Manhattan competing at their level.
“We don’t even have anyone to debate on the [MHS] team,” Brockman said. “Me and [Delong] are not able to do practice rounds with literally anybody on the team… We hired some from [Kansas State University]… he’s a great resource at tournaments because he’s able to like cut evidence and he helps us out, but when it comes to actually getting help during the week… he’s really busy so he’s not really helping in that kind of sense.”
According to Phrommany, Brockman and Brown were both recognized as top speakers.
Manhattan will move on next week to compete at the Shawnee Heights After School Novice Tournament on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They will then send the Varsity team, along with one novice team on to the Kansas City Kansas Community College Tournament of Champions — a national circuit DCI qualifier — on Friday and Saturday. According to Brockman and Delong, this is the first time MHS will be sending a team in almost five years.
“I am expecting to get a more competitive experience than what we’re getting right now,” Brockman said. “Since Sam and I are doing well at the state level and have already qualified to state in three tournamtns, we want to make a more national push just so we’re able to be more competitive.”