Debate places first at Seaman


Carmello Streckfus

The Manhattan High Debate team lines up against their transportation bus. Overall, the team placed first at the USD 345 HS Fall Classic Debate Tournament. Photo by Carmello Streckfus

McKayla Clark Snodgrass, Page Editor

The Manhattan High Debate team placed first and took the top nine spots in the Novice division at the USD 345 HS Fall Classic Debate Tournament over the weekend. This is the second weekend in a row that the debate team has placed first in a tournament this season.

“We won this tournament, we won the last one and it’s weird for me to say, [but] I think we can do really well at this next tournament,” head coach Mac Phrommany said.

Sophomore Brayden Merrill and Paige Shurtz went 2-3 in the Novice division. Senior Maverick Aggson and senior Chase Glasscock placed fourth. Freshmen Amylee Gil and Gabe Marichal went 2-3. Sophomore Brayah Bryant and freshman Salina Wang went 2-3. Freshmen Regan Cook and Max Steffensmeier placed ninth. Freshman William Graff and junior Martin Cejpek took eighth. 

Freshmen Brynn Chua and Kiku Nagai-Velasquez went 4-1, losing only one round at their first tournament. This was Chua’s first time competing in a debate tournament, which led to some nervousness. 

“I got more settled after I got used to doing the negatives,” Chua said. “But then our last team had paper evidence, so that kind of made me a lot more nervous.”

Chua’s favorite moment from the tournament was during one of the pair’s rounds, when one of the judges was behaving oddly, leading to both teams sharing a moment of confusion together.

Preparing for their presentations, the Manhattan High Debate team groups up at the USD 345 HS Fall Classic Debate Tournament. Photo by Carmello Streckfus (Carmello Streckfus)

“It [was] really confusing,” Chua said. “But then me and the person on the other team we both looked at each other like it was weird and there’s like this mutual agreement. We weren’t like enemies or complete opposites, we were just like people that were just on different teams and that was just pretty cool.”

Freshmen Sarah Zhang and Ava Bunnell placed seventh. Sophomore Allie Cloyd and freshman Mian Zhao placed third. Sophomore Jaxon Carey and freshman Jamen Trojcak placed second. Sophomore Jack McCornack and freshman Lane Burgett placed first. 

Freshmen Kennedy Crabtree and Remingtan Hansen took sixth place. For Crabtree, she was a little more nervous at this tournament than the pair’s first tournament.

“We went to our first [tournament] and it was like okay we’re going into it, it’s a learning experience, we have zero clue what we’re getting ourselves into at this point,” Crabtree said.

This tournament was the third tournament of the season meaning that, unlike the last one, this tournament could lead to the pair going against more experienced debaters. 

“We did more teamwork in this one and going into it it was kind of like ‘okay we know this is not going to be as easy’ as the first one,” Crabtree said. “Like we know this is some people’s first tournament [so we knew we could] still [be] going against first years but this very well [may] not be their first tournament.”

The pair went undefeated at this tournament.

Seniors Camila Gomez and Megan Long placed second in the Open division. Sophomores Anvesha Sharda and Helinna Bontrager went 2-3. Juniors Bailey Nall and Ianni Morales-Diaz placed sixth in the Open division.

“Steel sharpens steel and you know if you’re not going against higher and higher competition and better and better people, … we’re not pushing ourselves far enough,” Phrommany said. “But I think definitely with a showing of your first tournaments it proves that you’ve got the kind of chops necessary to keep up with the best of them.”

The debate team will meet next at the Silver Lake tournament.