Debate competes in two tournaments, prepares for large competitions

Kaitlin Clark, Entertainment Editor

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This week proved to be a busy one for Manhattan High’s debate students. Students both competed and judged in the Washburn Rural debate tournament on Monday and competed in the Maize tournament on Friday.

“At the [Washburn Rural] tournament I think all of our novices learned a lot and were excited to go to the last tournament of the season for them,” Trinity Brockman, sophomore, said.

A total of 10 students competed in the tournament, with an additional nine students acting as judges.

Judges have to work under sometimes tense conditions, including when a team may not like the scores they received, which can be reflected in their treatment of the judges.

“I don’t feel that the tournament was ruined just because I had an off-putting experience with certain individuals,” Gabrielle Evans, senior, said. “I don’t feel that it reflects the outlook of [their] school at all because they handled it really well, but it was just those individuals, which you really can’t control.”

It is also difficult for judges when they are judging two teams that are both highly skilled. This puts them in a difficult position in which they must ultimately decide which team had a winning edge, despite the fact that both teams performed well.

“Judging felt kind of different because all of the rounds I judged seemed very competitive and had some very good teams,” Brockman said.

Nine students attended the Maize tournament on Friday, with the team of Jered Zhang, junior, and Lily Colburn, senior, placing third, and the sophomore team of Alison Payne and Megan Keenan receiving fifth place in the open division.

“The most rewarding [part of the tournament] was when they gave Megan and I our trophy and medals,” Payne said.

The tournament also marked the qualification of Zhang and Colburn for the state debate competition. Manhattan High now has an impressive total of three teams qualified for state, including the sophomore teams of Payne and Keenan as well as and Will Bannister and Caden Hickel. All three teams will go on to compete at the state debate tournament, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 12 and 13.

“I think all of us learned about some new cases that we haven’t seen before and will take what we have seen and learned and start prepping for regionals, [Kansas Debate Classic], Novice State, and State,” Brockman said.

When the first semester concludes, debate students will be shifting their focus to their forensics season, but their focus is still currently firmly in the realm of debate. With a wide variety of major competitions occurring within the next few weeks, students must be ready to showcase their skills in hopes of placing highly, which could bring about recognition to both individual competitors and Manhattan High’s debate program as a whole.

“We have a couple of very competitive tournaments that will be coming up,” Brockman said. “But after this semester it will be time for forensics season which I think a lot of people are quite excited for.”

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