Debate gains experience at national qualifying tournament

Kaitlyn Clark, Entertainment Editor

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Manhattan High’s debate team competed in the National Debate Qualifiers tournament last Friday and Saturday, and although they may not have found victory, they did gain a great deal of experience.

“This tournament is definitely much more difficult than the rest,” Raven Arasmith, junior, said. “You compete against a lot of talented teams and that makes it much harder.”

Eight MHS students were taken to the tournament, with only one pair making it through the first round of eliminations.

The National Qualifiers tournament is organized differently than other tournaments. All teams debate two rounds on the first day, and all pairs with a winning record moves on to a third round, followed by the Saturday portion of the tournament. Only one Manhattan High team made it past the first two rounds.

“The hardest part [of the tournament] was going against better competition than normal,” Cameron Marshall, sophomore, said. “The format makes the tournament harder, as every round gets tougher and tougher no matter what.”

There was added pressure for students since it was a tournament that could potentially qualify teams for nationals.

“This tournament had a lot tougher competition, seeing as how it was to qualify for the national competition in the summer,” Blaise Hayden, junior, said.

There were several difficult aspects to competing, including the appearance of new cases made by other teams.

“The hardest part of [debating] is coming up against new [affirmative cases] that we don’t have any opposing evidence for,” Arasmith said. “It’s hard to argue against something that you don’t have anything on.”

Even without the success they have become accustomed to, debate students gained a great deal of experience from competing in such a difficult tournament.

“My partner and I lost both rounds, but neither of us were really that disappointed,” Hayden said. “We knew it was going to be [a] tough competition going into the tournament. We could’ve met up more before the tournament to go over and prepare.”

This tournament also marks the end of the debate season for students who will not be moving on to larger upcoming competitions, such as the state tournament.

“I’ve enjoyed this debate season,” Hayden said. “It’s been my first proper season, and even though I haven’t had a winning record, the people I compete with [or] against are what make it really fun.”

Students who are state-eligible will now focus on preparing by meeting after school to practice and prepare their arguments.

Even though the team may not have found an ultimate victory, they succeeded in learning and practicing the skill of debate that they came together for.

“The team did a pretty decent job,” Arasmith said. “We made a few mistakes but overall we did well.”

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Debate gains experience at national qualifying tournament