Debate team competes at state for second year

None of the members placed, but sophomores Adam White and Ben Wieland reached the Double Octofinals


By Anna Owsley

As he pulls up documents on the laptop, Debate assistant coach and alumni Jack Booth helps the team prepare for the second round.

Sophia Armendariz, JagWire reporter/photographer

The debate team competed at state, hosted in Garden City, Kansas on Friday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Jan. 12. While none of the teams placed, sophomores Adam White and Ben Wieland made it into the Double Octofinals with a record of 4:2, sophomores Anna Owsley and Grace McLeod had a record of 3:3, sophomores Tanner Smith and Zachary Botkin had a record of 3:3, and juniors Thomas and Travis Babcock had a record of 3:3.

Though she was satisfied with the results of the competition, Owsley believes a change in division may have affected the team’s placement.

“At regionals, it was more difficult because only the top two teams got to go to state, and it was 6A so the competition was a lot tougher,” Owsley said. “At state this year, the competition was tougher, but we still did well compared to last year.”

The path to state came with an increased workload, according to Thomas.

“This year, there was a lot more [work] ethic around the team [with] showing up to work nights [and] cutting evidence in your own time as well as school time,” Thomas said. “I feel like we were prepared evidence-wise and argumentation-wise when we did show up at state.”

Owsley noticed the positive effects of the work the team put in.

“We didn’t have a team that had a losing record, which is pretty significant,” Owsley said. “Everybody there was putting forth their full effort, and the fact that we’re winning rounds we wouldn’t have last year shows how we’ve improved.”

Thomas acknowledged how close the state debate team is with each other, their relationship going beyond visiting during work nights.

“I can’t really attest to how some teams interact with each other, but I know that the state team specifically gets along extremely well,” Thomas said. “We have a group chat and we all talk together all the time, we go out and hang out with each other, we have parties, and overall it’s a generally friendly environment. It’s basically a second family. If someone needs work done, everyone will pitch in and help them with the work they need to get cut that week.”

The positive environment keeps the team motivated, according to Thomas.

“I think a lot of people that were struggling with wanting to do debate or how hard the work ethic was this year saw how much it helped, and are now ready to come back next year swinging so we can do a lot better at state,” Thomas said.

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