Lawrence High School will send a team to the four-speaker state championship tournament next month.
The team made up of junior Hayley Luna, junior Ellie Dunlap, senior Mark Stevens and sophomore Stefan Petrovic qualified after placing second at a 6A regional tournament Saturday in Topeka. Freshmen Bridget Smith and Sungho Hwang were alternates but did not compete.
They finished with a 4-4 record, garnering 15 ballots and 110 speaker points, narrowly edging out Free State High School, which finished in third place with an identical record, but three fewer total ballots and nine additional speaker points.
There are typically three judges in each round of a regional tournament. Each judge names a winning team and ranks the speakers individually on a scale of 1 to 4, with one being the best. Therefore, the fewer speaker points a team gets, the higher it places.
Manhattan High School took first at the regional event with a 7-1 record, 18 ballots and 101 speaker points.
The 6A state tournament for both four-speaker and two-speaker competitions will held Jan. 17-18 at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park.
In four-speaker debate, teams are made up of two pairs of speakers. Before each round, the school may designate any two speakers to take the affirmative side of the resolution, and any two other speakers to argue the negative, as long as no student faces the same school more than once.
Earlier this season, Luna and Dunlap had success as a two-speaker team, taking first place in the open division Nov. 8-9 at Pittsburg High School, and third place Nov. 22-23 at the Topeka High School tournament.
Petrovic and Stevens won a fourth place trophy as a two-speaker team Nov. 15-16 at Shawnee Mission Northwest. Petrovic also took first place with another partner, sophomore Kaitlyn Preut, at the Washburn Rural Invitational Sept. 20-21.
Stevens, with junior Hannah Lee as a partner, won a fifth place medal in open division at Shawnee Mission North Oct. 12.
Meanwhile, Bishop Seabury Academy finished third at the 3A regional tournament Saturday at Silver Lake High School, falling behind Silver Lake and Rock Creek High School for a trip to the 3A championships to be held in Fort Scott.