Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lawrence debaters headed for state tournament

January 10, 2013


Debate teams from both high schools in Lawrence are competing for the Class 6A state championship this weekend in Hutchinson where top-performing debaters from throughout Kansas are squaring off at the state tournament.

Free State High School is sending one team in the four-speaker division as well as four teams in the traditional two-speaker competition.

Meanwhile, Lawrence High School is sending four teams in the two-speaker division.

Jo Ball, coach of the Free State squad, spent much of Thursday getting her teams ready for the preliminary rounds that started Friday afternoon and was unavailable for comment.

But Lawrence High coach Jeff Plinsky gave his cross-town rivals credit for having a successful season last fall.

“She’s having quite a year,” Plinsky said about Ball’s squad. “She’s the real story this year.”

“Our squad right now is really young and energetic, and I like them a lot,” Plinsky said of the LHS debaters. “We’re having some growing pains and we’ve got some growing to do, but here at the end of the season we had some young kids who showed up and competed hard.”

Last year, Free State placed second in the four-speaker division behind the state champions from Shawnee Mission West. In that division, squads are divided into two pairs: one that argues the affirmative side in every round and another that always argues the negative side. Those squads may also include up to two alternate speakers.

Four-speaker teams qualify to the state tournament by placing high in their respective regional tournaments, which were held in December. Free State’s four-speaker team includes Adam Strathman (sophomore); Logan Brown (junior); Hannah Moran (junior); Alex Houston (junior); Parker Hopkins (sophomore); and Isaac March (sophomore).

Two-speaker teams qualify for the state tournament by competing in at least four regular-season invitational tournaments in Kansas and winning at least 50 percent of their rounds. In that division, each team argues both the affirmative and negative sides in alternating rounds. Free State’s two-speaker teams are:

• Katie Conard (senior) and Adam Fales (senior).

• John McCain (senior) and Josie Naron (junior).

• Kalex Holm (senior) and Tucker Prescher (senior).

• Abby Schletzbaum (senior) and Andrew Pester (senior).

The four two-speaker teams from Lawrence High are:

• Eddie Loupe (senior), who also competed in the 2012 state tournament, and Lauren Pauls (senior).

• Hayley Luna (sophomore) and Ellie Dunlap (sophomore).

• Hannah Lee (sophomore) and Mona Ahmed (sophomore).

• Jacob DiVilbiss (sophomore) and Kelli Sturm (sophomore).

The resolution being debated this year is “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its transportation infrastructure investment in the United States.”

Resolutions are set each year by the National Forensics League, the governing body for high school debate competition in U.S. public schools.

Novice teams

In addition to the tournament this weekend, a separate tournament was held for novice debate teams last weekend at Wichita East High School. The novice tournament is divided into two divisions: one for freshmen only, and an open division for teams in which at least one debater is a sophomore or older.

Two teams from Free State advanced to the elimination rounds in the open division. Sophomores Zach Hayes and Sarah Lieberman finished in fourth place, while freshman Becca Moran and sophomore Wynne Feddema took fifth place.

Feddema also placed seventh individually in the Top Speaker awards. Moran took the 10th place Top Speaker award.

Freshmen Samantha Farb and Linda Liu advanced and placed fourth in the ninth-grade division.

From Lawrence High School, the team of Morgan Ross (sophomore) and Josie Spencer-Speirer (freshman) advanced to the octafinal round and finished in 10th place.

Freshman Stefan Petrovic took the fifth-place Top Speaker award, and freshman Kaitlyn Preut took the ninth-place Top Speaker award.


Katara 5 years ago

Congrats! Good luck to both schools!

Alex (not Kalex), Tucker and Andrew are seniors, not sophomores.

Katara 5 years ago

Abby is not a senior. C'mon, folks! How difficult is it to get it correct?

Peter Hancock 5 years ago

Thanks folks. I'm going by the info sent to us from the debate coach.

Stan Unruh 5 years ago

Thanks for the State Debate story.

Whodathunk 5 years ago

Way to represent our city! I know a lot of hard work was put in by all of the competative teams. Job well done.

Peter Houston 5 years ago

Mr. Hancock, thank you very much for running this story. Please don't be discouraged by any of the critical comments above. I wish that the scholastic achievements of our local high schools received as much press coverage as the events of the high school althetic teams.

Bill Rice 5 years ago

Agree with likeitis, enjoyed the article and reading about something from a couple of the high schools that was positive and not just sports. As for the article, probably would have said two of the high schools instead of "both high schools in Lawrence" as the Seabury debate team is also competing at the state tournament this Friday and Saturday. Not to take anything away from the kids in this article as they deserve recognition!

Michelle Fales 5 years ago

I agree with the two posters above. I was so excited to open the paper today and see Parker, Josie and Kalex's picture and the article. My son is there in Hutchinson right now. These students and coaches put so much time into preparing for these meets. My son would say Debate has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his High School years. Thanks to Mr. Plinsky, Miss Ball, Seabury coach, the assistant coaches, judges, and parents who make this all possible. Good luck to Free State, LHS and Bishop Seabury on a successful tournament. And have a safe drive home!!!

Michelle Fales 5 years ago

And Peter, Kalex is correct. As far as grades, I'm not sure on all of them. But in the printed paper, Andrew reflects as a senior which is correct. You can only go by the info given. Peter, thank you for doing this article. It's giving these students and coaches for well deserved recognition. I was texting my son this morning and the team had heard about the article. They were so excited and proud to be recognized. Thank you.

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