Free State High School debaters win at state, will head to nationals in summer
photo by: Contributed Photo
After a strong showing at state, two Free State High School debaters brought home a championship trophy and have qualified to go on to the national tournament this summer.
The team of seniors Spencer Yost-Wolff and Max Lillich completed the Kansas State Debate Tournament with an 11-0 record, earning the title of 6A 2-Speaker State Champions at the event held Jan. 11-12 at Garden City High School.
“The boys do want to emphasize that while they were the team that won the tournament, they would not have been able to accomplish this goal without the support and work of our entire varsity squad, and all of our assistant coaches, who scouted rounds, prepared responses to other people’s arguments, produced new evidence, did practice rounds against them, etc. throughout the season,” coach Kelly Thompson said via email.
On this year’s topic, “Resolved: the United States federal government should substantially decrease its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States,” Spencer’s and Max’s primary argument throughout the season was on the affirmative side, Thompson said. Teams debate both sides during the course of the season, though.
“They argued that immigrants who receive H2A Visas to work in the Ag Industry in the U.S., should also be granted Legal Permanent Residency as a result of obtaining that visa,” Thompson wrote. “Basically, this means that they become permanent immigrants, rather than temporary ones.”
photo by: Contributed Photo
Thompson said another team of seniors, Alexi Sommerville and James Vereen, qualified in December for the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament, to be held this June in Dallas. At state, those two were part of Free State’s fourth-placing four-speaker team, which also included Zach Hill and Jacob Wilkus.
More students could still qualify for the national tournament through other events this spring.
All four of Free State’s two-speaker teams at the state tournament made it to the elimination debates, or the top 32, Thompson said. The teams of Savana Williams and Ethan Harris, and Matt Brandenburger and Aiden Basore, finished as octofinalists in the top 16. Tim Huffman and Jack Bellemere finished in the top 32.
A couple of other area schools also performed well at the tournament, according to results posted on the Kansas State High School Activities Association website, kshsaa.org.
Tonganoxie’s four-speaker team finished with an 11-3 record in Class 4A. In Class 3-2-1A, Bishop Seabury Academy’s four-speaker team finished with a 12-4 record and placed second, as did the two-speaker team of Chloe Akers and Hilary Griggs.
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