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Debaters gain experience at two-day tournament

Posted Date: 11/05/2018

The trip to Johnson County for a two-day debate tournament was meant as a celebration and a time for the CHS debate members to bond as a team. In fact, the team realized much more from the experience.

“It was not a trophy collector tournament but a chance to get the whole team together and have a fun experience,” Coach Chase Reed said. Debate is a lot of hard work.”

Five teams of experienced debaters and three novice teams from Chanute High School each Medalists at Blue Valley Debate Tournamentcompeted against 60 teams in the open and novice divisions of the Blue Valley Debate Tournament. Following two preliminary rounds on Friday, two teams advanced to Saturday’s elimination rounds.

At the end of the day, juniors Jay Brown and John Stanley took 5th in the open division, and freshman Annyah Yap and sophomore Noah Cunningham tied for 8th in the novice division.

“I’m just thrilled. I feel like my kids don’t realize how great they are,” said Coach Reed. ”This tournament was an eye opening experience going up against teams they’ve never seen before.”

Though the topic didn’t change – all students are debating about immigration policies this year – the students were introduced to a different style of debate and judges who placed priorities in different areas.

It was a classic style tournament which is similar to what the students will see if they compete at state, he explained.

In the southern part of Kansas, Reed said his students can win based on debate theory and evidence. At Blue Valley, the judges preferred simplicity and storytelling.

“They wanted you to take something very complex and make it simple. They wanted you to not just present evidence, but to weave the facts together and tell stories,” Reed said.  “The judges also emphasized impact, the impact of taking action or not taking action. They won points for understanding what they’re doing.”

Reed was not unhappy with the results.

“It became obvious to us that our students understand debate really well,” Reed said.

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