Posted Date: 12/21/2018
A Chanute High School team comprised of mostly novice debaters surprised themselves at the four-speaker policy regional tournament and will now compete at the state 4A tournament in January.
The team finished second at the Parsons regional with a 10-2 record against six other schools. Wellington finished first with a 12-0 record.
Coach Chase Reed told the team that he expected them to do well.
“I was really excited,” he said afterwards. “They’ve really prepared hard. What stands out is that with the exception of one player, all of the team members are first-year debaters who went up against juniors and seniors.”
On the CHS team, only Karlie Spragg has a year of experience behind her. The other five, freshman and sophomores are novices in their first debate season. They are Hogan Smith, Alex Rodriquez, Noah Cunningham, Taylor West and Annyah Yap.
The policy being debated this year is legal immigration, whether the United States should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration, or not. The four-speaker debate team has six members. Two argue the affirmative and two take the negative case with a negative and affirmative alternate for each side. West, Spragg and Yap took the negative, while Smith, Rodriquez and Cunningham took the affirmative side.
With this style “they get more specialized. The affirmative team is affirmative for all of the tournament and the negative team is negative all six rounds. You hit every school there,” Reed said.
The students worked hard compiling research and showing up for practices.
“I think we really underestimated ourselves because we’re all first-years,” West said. “I really didn’t expect to make it to state the first year, but I learned a lot from my partners.”
Rodriquez complimented the team’s efforts and hundreds of hours of preparation.
“We knew what we were talking about. We had the right information at our disposal and we were prepared,” he said.
He also credited his partners.
“I think we work pretty well together as partners. We know what the other one is thinking without talking,” Rodriquez said.
West and her freshman partner, Yap, were unlikely debaters this fall. Both girls had signed up for different elective classes, and then found themselves enrolled in debate.
Yap’s reaction when she found out she was enrolled in debate was, “Yeah, right. But I actually don’t regret it at all,” she said.
The four-speaker team joins the two-speaker debate team, junior Jay Brown and senior Jacob Larson, who have already qualified for state. The 4A State Debate tournament is to be held Jan. 11-12 at Fort Scott.