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GBHS debaters have a busy, successful week
COURTESY PHOTO GBHS debate team members who attended a meet at Salina South on Oct. 19 are, back row, from left: Raven Puig, Skylar Fletcher, Bayle Sandy, Kenia Balderrama, Xanna Smith; front row: Dalton Dicks, Daniel Abbott, Isaiah Smith, Malachi Wasson, Patrick Heath and Maddix Pokorski.
Courtesy photo Bayle Sandy, left, and Patrick Heath were champions in the experienced division at the Salina South Cougar Classic on Oct. 19.
Courtesy photo GBHS debaters who competed in Hoisington Novice Night on Oct. 21 were, back row, from left: Brooke Lewis, Raven Puig, Jessy Moeder, Breanne Allen, Dalton Dicks, Dustin Emig; front row: Adeline Dougherty and Katria Kindscher.

Great Bend High School seniors Bayle Sandy and Patrick Heath, continue to dominate in debate as the pair cruised to another 5-0 finish and a first place trophy at the Salina South Cougar Classic on Saturday, Oct. 19.  

Heath and Sandy earned decisive victories over debaters from Hays, TMP, McPherson, Olathe North and Newton. The pair also tied for 6th place for outstanding speaker of the tournament. The duo remains undefeated with a perfect 15-0 record after three tournaments.    

Despite their early success, Heath says they still have work to do.

“We are still improving our affirmative case and working hard to update our negative files,” he said. “We are always looking for arguments and supporting evidence that limits the negative attacks on our Nigeria case. At the same time, we brainstorm possible negative attacks against the affirmatives of the teams we are likely to see at the next tournament.”   

Sophomores Skylar Fletcher and Malachi Wasson posted wins against Junction City, Nickerson and Concordia en route to their 3-2 record at Salina. Head coach Kim Heath said she is impressed with her Junior Varsity roster this season.

“I have some very good second-year debaters this season,” said Heath. “Skylar and Malachi have worked hard and are very competitive. The second year of debate is very challenging. You are somewhat sheltered during your novice season and only face other novices. Your second year, you are thrown in against fourth-year seniors and sometimes you just get whipped. But that can be a great learning experience. All of my second-year debaters are earning valuable experience to help them be the leaders next season.”  

Other Panthers debating at Salina South included seniors Dalton Dicks and Daniel Abbot who went 2-3, posting wins over Newton and Lyons. Abbott is in just his second season of debate and Dicks is a novice.

“Despite their limited experience, Daniel and Dalton are a formidable team. Their strong speaking skills and command of the topic have allowed them to win against more experienced teams and come very close to beating some of the best teams in our area,” said Coach Heath.   

Sophomore Isaiah Smith and Freshman Maddix Pokorski gained valuable experience in the open division but did not pick up a win at Salina.  

Freshmen Xanna Smith and Kenia Balderrama beat Maize and two teams from Newton to go 3-2 in the novice division. Also in the novice division, Brooke Lewis and Raven Puig finished the tournament with a record of 1-4.

“The learning curve is high for novices,” said Coach Heath. “They must learn all the debate terminology, presentation and research skills, and information on the topic. These young ladies are improving every week and I couldn’t ask for more from them.”    

Eight Panther debate novices traveled to Hoisington on Monday, Oct. 21, to compete in the annual Garrett Blase Memorial Novice Debate Tournament. The three-round tournament allows area schools to pit their first-year debaters against other first-years in a low-stress environment with fourth-year debaters providing much of the judging.  

Great Bend novices won 9 of 12 rounds. Dalton Dicks and Dustin Emig were 3-0. Adeline Dougherty and Katria Kindscher were also 3-0. Breanne Allen and Jessy Mordor finished 2-1. Raven Puig and Brooke Lewis won 1 and lost 2.   

Panther Debate takes a much needed weekend off this week and will host a novice tournament of its own tonight at Great Bend High School.