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Great Bend Debaters finish 8th in the State

The Great Bend High School debate students have spent the semester improving their thinking, researching and speaking skills. The previous two weekends provided an opportunity to show off those skills at four exclusive tournaments.  

Last weekend, Great Bend Debate won 8th place at the KSHSAA 5A Four-Speaker Debate Tournament. In addition, GBHS also qualified a team for the KSHSAA 5A Two-Speaker Debate Tournament. Both of these culminating state tournaments took place at Washburn Rural in Topeka. Junior Chrisangel Adame and senior Aliyah Fryberger represented the Panthers in the 2-Speaker tournament. Seniors Adeline Dougherty and Xanna Smith debated on the affirmative for the 5A-State 4-Speaker team. The negative team was composed of junior Thomas Henrikson and senior Maddix Pokorski. Senior Alondra Alvarez was the alternate. 

At Novice State, held at Wichita Southeast High School the weekend of Jan. 6-7, the best Novice (first year) teams in the state debated. Freshmen from Great Bend included Hannah Hopkins, Ellie Damm, Rhys Froestchner and Quinton Heath. Hopkins and Damm compiled a record of 4 wins and 2 losses and finished 15th overall out of 57 teams. Hopkins was the 15th best speaker in the tournament and Damm was the 18th out of 114 debaters.  While none of the debaters placed in the top eight to break into out-rounds, they all put in an amazing effort, coach Kim Heath said. 

Finally, also at Wichita Southeast, two varsity teams consisting of Dougherty, Smith, Henrikson and Pokorsk debated in a very selective tournament called the Kansas Debate Classic (KDC) with over 70 skilled debate teams from across the state. While neither team broke into elimination rounds, they showed excellent tenacity and strength in their six rounds.

These tournaments end the debate season. The team members now turns their attention to forensics. They will open their season Friday with a trip to Wichita State’s United Nations conference.