HAYS – The Great Bend High School debate team competed in its first debate tournament of the season Saturday by attending the Hays Arrowhead Invitational Debate Tournament.
The team had two students place in the individual speaker awards in the novice division out of 68 students. Marissa Hoisington placed first with six speaker points dropping only one speaker point out of five rounds of competition. "Debate is a quick-thinking sport and very stimulating. You have to think on your feet and stay organized. You meet so many different people and make tons of friends. I thought my first debate tournament was very educational, fun and an overall enjoyable time," Hoisington said.
Michael Gieck placed sixth with seven speaker points out of five rounds of competition. "Debate is excellent and scary, but you just need to be brave enough to try," he said.
The team also had four students win awards in the individual team awards in the Novice Division. The team of Sylvia Ofoma and Courtney Seever placed third overall in the novice division out of 34 teams by finishing the tournament with a 4-1 win/loss record and 22 speaker points. "At the beginning of the year debate was really confusing, but after hosting our tournament and competing in my first tournament it became really fun. It was fun to argue with people and talk to people from other towns," Ofoma said.
The novice team of Hoisington and Brittany Krieger tied for third in the novice division with Ofoma and Seever with a 4-1 win/loss record and 22 speaker points also. The tie was broken by their opposing team records. "Debate is for me because it makes me a smarter person and makes me think on my feet," Krieger said.
Great Bend had two more teams competing in the novice division that also had winning records. Logan Boyd and Gieck had a 3-2 win/loss record placing ninth. Erica Schwager and Trina Schlotthauer also had 3-2 win/loss record placing 11th out of 34 novice teams.
Coach Barbara Watson said second-year debater Alex Smith and first-year debater Bryce Johnston were brave enough to compete in the open varsity division against many four-year debaters so that our team could be eligible for sweepstakes. All of our teams contributed to our fourth-place sweepstakes finish out of 17 schools.
"I was very impressed with second-year debater Alex Smith’s dedication to the team. He came in two weeks before school started and helped reblock the negative evidence for the team. He also came in after school many times this past week and debated and critiqued the novices during their practice debates to help them. I was very proud of everyone that competed at the tournament and knew that they did their best," Watson said.