Speech and debate kick-start first tournament of 2017

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By Paula Dispa

Speech and Debate students from all over the nation convene in a separate room to practice before their tournament starts. Photo Courtesy of Robert Andrews
Speech and Debate students from all over the nation convene in a separate room to practice before their tournament starts. Photo Courtesy of Robert Andrews

Speech and Debate team traveled to Arizona State University to compete in the ASU Southwest Championship  from Jan. 5-7.

“The Arizona State University tournament is always a blast; we have the most talented debaters and performers in the district, and our performance in the National District Tournament is always improving. This is all thanks to our Coach Miles for all the time and effort he puts into the program. We wouldn’t be anywhere near the level we are at without him,” Robert Andrews, junior, said.

As the largest tournament in the state of Arizona, it provides teams from all over the nation a chance to compete against each other in the Valley of the Sun in January.

“The tournament went really well for everyone who competed. We had three teams who advanced to elimination rounds. Louis [Shulman] and I made it to octo-finals and learned a lot from the college debaters and coaches,” Allie Ryerson, senior, said.

The policy debate featured two-member teams who debated on the 2015-2016 National High School debate topics. Novice and varsity divisions were offered; the novice division was limited to debaters in their first year of competition. If either member of a team was ineligible for the novice division, the team must be entered in the varsity division.

In the varsity speech category, Travis Smith, junior, and Kristian Thymianos, senior, won fifth place. In the varsity debate category, seniors Louis Shulman and Allie Ryerson made it to the octo-finals, and won 5-2. Barry Corcoran, junior, and Adil Bhatti, senior, also made it to the octo-finals for varsity debate, and won 5-3.

“It was really awesome to get to the finals at the ASU tournament because it qualified my partner and me for the Tournament of Champions and the National Individual Event Tournament of Champions. The event was well run, and I had a lot of fun participating,” Smith said.

The next tournament is at Palo Verde on Jan. 27-28.