Speech and debate qualifiers head to states

By Brooke Hisrich and Antia Munoz — Seventeen Speech and Debate State Qualifiers will represent the high school on Feb. 28 and March 1. After a long and competitive season, spanning from October until mid-March, the “speechies” and “debaters” will finally compete at the tournament they have worked towards all season.

“I worked really hard in order to qualify to states. The night before Littles [the state qualifying tournament] I stayed at practice until 7 p.m., writing good cases,” junior public forum debater, Malcom Guy said.

Sarah Yanonne, who competes in the event called Original Oratory, thinks the best way to practice for States is competing in other tournaments.

“We have had a multitude of practice tournaments that allow us to compete against strong competition in the Canton, Akron and Cleveland district in order to prepare for the district or ‘play-off’ season,” Yanonne said.

Littles is the state qualifying tournament where Speech and Debate students compete against schools within the Canton district; the Canton district consists of approximately 16 schools. Two weeks after Littles, the Bigs tournament occurred. Bigs is the national qualifying tournament where less students qualify and the team competes against the Canton and Akron district, which consists of nearly 30 schools.

“I was really excited when I found out that I was the district champion of my event, Original Oratory,” Yanonne, a second-time state qualifier said.

Emily Grubbs and Kyla Simon, a Public Forum debate team, were also named district champions of the event, Public Forum. Nathan Beidle and Emily King took runner-up for district champions and will also be attending the State tournament.

“The number of competitors in each events determines the amount of state qualifiers each event has. The more competitors we have the more qualifiers we have,” Brooke Hisrich, State and National qualifier in International Extemp said.

Grubbs, Simon and Hisrich also all qualified to the national tournaments that will take place starting on June 15 until June 20. The students qualified will practice once a week until their June trip.

“I’m excited to take a trip across the country to debate for the last time before I go off to college. It’s a great way to end the season,” Grubbs said.

Grubbs and Simon have been working together the entire debate season and their hard work had paid off.

“It was exciting to be recognized not only by my team and coaches but also by the entire Canton and Akron district and fellow competitors. It was just such a great honor and experience,” Simon said.

One of the best things about Speech and Debate is receiving support from your teammates and coaches.

“I think everyone in school should give a chance to Speech and Debate; it has changed my life, I don’t know what I would do without it,” Guy said.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]