Wow! What a year for Southeast Debate/Forensics in 2013-14! Eleven state qualifiers. Three national qualifiers. Over 50 top 6 regular season finishes. Oh, and a whole lot of good memories. Check out some of the special moments from last year in the slideshow above. This year promises to be just as exciting. This is your place for all things debate and forensics. Want to know how the team is doing? Click on the News link below. Curious what past students have to say about debate/forensics? Check out the videos under Personal Message. Much more is coming, so stay tuned!
Traveling to Coffeyville on February 14-15, the Southeast forensics squad faced its toughest competition of the season. Sixteen schools were in attendance with 267 individual entries across the 11-event tournament. While advancing only 6 entries to finals, it’s what the Southeast squad did with those entries that was simply . . . priceless.
Southeast dominated in Dramatic Interpretation, with three of the seven finalists in the event. Ashleigh Fleck earned first place rankings in all three of her preliminary rounds, advancing her to the final round for the third tournament in a row. She finished in fifth place. Hannah Files and Dustie Walker brought home the gold and silver, winning first and second places, respectively. This was Hannah’s very first tournament competition, and her very first state qualification. Meanwhile, this was Dustie’s third consecutive top-two finish of the season.
In one of the largest events of the tournament, Poetry, senior Jessica Markley and freshman Dietrich Smith advanced to finals with near-perfect performances in their preliminary rounds. Jessica received two first place rankings and one second place ranking in her three preliminary rounds. Dietrich did her one better being ranked first by all three of his preliminary judges. Jessica and Dietrich placed second and third respectively, qualifying both students for the state tournament. Rounding out the finalists, Jessica Markley also advanced to finals in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. For the second weekend in a row, Jessica won the event.
There were many priceless moments from this tournament, but none better than one-two finish of Hannah and Dustie in Dramatic Interpretation. To see Hannah’s reaction to winning first place, and the reaction of the rest of the squad was simply priceless. This is a good group of kids. As much as they want to do well individually, they are just as excited to see their teammates succeed. This is a good group of kids with a lot of potential, and I can’t wait to see what else they can accomplish. I’m sure it will be priceless.
Staying close to home for the second tournament of the season, the Southeast forensics squad made the short trip to Colgan High School for the forensics tournament there on February 7-8. Seven entries medaled at the two-day tournament.
Senior Jessica Markley followed up her fourth place finish in Congressional Debate on Friday night with a strong performance in United States Extemporaneous Speaking on Saturday. A two-time national qualifier in the event, Jessica was ranked first in each of her three preliminary rounds. She competed in finals where she won first place, qualifying her for the state tournament in May. Kim Collins, a past national qualifier herself, advanced to finals in United States Extemporaneous Speaking where she finished in fourth place.
Dustie Walker and Ashleigh Fleck, competing in Dramatic Interpretation, added to the success they had at their previous tournament by placing second and fifth, respectively. Daniel Schuller placed sixth in Humorous Interpretation for the second tournament in a row. Rounding out the weekend’s medalists was Jake Zortz, who placed third in Congressional Debate.
Mother Nature kept us out of school a couple of days, which limited our practice time. Still, I pleased with much of what I saw from the kids. Even those who didn’t make it to finals got a lot of good comments from their judges that we can all feel really good about. Hopefully we can continue to build on our success next week when we travel to Coffeyville.
Off and Running
Just one week removed from the end of the debate season, the forensics team had little time to prepare for their first tournament competition of the season. Despite the short turn around, they hit the ground running in a big way when 6 of their 11 entries made into finals at the Girard forensics tournament on January 25.
If the day belonged to any one person, it would have to be Dustie Walker. After a week of nagging and pushing by her coach, Dustie’s hard work paid off with a dominating performance in Dramatic Interpretation. Performing a piece titled “Good Mother,” Dustie was ranked first in each of her three preliminary rounds. She was equally dominating in finals, placing first overall qualifying her for the state tournament in May. Dustie also qualified for state in Poetry after a third place finish in that event. Sophomore Ashleigh Fleck also put in a strong performance in her Dramatic Interpretation of a teenager diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ashleigh was ranked first in two of her preliminary rounds and second in another, advancing her to finals as the second seed. She finished in 6th place. Other finalists included: Jessica Markley- 5th place in Extemporaneous Speaking, Daniel Schuller- 6th place in Humorous Interpretation, and Dietrich Smith- 4th place in Humorous Interpretation.
I always encourage students to push themselves to get ready for the first tournament of the season. Dustie and Ashleigh put more work into their events than anyone, and it really paid off at the tournament. The challenge for them now is not to settle for what they’ve done, but to push themselves to achieve even more. The challenge for the rest of the team is to get in as much practice time over the next couple of weeks as possible. I’m confident that if they do, they will see some positive results. Our showing at Girard was the start of what I hope to be a very successful season.