Sugar Beet staff reporter
The Firebirds flew past all the competition last weekend on the debate stage during the 109th annual Kansas state debate tournament. It was to prove once and for all which Kansas high school was the best debaters in the state. This year the Lawrence Free State Firebirds have taken the crown for the 6A two-speaker divisions. This was accomplished by Spencer Yost-Wolff and Max Lilich.
“Throughout the season,” Yost-Wolff said, “Max and I spent countless hours on research, practice rounds, and tournaments. We researched and talked through the most persuasive and strategic arguments against each teams positions. We averaged around 25 hours a week preparing for state in the month building up to it. Our coaches were rigorous in discussing strategies and producing evidence with us. The squad as a whole worked extensively during practice sessions and at the tournament.”
These two student were competing against nearly 300 other debaters competing in this tournament.
“We expected to do well,” Yost-Wolff said, “We were pretty confident about reaching late elimination rounds at state. That being said, once we reached the top 32, one mistake would eliminate us from the tournament. It was nerve-wracking. Each round from double-octofinals on demanded every ounce of focus and determination we had. The tournament ended at 1:30 AM. We were exhausted, yet ecstatic to be undefeated, winning every single judge’s ballot even in elimination debates where several people judged each round. It was an amazing experience.”
The Firebirds have a history of success winning the state tournament in 2007 as well. About 80 2-speaker teams competed in the 6A division. The eight qualifying schools were Lawrence-Free State, Olathe East, Olathe North, Blue Valley-West, Blue Valley-North, Shawnee Mission Northwest, Wichita East and the defending state champion Topeka-Washburn Rural.
Jordan Koerperich is a health academy junior. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.