Debaters rated tops in state
Some might call it an easy win but of course those who've followed the Chieftain debate team know better.
On Saturday, the Tonganoxie High School debate team returned from state competitions at Derby High School with trophies for first, second and third place in the two-speaker tournament and a fourth-place win in the four-speaker tournament.
Debate coach Steve Harrell said of the two-speaker wins: "Because of the way the brackets worked, in the finals, the only teams left were from Tonganoxie, so we didn't even debate we just took our trophies and came home."
Essentially, Harrell said, these three teams tied for first place.
"It's awesome," Harrell said. "That's our third state championship in three years."
Winning members of the top three places on the two-speaker teams are: Ronnie Crook, junior, and Ryan Hatfield, junior; Arrika Reeder, senior, and Marissa Stephenson, junior; Luke Manson, junior, and Jordan Smith, senior.
In the four-speaker teams, the fourth place team included Jessica Sturgeon, Darren Welch, Amy Earhart and Kyle Rodell. Alternates were Kelly Woelk and Caleb Poterbin. This team won the regional tournament at St. Mary's the weekend of Jan. 15, Harrell said.
Bryce Downey and Erin Jones participated. Fifty teams from 21 schools participated in the state competition, Harrell said.
Next on the team's agenda is nationals, set for Memorial Day weekend in Rochester, N.Y.