LHS students prepare for regional debate
Four Lansing High School students have one assignment this week: to eat, breathe and sleep debate.
Debate coach Tracey Matthews put that charge to her students who will compete in this weekend's Class 5A regional tournament, senior Chris Rohan and juniors Miranda Nichols, Matt Humphreys and Michael Brooks. Junior Matt Peterson and sophomore Hal Laurence also will attend the tournament as alternates.
The teams of Rohan and Nichols and Humphreys and Brooks will go up against teams from Blue Valley West, St. Thomas Aquinas, Paola, Bishop Miege, Shawnee Heights and Topeka West high schools. The tournament will be Friday and Saturday, Jan. 13 and 14, at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park. Matthews said Blue Valley West would be Lansing's biggest competition.
The students will continue to debate, as they have all season, on the topic of civil liberties, especially pertaining to the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay detainee issues. Each of the Lansing teams going to regional competition has participated in eight tournaments, the maximum allowed, Matthews said.
The top four teams at regional competition will go on to the state competition Jan. 20-21 in Derby, a suburb of Wichita.
Matthews had a positive forecast attaining spots in the state tournament.
"I don't want to jinx myself or the team," she said slowly, "but I think it would be safe to make hotel reservations in Wichita."
Matthews said she hasn't had a debate team advance to state since 2001, but she hopes that will change this month.
"The team has just worked so hard this year," Matthews said. "They want to go to state, and I don't think there's anything stopping them."