Debaters eye trip to state
Senior Michael Brooks stands up straight, poised to defend this position: The LHS debate team's season won't end this weekend during the 5A regional tournament in Emporia.
That confidence, the team hopes, will boost it past Class 5A rivals St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Miege, Ottawa and Topeka-Seaman on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Emporia High School.
"If we don't make it to state, then it would be (our last competition). But I'm fairly certain we will make it to state," Brooks said.
"We've taken first at numerous tournaments. We went through pre-regionals this last Saturday, and me and my colleague for that tournament, Matt Humphreys, went 4 and 1, which means we lost only one round. Our speaks were phenomenal as well," he said.
Joining Brooks at the four-speaker regional tournament are Humphreys and Miranda Nichols, both seniors, and junior Hal Laurence. Team alternates, senior Matt Peterson and sophomore Kristyn Russell, also will make the trip.
The students will continue to ponder the 2006-'07 national high school debate topic, which pertains to a federal government policy increasing the number of people serving in national service programs.
Debate coach Tracey Matthews said she also felt confident of the team's chances to advance to state competition, which is Jan. 19 and 20 at Blue Valley High School in Stilwell.
"It's going to be pretty tough. We've had some schools that have been historically successful that we're up against," she said.
But, Matthews added, the team has posted a winning season, scoring about 750 points on a scale of 1,000.
"I think with our preparation we've had, we might have a shot," Matthews said.
Brooks said that while he felt confident, the competition would test the team's ability to handle stress.
"We do have to work as a team this weekend. The way regionals are structured is different from invitational tournaments, so it is a little different," he said. "I hope we do well."