HHS Debate Team place at regional tournament, prepare for the next level


Photo Republished with Permission From Aaron Cosner

The HHS debate team stands holding their medals alongside coach Aaron Cosner after their regionals competition. The competition was held at Turner Ashby High School. This photo was taken before lockdown from the pandemic was set.

Oziel Valdez, Online Editor in Chief

This past Saturday, the HHS Debate team participated in their VHSL Regional Tournament. The tournament consists of different formats for different teams. Teams consist of either one or two members who prepare a topic and side to debate another team on. This year, the tournament was held virtually for the students. Senior Emma Lankford has participated in these tournaments since her freshman year. For Lankford, the visual format was a new adjustment with her partner senior Stella Alexiou.

“This regionals was a lot different than last year’s, which took place a week before the COVID shut down happened. Like most other things, this year’s tournament was virtual. Overall, having the tournament online followed the same format of regular debate rounds but made things harder,” Lankford said. “It is much easier to communicate with my partner when she is right next to me, and even easier yet to interact with opponents and judges. Especially for things like crossfire, when multiple people might try to start speaking at once, it is really hard to make sure that people aren’t interrupting others with the technology lag. Also, part of how I like to enhance my speeches is by using my presence in the room to my advantage. Seeing as I have to talk through the computer, there is little opportunity for the more personable part of speeches.”

Lankford and Alexiou placed second in the Public Debate Forum. They were not the only HHS Debate team members who placed in the tournament. Senior Hayden Kirwan and junior Kate Kirwan placed first in the Public Forum Debate while senior Nathan Henderson placed third in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Format. All three of these teams will be moving forward to the VHSL Super Region Tournament in the upcoming month.

“Going into the super region tournament, I am feeling nervous but optimistic. It won’t be easy, but I think we have a good shot at moving onto states. My partner and I are going to be putting in a lot of work to research the current topic and strengthen our arguments, which I think will help us in the long run. I think that, for this next tournament, I will try to print out my speaking materials prior to the round, because when I was reading speeches from my computer, it was a lot harder to find my place. In general, though, a lot of things about virtual debate are the same as they are in person,” Lankford said.

The VHSL Super Region Tournament will be held virtually on April 10th, 2021.

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