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State Debaters Fall Short In Preliminary Rounds

Posted 1/26/2017

By Jared Janzen

HALSTEAD—Halstead High School had four representatives at the 1A, 2A and 3A State Debate Tournament last weekend in Lyons.

In preliminary rounds, each team of two debates six other teams for the chance for a spot in the quarterfinals. Neither of Halstead’s teams qualified for the next round.

The team of sophomore Sara Lee and senior Kenzie Galloway went 2-4, and the team of junior Emily Gerhardt and sophomore Christian Wiedeman went 3-3.

“All of them debated very well and I was very proud of them,” Debate Coach Andrew Bauer said. “We took a step forward this year and we have something to build off for next year.”

The State Tournament was originally scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 13-14, but was postponed a week due to forecasts of icy weather.

The resolution that debate teams across the country have focused on this year is “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.”

In the six preliminary rounds, each team took the affirmative stance for three rounds and the negative stance for three rounds.

The Halstead students who competed at this year’s State Tournament are the first to represent Halstead at State in at least five years, and possibly longer. The last time Bauer knows for sure that Halstead was at state debate was in 2006.

To qualify for state, debaters must have competed in at least four meets above the novice level and have better than a 50 percent winning record.

For Kenzie Galloway, the chance to compete at the State Debate Tournament was stressful and challenging, yet still rewarding.

“We all worked to the best of our abilities and even though the stress level was definitely higher than regular meets, we all had our heads in the game,” Galloway said. “And even though the result wasn't exactly as we expected, we all grew closer as a team.”

Since Galloway is a senior, she won’t have the opportunity to aim for a repeat appearance at state, but that hasn’t stopped her from encouraging her teammates to have an even more successful season next year.

“I'm graduating this year but I keep telling the others that they are so talented that they are only going to keep getting better next year,” she said.