There is a saying that "if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best." The Dodge City High School debate team learned this past weekend that task is easier said than done.

A group of six Demon Debaters traveled to Wichita last Friday and Saturday to participate in the Kansas Championship Series at East High School, and while they showed themselves worthy of their invitation to the prestigious meet, they also learned that they have a ways to go before they are ready to proclaim themselves contenders.

To earn an invitation to the Championship Series, debaters must compile a four tournament winning percentage of at least 70 percent.

Each of the three pairs the DCHS gang entered in the two divisions of the KCS meet managed break-even records of 3-3 against the most successful debaters in the state, but none were able to advance beyond the preliminary rounds.

Dodge City’s two senior leaders, Daniel Soriano and Alejandro Rangel represented the Demons in the Kansas Debate Classic division.

The dynamic duo, who won first place in three different tournaments this year and posted an 18-2 mark to qualify for the meet at the KCS, won matches with Ellinwood, Topeka Seaman, and McPherson, but dropped decisions to perennial powerhouses, Blue Valley Northwest, Olathe Northwest and Pittsburg.

All three of those squads advanced to semifinals or finals of the tourney before suffering elimination.

"There is absolutely no shame in losing to any of those three squads," said DCHS coach Steve Ray. "They are all exceptional squads. I expect all three to do well in the 6A state tournament next week and the national tournament next spring."

In the Novice Division of the KCS meet, Dodge City was represented by two stellar squads, who also went 3-3.

The team of Maria Cruz and Autumn Klein, who were 19-1 in meets together this year with three first place titles, scored victories over Wichita East, Bishop Seabury, and Lawrence Free State, but dropped decisions to Shawnee Mission East, Washburn Rural, ad Blue Valley.

The team of Yesenia Guzman and Jackie Soto had wins over Salina South, Kapaun Mt. Carmel, and setbacks to Wichita Collegiate, Tonganoxie, and Shawnee Mission East.

"These two young teams give a lot of hope and excitement for the future of our program," Ray said. "They had our best showing at Novice State since I’ve been here and their losses were mostly to teams that advanced into the elimination rounds."

The DCHS debaters will wrap up their season this weekend when they travel to Garden City for the 6A State Tournament.