The Dodge City High School got off to a slow start at the Dragon Invitational in Halstead this past Saturday when the team lost three of four decisions.

The team was able to turn things around and garner a second-place finish, according to DCHS debate coach Steve Ray.

It was the second time in four years the debate team finished as runners-up, with the the other two meetings being first-place finishes.

Teams from 17 different high schools competed, with DCHS finishing behind Great Bend and just ahead of Abilene in the meet.

"We have had a lot of success at this meet in the past few years, so we were excited about our chances again this year," Ray said. "In fact, five of the eight members we sent this year won medals at last year’s meet.

"After that awful start, though, we were just thankful we could recover as well as we did."

The second-place finish also came despite any DCHS team medaling, something Ray said he couldn't recall ever taking place.

"I guess that just says a lot about the number of teams in the tournament and the overall balance of the teams in the competition," Ray said.

First-year debaters Gage Banks and Trinady Luangchai were the top DCHS duo, compiling a 3-2 record and 20 speaker points in their initial tournament with Banks leading all DCHS entrants with eight speaker points.

"I know they were very nervous in the first round," Ray said, "but they seemed to gain their confidence with each round after that.

"The top varsity team was sophomores Maria Cruz and Autumn Klein, who also went 3-2 and had 24 speaker points."

Last year Cruz and Klein went unbeaten with a near perfect set of speaker points in the Novice Division.

"I know Maria and Autumn were antsy, as well, competing in the varsity division for the first time," Ray said after the meet. "They learned in this tournament, though, they can compete with anyone. They should be a force to be reckoned with for the rest of the year."

The two other DCHS teams each finished at 2-3.

The Demon Debaters will be on the road twice this week with a contingent heading to Liberal and another traveling to Sterling.


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