Dodge City debate team doubles down

Vincent Marshall
A group of 10 Dodge City High School debaters won medals competing this past weekend while helping their team claim trophies at meets hosted by Liberal and Nickerson High Schools. Medal winners include Brennan Carbajal, Vivian Nguyen, Xania Cobian, Payton Dunn, Brian Nguyen, Joel Soto and Yesenia Guzman. Not pictured are Paris Rivas, Salvador Martinez and Maybelline Morales.

The Dodge City High School debate team was able to tie for top honors at the Cowbell Classic hosted Nov. 7 by Nickerson High School by winning 14 of 20 rounds, while another debate squad found success in the "Nothing is Normal" Debate Tournament hosted by Liberal High School.

At the Nickerson tournament in the novice division, according to DCHS debate coach Steve Ray, the freshman pair of Brennan Carbajal and Payton Dunn posted a 4-0 ledger, earning third place, while teammates Xania Cobian and Vivian Nguyen placed fourth with a 4-0 mark.

In the open division, the team of senior Brian Nguyen and sophomore Paris Rivas went 3-1 winning third place.

The team of Hever Arjon and Camillah Khan went 1-3 on the day but Khan got sick during the second round.

“We won this tournament last year so we had high hopes again this season,” said Ray. “We thought we had a shot at the title when we tied Pittsburg with the most wins, but this tournament curiously utilized a very subjective ranking system for speakers called performance points instead of speaker ranks, which are used in every tournament.

"We were still tied after performance points were considered, so they moved to the next tie-breaker. Normally, that would be to look at your opposition’s records and speaker points but instead the tourney’s administrators determined that actual rounds debated should be the deciding factor.”

Ray added that two forfeits occurred during competition, which ruled that Dodge City had an easier path than Pittsburg and had to settle for runner-up.

“We do not begrudge anyone for the decision,” Ray said. “It’s just the way it went this weekend. The truth is we had a great time and have the greatest respect for the tourney’s administrators.”

In the Liberal tournament, the team of Yesenia Guzman and Joel Soto went spotless with a 4-0 record to take second place in the Open Division.

In four rounds, Guzman had a near-perfect five speaker ranks.

In the novice division, the pair of Salvador Martinez and Maybelline Morales went 3-1, earning third place.

The DCHS team tied for second place with Rock Creek behind the champs from Girard on the strength of those performances. The Demons were relegated to third place when tie-breakers were applied.

“I was really proud of all of our debaters today,” Ray said. “We won this meet last year, as well, but you can’t win every year. You just have to hope for consistently strong performances.”

Heading fast into Thanksgiving break, the debate team will compete in the Panther Invitational hosted by Great Bend High School, while a second group will compete at the Wichita Collegiate Invitational Debate Tournament.

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