On Friday and Saturday, the Rock Creek Debate Team traveled to the 4-speaker Regional Debate Tournament at Olathe Northwest High School. Four speaker debate is when one pair argues on the negative side for the entire tournament, and one pair argues on the affirmative side for the entire tournament. The negative pair competes against everyone else’s affirmative pair, and the affirmative pair has to argue against everyone else’s negative pair. Rock Creek’s negative pair of Dylan Meyer and Josh Roberts went 5-2 and the affirmative pair of Crystal Chitwood and Jacob Miller went 4-3. The 9-5 overall record was good enough for third place and a trip to the state tournament in Tonganoxie in January. Emmalee Funk and Rachel Askew went along as the alternates. “It was a tough regional. We had 6A judges. The judges at that level have different expectations than the ones we typically argue in front of, so the adapting was a bit of a challenge. In addition, the schools we competed against all have a history of strong programs, and they were strong again this year,” said Coach Miller.
The debaters had two rounds on Friday and five more on Saturday. Friday started out well, with the team carrying a 3-1 record into Saturday morning. Then both sides lost their first round on Saturday, putting them in a tie for fourth. They remained in fourth place heading into the second to the last round. “Jacob and Crystal were up against Sumner Academy. In order for us to overtake Sumner, which was in third place, Jacob and Crystal had to win. They did,” said Coach Miller. But that alone wasn’t enough. Josh and Dylan needed to win their last two rounds and Crystal and Jacob needed to win their last round as well, in addition to needing Spring Hill to beat Sumner in the last round. “We needed to win, and we had to have Sumner lose. With help from Spring Hill, all that happened, and we jumped from fourth to third in the very last round” said Miller. “I am so very proud of the kids. They adapted to the next level, they kept trying and kept trying when things seemed to be working against them. They kept their poise when the other teams tried to rattle them. They never gave up. The represented Rock Creek very, very well,” added Miller. Jacob had the added burden of being ill. “Jacob had a horrible head cold and fever. We put him in a separate hotel room to keep him away from the other kids. He just looked like death. His willpower to compete in such a mentally challenging activity feeling the way he did was something I’ll never forget. He is one tough kid.”
The debate team will travel to Tonganoxie High School for the state tournament on January 11 & 12. In addition to the four speaker team, three pairs will compete in the two-speaker contest. The pairs of Dani Rakowitz and Chance Maginness, Trey Basa and Larissa Eshelman, and Rachel Forrester and Jacy Johnston will represent Rock Creek at Tonganoxie. Good luck to all.
From left to right: Josh Roberts, Dylan Meyer, Crystal Chitwood, Jacob Miller, Alternates Emmalee Funk and Rachel Askew.