4-Speaker debate team finishes 2nd at state

Sam Brennan, Ads Manager

The four-speaker debate team placed second at the 5A State Championship tournament at Blue Valley North on Jan. 14 and 15, while the two-speaker teams placed fourth overall.

Blue Valley Southwest took first overall.

At the state tournament, BV debaters finished with an overall record of 30-13, which coach Chris Riffer said he is proud of, despite not walking away with a state title.

“At the state level, if you win 30 rounds as a squad you obviously have a lot of teams and a lot of teams being successful,”  he said.

Four-speaker teams compete as affirmative and negative duos, while two-speaker teams only debate one side.

The four-speaker state team finished with a 10-4 record.

Negative team seniors Samantha Nichols and Allen Xu ended with a 7-0 record, while the affirmative pairs of seniors Raven Brower and Bo Ament and junior Sam Nicol and sophomore David Cline finished with a 3-4 record.

The debaters argued the topic of whether or not the United States federal government should substantially reduce its military and/or police presence in one or more of the following countries: South Korea, Japan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq or Turkey.

This is the same topic they debated over the course of the season.

Debate rounds are critiqued by a panel of three judges and teams must win two of the judges’ ballots to win that round.

Senior Ryan Jaspal, who placed fifth in two-speaker with junior Danny Theisen, said he felt unsatisfied with BV’s overall scoring, but enjoyed competing at state.

“When our success depends upon it, that is, when you feel the thrill of competition and your just on the edge,” he said.

Though the season did not end exactly as she hoped, Nichols said she is extremely proud of the debate team this year.

“We had a very dominant season,” she said. “We were beating teams like West and North, and Allen and I dominated Southwest.”

Riffer said his team put in excessive amounts of preparation time leading up to state to compete at the highest level.

“Hours and hours,” he said. “Just to get ready for the state tournament, debaters probably put in 15 to 20 hours a week for a month leading up to it.”