The news site of Blue Valley High School

BV Tiger News

The news site of Blue Valley High School

BV Tiger News

The news site of Blue Valley High School

BV Tiger News


Debaters, coach discuss team’s chances at National Qualifiers

With the end of the semester growing nearer, debaters encounter the opportunity to participate in the National Speech and Debate Association’s qualifying district tournament.

After spending countless hours researching, speech writing and sacrificing every Saturday since August to argue at other high schools, the payoff of the work and dedication of the debate team can best be seen at national qualifiers.

Senior Johnny Perkins, vice president of the debate team, threw his hat in the ring with his debate partner Jaysen vonSeldeneck for a chance to qualify to compete at the National Championship in Des Moines this June.

“A lot of the preparation takes place over the whole season,” Perkins said. “After every weekend, you have to evaluate everything. Making sure that you’re staying up to date on the news is also a big thing because you never know what you’re going to go up against. With a ton of people all working to the same goal, you have to be ready to be able to respond to anything. It’s a lot of knowing the tournaments, getting experience and then sitting down and researching and writing.”

With this season’s debate topic being over fiscal redistribution, Perkins and vonSeldeneck worked together to create their own unique case.

“It’s pretty much entirely my own research,” Perkins said. “It’s an activity that takes a lot of work, and probably takes upwards of five or six hours a week sitting on the computer.”

Getting ready for national qualifiers, debate coach Chris Riffer saw preparation from all of the students.

“They start doing a lot more original research, trying to change their arguments that they’ve been using for the for the majority of the year,” Riffer said. “They try to do a lot of extra drills and practice work on on areas that they need to improve. It’s probably the most prepared advanced group I’ve had in a number of years.”

Despite the effort put into debate, qualifying for nationals is still a very difficult task.

“We’re in one of the most competitive districts in the nation,” Riffer said, “The national champions have come from our district. We could be we could be a team that could go really deep at Nationals and not even finish in the top eight at our own district.”

Riffer said the teams from Blue Valley High had a good shot at placing in the top three to qualify.

“I used to say at this tournament, that there will always be one surprise qualifier,” Riffer said. “It’s a tournament that can lend itself to a surprise. I think Nikoo [Tahmasebi] and Brett [Jordan], Drew [Schimmel] and Akhil [Reddy] — they would not [be] huge surprises.”

Perkins shared Riffer’s sentiment that, even with the tournament being so unpredictable, BV still had a sound chance.

“Even though I can’t know for sure who is going to qualify, I definitely think that BV has a good shot,” Perkins said.

About the Contributor
Colton Fieger
Colton Fieger, Staff Writer
Colton Fieger is a junior and a staff writer. It is his first year and he is excited to be a part of the staff for the year. He is a member of the speech and debate team, an officer for Sources of Strength, and the treasurer of the drama club. Outside of school, he enjoys hanging out with friends and driving around while listening to music.