Debaters qualify for national tournament

No rest for the wicked

In the weeks leading up to the National Qualifier tournament, sophomore Linda Liu spent five to six hours a week in the debate and forensics room, preparing for Senate Congressional Debate. After researching bills and competing in numerous Friday night tournaments, she saw her hard work come to fruition, along with several others on her squad.

In addition to Liu, seniors Hannah Moran and Yang Yang Li also qualified to Nationals in the House of Representatives division of Student Congressional Debate. Junior Solomon Cottrell qualified in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, and sophomore Genevieve Prescher qualified in Original Oration.

The National Tournament, scheduled for June 15-20, will be in Overland Park.

Moran, who placed second in the House of Representatives, did not expect to hear her name echo throughout the auditorium as a National Qualifier.

“It could be anybody, but when they said my name I was shocked,” Moran said.

Prescher’s persuasive speech about why different opinions shouldn’t stop dialogue or interactions with others won third place in Original Oration, qualifying her to Nationals. Her reaction was less surprised than Moran’s.

“I was happy, but I kind of expected it,” Prescher said. “Because I have a really awesome assistant coach [Michael Shelton] who said I’d qualify, so I believed him.”

Taking second place, Cottrell qualified in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, an event where the speaker must give a seven minute speech on one of three random questions about world events pulled from an envelope. Cottrell felt confident about his performance.

“I was a first alternate last year, so I kind of expected it,” Cottrell said.

Li, on the other hand, was pleasantly surprised about his qualification to Nationals. He put less than an hour of work into his speech for Congressional Debate.

“I spoke about America, and [I] focused on patriotism and swag,” Li said.

In contrast, Liu credits her dedication and hard work for her spot as a National Qualifier.

At the tournament, she discussed a wide range of topics during her three minute congressional speeches.

“I talked about shark hunting, … Google Fiber and lowering the voting age to 18,” Liu said.

Liu placed third in Senate Congressional Debate, which barely missed the cutoff for qualification, making her an alternate. However, later, the student who won first in Senate withdrew to focus on a different event, and Liu became a Qualifier.

The coaches attribute the squad’s success to its members’ talent and dedication.

“From what I understand, this is the most that we’ve had qualify, and I think it has a lot to do with the level of talent we have on the squad; it’s exceptional,” said Jason Moore, head Debate and Forensics coach.