NEWS: Debate Ranked in National Poll

Senior AJ Persinger and junior Sophie Racy rank sixth nationally in the National Coaches Poll.


Sophie Racy

Ranked top 10 in the nation in debate, Racy and Persinger hold trophies won at debate tournament.

Ember Klein

Coming off a strong state performance last year as well as multiple Tournament of Champion bids, senior AJ Persinger and junior Sophie Racy are currently ranked sixth in the National Coaches Poll as of Oct. 1.

The National Coaches Poll is conducted by the University of Michigan. The university ranks all of the top 25 high school debate teams in the country, based on content, style and strategy.

Persinger and Racy’s ranking will be reevaluated midway through the season. The regular season ends in December, but there are post-season tournaments to find the best debaters in the state and country. 

“It’s a recognition of the labor that we’re putting into the argumentation that we’re writing and the way that we’re reading it,” Persinger said.

Though winning and competing competitively is important, Coach Kelly Thompson is also focused on them having fun for Persinger’s last year. 

“We’d like to do well at the national and state tournaments but if they’re enjoying themselves, then that’s really what’s important to me,” Thompson said. “They don’t have to  prove anything to anybody else.”

Although they are only high school students, it’s important to know that their work has real life implications. Persinger and Racy read arguments that have to do with transgender rights and how the topic affects trans people.  

“It’s just very rewarding to feel like everything that we’ve done has meant something to people,” said Racy. 

So far this season, Persinger and Racy have brought home a second place title in the Heritage Hall tournament and have qualified for the Tournament of Champions. Their next major competition is Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament in Illinois, and the pair is hoping for success.