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The Falcon

The Student News Site of The Kinkaid School

The Falcon

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Debaters win big at state-level tournament

Over spring break, 15 debaters across four divisions of competition competed at the 2024 Texas Forensic Association’s State Tournament. 

Held in the Houston Marriott Westchase, the tournament marked the end of the season for competitors on the Texas circuit. Kinkaid’s team featured three Public Forum teams, two World Schools Debate teams, one policy team and one Lincoln Douglas debater. Public Forum and Policy contain two debaters on one team, while World Schools teams consist of three debaters. 

There are only a few tournaments left in the debate season, with the final ones being the nationwide Tournament of Champions and the National Speech and Debate Tournament. 

This season has been one of the most successful seasons in Kinkaid’s history, and results from the TFA State tournament have strengthened the team’s success. Led by Upper School debate coach Mr. Eric Emerson, Kinkaid’s debate program is among the top in the state in multiple events

Kinkaid’s placement in the top eight in two different events plus numerous others reaching elimination rounds or having near misses really makes this year’s tournament special to me,” Mr. Emerson said. “I am proud of their accomplishments and more importantly love that students were rewarded for their hard work and dedication.“

The Kinkaid debate team achieved the most success in the Public Forum and World Schools Debate events. 

One of the World Schools Debate teams made it to the quarterfinal round, which put them in the top eight of the tournament out of 59 teams participating. The team featured seniors Kaveen Shah and Wills Leighton along with junior Caroline Pielop. 

“I’m really happy with our performance with this being the last tournament for some members on the team,” Shah said. “The World Schools Debate program has come a long way from my freshman year, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Juniors and Public Forum debaters Jason Zhang and Charlie Yang made it to the quarterfinals, or top eight, out of over a hundred teams, an impressive improvement from last year’s octafinal finish, which put them in the top 16.

“We beat a lot of good teams, and I feel like the hard work paid off,” Zhang said. “Charlie and I aim to improve and learn after every tournament, and this tournament helped us correct many things we were doing wrong.”

The team of juniors hopes to achieve even more success at the Tournament of Champions this April and the National Speech and Debate Association Tournament this summer. 

“We performed pretty well at the state tournament,” Yang said. “We’re aiming to do even better later this year and build upon these achievements next year as well.”

Another Public Forum duo, senior Jesus Lara and junior Ryder Tang, also achieved great success at the tournament. Matching their results from last year, they got to the double octofinal round, or the top 32 of the tournament. 

“As the potential last tournament I have with Ryder in my career, I cherished every second of the tournament,“ Lara said. “I’m proud of everything we have accomplished together during the two years we competed and I’m really thankful for the experiences.”

Sophomore and Lincoln Douglas debater Sophie Zhou made it to the double octofinal round, putting her in the top 32 of 159 competitors.

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Alex Cai, Staff Writer

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