FHS Debate Team Talks Their Way to State

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FHS Debate Team Talks Their Way to State

Jordan Matejowsky, Writer

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The Friendswood High School Debate Team made it to state! Through hard work and determination, two teams earned the honor of competing in the UIL Texas Forensic Association State meet in Congressional Debate in Austin, Texas.  

“There are 4 different debate formats and Friendswood competes in all 4 formats,” Club Coach Cheryl Ryne said. “One of the formats, Policy Debate, debates the same topic all year–this year that topic is Immigration reform.”

“Leading up to the district and even the state tournament we were at a pretty big disadvantage. None of us had done CX debate all year long and most of us had no idea how to even do it,” sophomore competitor, Emma Heintz said. ”Thank goodness for our AMAZING coach Mrs. Ryne. She truly guided us throughout the whole process of constructing a case, speaking with tact, and the overarching presentation about how a CX debate should go.”

The District CX Debate Meet was held in February.  Kyle Flick and Michelle Cherian took First Place and Emma Heintz and Mikayla Mullin followed close behind with a Second Place win. The novice team of Julian Gonzalez and Thomas Basciano placed fourth. The two top teams won the honor of advancing to the State Competition in Austin this past weekend.

That meet has students from all sizes of schools including private schools. There were 138 contestants at that meet,” Ryne said. “We also advanced 2 teams–the max any school can advance to the UIL 5a State meet in Policy Debate.”

This type of competition requires quick thinking and steady nerves.  Policy debate is a form of debate competition in which teams of two people advocate for and against a resolution that typically calls for policy change by the United States federal government.

”Going into this as just a sophomore I was a bit intimidated. My partner, Mikayla, guided me through this all of the way. She never grew angry or got frustrated with me when I asked what a random economic theory or how I should outline my speech,” Emma said. “Kyle and Michelle were also amazing mentors and cheerleaders whenever I was getting down on myself for messing up in a round. I truly don’t know how I would have made it through without them.”

Debate is the UIL’s longest-running contest, dating back to 1910. More than 100 years later, the UIL Cross-Examination Policy Debate State Meet is celebrated as the largest high school debate tournament in the nation.

The Debate Team has 22 members this year who put in many hours of hard work. Remarkably, they have a winning streak that goes back quite a while.

“In terms of our “streak” students have advanced to State in Debate all the years I have been the coach–21 years.” Ryne said.
“State was so much fun!” Emma said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but like I said before we hadn’t been doing that style of debate very long. However, we put everything we had into every single round we went to. We worked hard and at the end of the day kept Friendswood Forensics UIL state streak alive.”