Chaney Bearden and Hannah Ku went undefeated at the tournament, and were named first place varsity team. Bearden, a sixth grader, was named the tournament’s first place varsity speaker, and Ku won the third place speaker medal. Eighth graders Andrew Swann and Alyssa Waters won three rounds, finishing as the eleventh place varsity team. Sixth graders Joseph Taylor and Junior Waters won two rounds in their varsity debut.
In the junior varsity division, Sydney Hamann and Cecelia Swink finished with a 3-1 record, winning eleventh place team medals. Sydney was named the division’s fourteenth place speaker. Ben King and Alex Hadden also had three wins, finishing in seventeenth place. Sixth grader Grace Jones paired with Collin Faulkner (who volunteered to move up a division) to win two rounds.
Calhoun’s teams recorded victories over Pace Academy, Westminster, Woodward Academy, High Meadows Middle School, Inman Middle School, Sandtown Middle School, Kip Strive Academy and Alpharetta Middle School.
“It was a very successful tournament” said CMS debate coach Lane Bearden. “I am proud of all of the debaters - they worked very hard over the holidays to get ready for this January tournament.”
“Winning varsity is exciting, but to complete a tournament without a single team posting a losing record is a real accomplishment” said Bearden. “Junior and Joseph did very well in their first varsity competition, and and Alyssa and Andrew are very close to winning a varsity tournament.”
“While debate is a team activity, there were several excellent individual performances” said Bearden. “Of course I was happy for Chaney, as both a coach and a parent, because in the ten years I have been coaching, I believe she is Calhoun’s first sixth grader to be named a tournament’s top varsity speaker.” “And hard work has paid off for Hannah Ku, who finished her fifth tournament in a row with a top five speaker award,” said the coach.
In addition to the team and speaker awards, Calhoun Middle School received the “Top School Contributor” award. Atlanta Urban Debate League Competition Co-Director Christie Bradley said that the award was earned because Calhoun’s debaters worked over the holidays to research and submit debate evidence to Emory University. Emory’s debaters thought enough of Calhoun’s evidence to distribute it to other middle schools throughout the state.
Coach Bearden thanked the administration and CMS faculty for their continued support of the team. He also thanked the Calhoun High debaters who helped the middle school students practice, and helped coach them at the tournament, including Katie Marshall, Ralem Eomhd, Draik Grant, and Lloyd Bearden.
The team has one more tournament, in February, before the sate middle school debate tournament in March. Calhoun Middle School has won the state title four times over the last 10 years.