Calhoun had success in all three divisions, and captured the tournament’s first place Sweepstakes award. In varsity, Chaney Bearden and Junior Waters went 4-0, making the competition the second in a row that the 7th graders went undefeated against the top teams. The team tied for first, but settled for third place based upon the tie-breaker of speaker points. Bearden was the tournament’s 12th varsity speaker.
7th grader Alex Kirkland and her partner, 6th grader Caroline Leggett, made a successful debut in junior varsity, and finished in fourth place with a 3-1 record. Randal Forster, another 6th grader who moved up to j.v. competition, paired with 8th grader Alex Hadden. Kirkland was named the second place individual speaker in the junior division. Hadden was 23rd and Leggett 27th in the individual honors.
In Novice division, both teams had winning records and won team medals. Against more than 60 competing teams, Valery Florian and Rebekah Guthrie took 10th place, and Mark Bearden and Lex Bennett were 18th. Guthrie was 13th speaker, Florian was the 17th.
Calhoun High freshmen debaters Andrew Swann and Alyssa Waters, and CMS 8th grader Hannah Ku, who was promoted to compete on the high school level this year, judged and coach at the tournament.
Bearden said he appreciated the parents who gave up their Saturday to drive to the tournament, and provided food and snacks for the team.
“It was a good team effort,” said Calhoun debate coach Lane Bearden, “and the result was our first Team Sweepstakes Award this year.” Bearden said the varsity team has now gone undefeated for 11 consecutive rounds, but that competition was getting tougher, and that it would take “a lot of hard work over the holidays to stay at the top.”
The Coach also singled out Alex Kirkland for her success in her debut in junior varsity, noting that she took the second place individual award over dozens of debaters that were competing in their fourth j.v. tournament of the year.
“It is always challenging when you move up a division,” Bearden said. “Alex, Randall and Caroline all did a great job in a higher division. Our speaker awards were not quite as high as we want,” said Bearden, “and even though we are winning our arguments, it is also important to speak with confidence, speed and clarity.”
The team’s next competition will be at North Atlanta High School on January 19, but they plan to work over the holidays, including a day of practice rounds against Cartersville – the closest competitive school.
Coach Bearden said that after the holiday break, the team was planning to hold a mid-season try- out for interested debaters.
“We have had such a great effort by our new students this year, and such outstanding parent support, that we believe we can add another group of interested students. With hard work, they can be ready to compete in January or February,” said Bearden. “They can still qualify for the State tournament in March.”
Dates for the try-outs at CMS will be announced after the Holiday break.