In Junior Varsity, 8th grade debaters Alex Hadden and William Long went undefeated, with wins over teams from Woodward Academy, River Trail Middle School, Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and High Meadows. The team tied for first, but took home 3rd place medals based on the tie-breaker of speaker points. It was Long’s first tournament. 6th grade debaters Cole Perez and Randall Forster took 14th in the JV division. Mark Bearden and Lex Bennett, who moved up to JV for the tournament, finished in 30th, and their 7th grade classmates Alex Kirkland and her partner, new debate recruit, Disha Patel, also finished in the top 40.
The team also brought home individual junior varsity speaker awards, with Lex Bennett winning 4th, Cole Perez in 16th, Forster was 17th, Bearden was 19th., and Hadden was 28th.
In the Novice division, 7th grader Logan Rigney partnered with a student from Crabapple Middle School to win three rounds, which was good for 11th place. 6th graders Caroline Leggett and her partner, Brooke Landry, who was participating in her first tournament, finished with an even number of wins and losses, which was good for 28th place. Rigney was the 30th place novice speaker, and Leggett was 32nd.
In the top division, 7th graders Chaney Bearden and Nina Ho took three wins and tied for 3rd. The two settled for 7th place medals on the basis of the tie-breaker. Bearden was the tournament’s 2nd place Varsity speaker, and her partner was competing in Varsity at her first tournament.
Judge Lane Bearden, who coaches the CMS debaters, said he was pleased that the students did well, especially since many of the teams partnered experienced debaters with novices. “I was glad that William, Nina, Disha, Brooke, and Logan all got valuable experience” he said. “We will reorganize teams a bit for State,” said Bearden, “and with a lot of work, we should have a good chance to bring home a State championship on March 2.”
CMS has won the varsity state debate trophy five times in last 11 years.
Judge Bearden was assisted at the tournament by several of the debate parents. CHS sophomore Draik Grant assisted the team with coaching and judging. Veteran debate parent Jeff Defoor drove the team bus, and gave support and encouragement to the young competitors.