Debate Qualifies for TFA State


The Debate team qualified for the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) state tournament in Athens last Friday and will be traveling to Houston on March 9-11, 2023.

“Although I wasn’t able to compete with my CX partner, [junior Ella Farrell,] in the Varsity division, Naomi Honstein and I got first place in the Novice division.” sophomore Folu Olajide said.

Along with the Novice team’s outstanding placement, the Varsity team, led by juniors Jaxon Dial and Cole Anderson, placed second in their division for Policy (CX) Debate. Both teams have prepared for this competition for weeks. 

“Prepping before tournaments is 70% of CX,” Farrell said. “Since I couldn’t make it to this tournament, my partner, Folu, and I created extensions for our Affirmative (AFF) case and Negative (NEG) strategies so she could enter with Naomi in the Novice bracket.“

In CX debate, teams of two prepare a case for or against the enactment of a federal policy. There are three essential periods to a round: four constructive speeches, four rebuttal speeches, and four cross-examinations. Debaters are judged based on the arguments presented. 

“Policy debate is a lot of work,” Farrell said. “So if I’m being honest, feel[ing] smart in the middle of a round is a massive ego boost. After months of preparation and writing, it [really] pays off.” 

Every summer, the Debate team goes to a camp hosted by the University of Texas at Tyler to learn their event, its techniques, and compete with some of the best Debate teams in the state.

Last year, I was in Debate I. We didn’t really go over CX debate, so this was pretty new to me, ” Olajide said. “[However,] during the summer, I went to debate camp, which really helped me understand some of the terms of CX.” 

Debate competitors spend months with their partners in preparation for UIL and outside tournaments. The time and effort it takes to be in Debate creates long-lasting memories for the participants. 

“[The summer before freshman year,] I asked [Anderson] to do CX with me and he agreed,” Dial said. “We both had no idea what we were getting into, […] but as we became more familiar with the format, […] CX became so much more fun.”

For the next few months, the Debate team will work tirelessly to get ready for TFA state and various academic UIL meets, such as the state meet, for which they can qualify on March 17-18. 

“TFA state is going to be very competitive with a lot of excellent teams attending,” Dial said. “So we’re looking to learn something new, receive judge feedback, and get our egos checked before UIL state. Owl country, let’s ride!”


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