The Fort Scott debate team brought its season to a close by competing in the state tournament in Tonganoxie on Jan. 11-12. The site hosts two different tournaments on the same weekend. The four-speaker tournament is where teams must qualify by coming through regionals, held back in December. The Tigers took care of that by winning their regional to advance to state.
The four-speaker state team was Caleb Moore and Taylor Nielson on the affirmative side and Tyler Slinkard and Taylor Watkins on the negative. Alternates were Garrett Tatro and Colby Cox. The Tigers finished the tournament with a 9-7 record, which was good enough for fourth. "We knew going in it was going to be a tough tournament where everyone was going to get beat up a bit as teams were evenly matched. For example, we split with the eventual champions and beat the third-place team on both sides of the issue. You could run this same tournament 10 times and get 10 different final placing scenarios. I was extremely proud of the work the entire squad put in to prepare to compete at our best. They can walk away with their heads held high," coach Brian Weilert said.
The other tournament is the 72-team, two-speaker state tournament. Here you must qualify by having a certain winning percentage at your best four tournaments from throughout the regular season. Whereas the four-speaker team debates all other qualifiers on both sides of the issue in an eight-round, round-robin, tournament, the two-speaker competitors debate both sides of the issue in a six-round, power-match tournament with the top 16 breaking to out-rounds.
Fort Scott was well represented by the pairings of Zoe Karczewski/Jacob Pemberton, who finished 4-2 and just missed breaking; Jasmine Davis/ Ben Sweko 3-3; Jesse Guerrero/Courtney Rooks 3-3; and D.J. Blethen/Gage Addington, 2-4. It is a short turnaround for the squad as the forensics season kicks off on the weekend of Jan. 26.