Debate team takes first place at Salem Hills

The Grand County High School debate team traveled to Salem Hills on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18 to compete in the Skyhawk Smackdown debate tournament, with debaters competing in both debate and speech events.

Grand County finished exceedingly well, taking first place for overall performance in the small school category. They beat out several teams including Beaver and Manti.

“It is always great to see our team take first so I was really excited for us to do so well.” senior captain Aidan Guzman-Newton said. “We have a really small team, so for us to place as a team, all of us have to do really well individually.”

Nearly half of the team placed in at least one event; Philip Geiser and Grace Osusky placed first place in parliamentary debate. Guzman-Newton placed fourth in the Lincoln-Douglas debate, with Osusky placing fifth. Caylee Stroder and Geiser placed seventh and ninth, respectively. The four competed against a pool of around sixty other Lincoln-Douglas debaters. Lincoln-Douglas is a traditional form of debate centered on morals. Osusky also placed second in varsity character spar. Sophomore Miranda Corbin took second in novice poetry.

“Phillip and Grace are really experienced debaters and captains, I would expect both of them to place at a tournament like this,” Guzman-Newton said. “I am glad Miranda was able to do well in her event. It is important for new debaters to place so they have the confidence to keep competing.”

This is Grand County’s third debate tournament of the year, with several big tournaments ahead in the season. The team is planning to attend Arizona State University’s tournament later this year and has already started fundraising for the trip. The ASU tournament is a part of the Tournament of Champions circuit.

“The Tournament of Champions is really one of the biggest tournaments,” Guzman-Newton said. “Finalists at the tournaments get these things called bids, and if you get two bids you get to go to the national Tournament of Champions. It’s the biggest tournament besides nationals. Most debaters take the TOC more seriously than the national tournament.”

The Grand County debate team will also be attending another TOC tournament at Alta later this month.