Academic competitors prove quality over quantity earns wins
By Colton Swaim
(Monday, Dec. 21, 2015)
This season’s debate squad is finishing strong as they went 11-1 at regionals on Saturday, becoming regional champs.
The regional team consisted of Senior Sydney Monteith and Sophomores Claire Austin, Keith Nagy, and Faith Scheibmeir. Freshman Saxton Johnson served as an alternate.
Coach Michelle Taylor was somewhat surprised by the regional crown.
“I was confident that we would be in the top four at regionals, but I did not think we would get first. However, after the first three rounds when we were undefeated and I saw how well the kids were working together, I thought first was a real possibility. It was really exciting to see hard work pay off,” Taylor said.
There has been strength in small numbers. Monteith explained what his biggest goal was this year.
“My biggest goal was to teach the underclassmen how to be better debaters as well as better decision-makers,” Monteith said.
Monteith also explained how debate has impacted his life.
“Debate has opened my eyes to a whole new world. It has taught me how to navigate life effectively while still maintaining my own personality,” Monteith explained.
English Teacher Michelle Taylor is a former debater and is also the debate and forensics coach. She shared what it takes to be champions.
“I think that to be successful, you have to want it. You have to show that drive and energy for whatever that you are passionate for. That’s why I think that we do well,” Taylor commented.
She said she thinks that even with small numbers, winning is obviously still possible.
“Our team is definitely on the small side, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be good. We’ve brought our fair share of hardware home, and I want to see us keep doing that for awhile,” Taylor commented.
For Scheibmeir, postseason debate is not a new experience. Last year, she went to state as a freshman. Scheibmeir knew what she wanted to do coming into this season.
“This year, I really wanted to win regionals because it would show off my hard work and dedication that I put into training,” Scheibmeir said.
The goal that Scheibmeir set was not easy to achieve. Constantly practicing was a major way to improve.
“I think that I was able to improve myself by doing in-class debates and practicing at squad night with Ms. Taylor and my teammates,” Scheibmeir explained.
Adjustments and improvements were made, resulting in better debate skills. Scheibmeir commented on her personal improvement.
“My greatest achievement was probably using up all of my time in my speeches because once you run out of things to read, you have to just make it up as you go along, and I find that to be difficult sometimes,” she said.
Scheibmeir’s regional championship celebration was short as she, Monteith, Austin and Nagy now prepare for state, which is in Independence on Jan. 15 and 16.
Scheibmeir explained what she would like to achieve at the tournament.
“I hope that we can get into the top five at least. However, winning the whole thing would be even better,” she said.
Finally, Scheibmeir talked about how she has been influenced by debate.
“Public speaking is a great skill to have, and debate helps out with that a lot. Public speaking is something that you will use every day, and it always needs improvement, which is what debate does.”
For the Scholars Bowl team, this season has proven triumphant as they have captured three medals altogether in JV and varsity. Junior Nathan Ruby is a team member who said he enjoys the activity.
“I enjoy learning about different facts because it helps my knowledge increase,” Ruby said.
There is a multitude of categories, so the team must support their weaknesses. Ruby has helped with those aspects.
“I think that Fine Arts is my strongest category because I know most of the music questions. My weakest category, however, is language arts because I have never been spectacular at English,” Ruby commented.
Behind any successful team is a good coach. Science Teacher and Coach Judy Hamilton talked about the team’s victories.
“This team has been successful, and I am definitely not surprised by that. They have the ability to do great at the activity,” Hamilton commented.
She said she also notices differences in this year’s team.
“I think that we’ve got more aggressive with buzzing in, mainly because we aren’t afraid to fail. We know what works now,” Hamilton responded.
Hamilton also talked about how she plans to keep the team going through the season.
“We have to stay sharp. It’s always a challenge because of how few meets are left. That’s why we need practice,” Hamilton said.
Kenzie Kriss, senior, is another member of the Scholars Bowl team. Kriss has been a contributor to the team all season. She commented on what her best moments so far.
“My best moment so far was probably the very first meet I went to this year because I answered more questions correctly than I did at any other meet this season,” she said.
Although she has been on the winning end many times, Kriss hasn’t been relaxing. She plans to keep improving as the season goes on.
“I plan to keep improving by practicing whenever I can and paying more attention to the news for useful year in review information,” Kriss said.
Winning has been a motivator for Kriss.
“Winning always boosts my confidence in any activity that I take part in, so it obviously helps me a lot when we are victorious as a team,” Kriss commented.
She also discussed her strongest and weakest subjects.
“My strongest category would probably be language arts because I like to read, and I have always enjoyed English class. My weakest category, though, would be year in review, mainly because I don’t pay enough attention to the news to gain more information about the world around me.”