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MPISD – News

L to R: Ryan Sharp, Isabella Greco, Connelly Cowan, Reid Pinckard, Taryn Thurman, Coach Cody Morris, Taylor Hubbs

L to R: Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS Speech and Debate team members compete at nationals

Six members of the Mount Pleasant High School, Speech and Debate team, competed in the online NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament, June 15-17, 2020. The tournament was planed for Albuquerque, NM, but changed to an online format due to COVID-19. The tournament featured competitors from over 1200 schools representing 47 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Marianas, British Columbia, Ontario, and eight International schools in Taiwan and China. Over 6000 students qualified to compete in 23 categories.

In Policy Debate, the team of Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman began day one against 192 teams from across the United States. In prelims, they debated teams from Oregon, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma to determine if they would advance to elimination rounds. In the six preliminary rounds, each round had two judges who would vote for or against a team, for a total of 12 ballots. To advance, a team had to have at least eight “for” ballots. Cowan and Thurman had nine and would advance to the elimination rounds. 

They won round seven against a team from Clayton, MO, lost round eight against a team from Salt Lake City, UT, and were eliminated in round nine against a team from Jenks, OK on a 2-1 decision. That was one ballot away from advancing to round ten. They finished among the top 52 teams at the tournament. It was the second appearance for Cowan and Thurman at the national tournament and their second national award. Round eight eliminated them at the Nationals in 2019. Cowan will be a junior, and Thurman will be a senior for the 2020-2021 school year.

Reid Pinckard qualified for the national tournament for the 2nd year, this time in Lincoln Douglas Debate.

In the prelims, he faced teams from Missouri, Idaho, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Indiana before being eliminated in round six. 

In 2019, he competed in the United States Extemporaneous Speaking, Extemp Debate, and Impromptu Speaking. He advanced to the third round of Impromptu Speaking, which began with 520 competitors, making it into the top 90 or the top 17%. Pinckard will return for his senior year this fall.

Isabella Greco, Ryan Sharp, and Taylor Hubbs competed in World Schools Debate as a team of five with Jordan White from North Lamar and Lily Garcia from Royse City. World Schools Debate is a dynamic format combining “prepared” topics with “impromptu” topics, encouraging debaters to focus on specific issues rather than debate theory or procedural arguments. This highly interactive style of debate allows debaters to engage each other, even during speeches, requiring good teamwork and in-depth quality argumentation. The team faced opponents from Nebraska, Florida, Nevada, Kansas (2), and Oklahoma before being eliminated in round six. Greco and Sharp will return as seniors, and Hubbs will be a junior in the 2020-2021 season.

The NSDA National tournament wrapped up the 2019-2020 year for MPHS Speech and Debate. Team members will attend various camps this summer, preparing for the 2020-2021 school year and their first tournament in September. Cody Morris coaches them.