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MPISD – News

(L to R) Front row: Kylie Hedge, Andrew Avila, Madeline Tumey-Simmons, Merlin Cardona
Second row: Taryn Thurman, Isabella Greco, Ryan Sharp, Cody Morris
Back row: Reid Pinckard, Connelly Cowan, Taylor Hubbs, Anthony Orellana


Kelly Cowan


MPHS Speech and Debate members qualify for state and national tournaments

The MPHS Speech and Debate team has continued competing online this fall and continues to find success during these unprecedented times. September and October have brought 2 National tournament and three state tournament qualifications, with several other team members close to earning their qualifications.

In the Lindale Fall TFA tournament on September 18 and 19, the CX team of junior Connelly Cowan and senior Taryn Thurman placed 2nd out of 31 teams. It earned the final points they needed to qualify for the Texas Forensics Association (TFA) state tournament in March. The senior Ryan Sharp and junior Taylor Hubbs team made it to the final four in the semifinals, earning more points toward their qualification. Sharp was named Top Speaker with Cowan placing 2nd, Hubbs placing 5th, and Thurman placing 9th in speaker points out of 62 competitors. In Lincoln Douglas Debate, sophomore Anthony Orellana was a quarterfinalist, earning points toward his state qualification.

The weekend of September 25 and 26 saw team members competing in three different tournaments. In the Bearcat Swing at Cy Woods, Cowan placed fourth out of 26 in International Extemporaneous Speaking (IX) and earned the final points she needed to qualify for TFA state in that event. 

Orellana was a semifinalist in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking (DX). At the Five Star Invitational at MacArthur High School on the 26th, Orellana competed in LD and was a quarterfinalist, making it the top 8 out of 30 entries. And at the North Lamar/Wylie tournament, Sharp and Hubbs were semifinalists in CX, with Hubbs placing 5th and Sharp placing 7th in speaker points.

After a couple of weeks off, the team was back in action at the All Saints Episcopal School tournament on October 16 and 17. 

Orellana earned his first tournament championship in Lincoln Douglas Debate and reached the final points he needed to secure his TFA State qualification. Seniors Reid Pinckard and Kylie Hedge were quarterfinalists in LD, earning points toward their state qualification. In LD speaker points, Orellana was second, and Hedge was 5th out of 22 entries. In extemp, Pinckard was second, and Sharp was 5th in DX out of 22 entries, with Hubbs placing 3rd in IX. First-year team members Angelina Hernandez and Noemy Dorantes competed for the first time in Novice CX and picked up two wins. Second-year team members Madeline Tumey-Simmons and Andrew Avila competed for the first time in Novice LD, with Tumey-Simmons picking up two wins and Avila winning his first-round season.

Rounding out October, team members Cowan and Sharp would earn bids and full qualifications to the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) scheduled for May 2021 in Houston. In school history, only two other team members have ever qualified for this prestigious tournament. In DX, Cowan, Sharp and Hubbs were all semifinalists, making it to the top 19 competitors out of 56 entries, earning all three team members bids to NIETOC. Sharp had one bid from a previous tournament, so earning this second bid secured his qualification to the national tournament. In IX, Cowan was again a semifinalist, making it to the top 18 competitors out of 51 entries and earning her second bid to NIETOC in just one tournament. Hubbs now has her first bid and will only need to secure one more. In the Congressional Debate, Orellana was a semifinalist in his first time to compete in that event.

“It has been a great opportunity for our students to compete online against some of the best programs in the nation, said MPHS Speech and Debate, Coach Cody Morris. “We have had a great start to the year and continue to rack up state and national qualifications. I am excited about these students’ futures and know they are destined for great things.”

The Mount Pleasant High School Speech and Debate team will continue its season at the online University of Michigan tournament and Congress Regionals at the Region 8 Education Service Center in November.