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MPISD – News

MPHS CX District medalists, L to R: Connelly Cowan, Taryn Thurman, coach Enrique Martinez, Ryan Sharp, and Taylor Hubbs

MPHS CX District Champions: 
Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS claims CX Debate District Championship

For the fifth year in a row, Mount Pleasant High School captured the District Championship in the Cross-Examination debate and will send a team to the state tournament.

Junior Connelly Cowan and senior Taryn Thurman, lovingly known as TarCon, captured the District Championship, qualifying them for the virtual State Meet in March. 

It is the third district championship and third state qualification in a row for Cowan and Thurman. They are the 2019 State bronze medalists. They canceled the 2020 state meet just days before they were to leave for Austin last March.

Cowan was named District Top Speaker, scoring a perfect 90 out of a possible 90 points. It is her third District Top Speaker award in three years. Thurman was 2nd speaker, just a half a point behind Cowan.

The junior Taylor Hubbs and senior Ryan Sharp team took 2nd place, earning the state alternate spot. In an average year, Hubbs and Sharp would also advance to state. But with the recent COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the UIL, only the District Champions advance in districts with fewer than 17 teams, an extremely tough break for a very deserving team as neither MPHS team dropped a single ballot all day long.

 “After not being able to compete in person since last March, the district competition felt like a return to normalcy, even if it was just for a moment,” said MPHS Speech and Debate coach Enrique Martinez. “After competing online for much of this year, it was strange for all of us to return in person. The teams continued to work hard all year despite all of the roadblocks due to the pandemic. All three of our teams had a strong performance, with Connelly and Taryn taking 1st and qualifying for the state tournament. Ryan and Taylor took 2nd place, and due to UIL’s adjustment to the state competition in response to COVID-19, they are alternates to the state competition instead of qualifiers. I am so proud of such a fantastic group of students who managed to overcome various obstacles in their way. It is sad to see two of our best in Ryan and Taylor give it a final go at district, but they have provided so much for this program. We hope to build on Taryn and Connelly’s performance at state two years ago and take it a step further.”

Cowan and Thurman will be making their third and final trip to the state, and the online State UIL Cross-Examination Debate Tournament is on March 19 and 20. Enrique Martinez is Mount Pleasant Speech and Debate coach.