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MPISD – News

MP Speech and Debate Nationals team (left to right): Anthony Orellana, Connelly Cowan, and Madeline Tumey-Simmons

 Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPHS Speech and Debate brings home the national awards

Three members of the Mount Pleasant High School, Speech and Debate team competed in the NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament, June 13-17, in Louisville, KY. The tournament featured over 4700 competitors from 47 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Marianas, British Columbia, and International schools in Taiwan.

In Policy Debate, the team of Connelly Cowan and Anthony Orellana began day one against 165 teams. In prelims, they debated teams from California (3), Iowa, Nevada, and the Taipei American School to determine if they would advance to elimination. In the six preliminary rounds, each had two judges who would vote for or against a team for 12 ballots. A team had to have at least eight “for” ballots to succeed. Cowan and Orellana had eight “for” and would advance to the elimination rounds. They won round seven against a team from Bozeman, MT, lost round eight against Blue Valley Southwest in Kansas, and won round nine versus a team from Ohio. They finally eliminated them on a 2-1 decision in round ten against Bellarmine College Preparatory in California. They finished among the top 22 teams at the tournament, the best finish for a Mount Pleasant team in school history. Cowan, a 2022 MPHS graduate, will attend Georgetown University in the fall, where she will compete as a Georgetown Policy Debate team member. Orellana will return to MPHS in the fall for his senior year.

Cowan also garnered two individual accolades at Nationals. In Policy Debate, at the end of prelims, speaker awards are given to the individuals with the highest speaker points. Cowan was the ninth-ranked speaker in the nation out of 330 individual competitors, besting her 15th place finish in 2021. She also received a special four-time qualifier award, given to graduating seniors who have competed at the National tournament all four years of high school. Of the over 4700 students in attendance, only 68 earned this prestigious award.

Also competing at the National tournament was Madeline Tumey-Simmons in Dramatic Interpretation. She spent two days at the University of Louisville, competing against over 250 students across the United States. Tumey-Simmons will return to MPHS in the fall for her senior year.

The NSDA National tournament wrapped up the 2021-2022 year for MPHS Speech and Debate. Returning team members will attend various summer camps, preparing for the 2022-2023 school year and their first tournament in August.

Enrique Martinez coaches them.