by Leslie Pearson

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April 18, 2014
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Douglas Speech and Debate Team headed to nationals

The Douglas Speech and Debate Team would like to persuade Carson Valley residents to help send their four qualifying students to the national speech and debate tournament this summer.

Their main argument for the Valley’s support: The debate team swept three out of four district tournaments this year and added several trophies to their case including the coveted grand sweepstakes bowl which was held in Carson City in March.

The four students attending the national tournament will be junior James Striplin, and seniors Trent DeGiovanni, Cooper Whittemore and Tim Hanifan.

Kat Lambrecht, assistant coach, said that they received more points and won more tournaments this year than any other school.

“Paul (Mileo, head coach) and I both graduated from Douglas and commute from Reno to coach the team,” she said. “I know I’m biased but I think these kids are the best. They’re super smart and it’s fun to come back home and coach them.”

Striplin said that Nevada has never won debate for nationals.

“We haven’t been exposed to other debate styles,” he said. “So I hope we can be the first.”

DeGiovanni explained there are several rounds to a national tournament.

“I just want to make it past the preliminaries and advance,” he said. “We’ve done really well with our policy argument in past tournaments so I think we will.

Sam Frost, 18, has competed with the team since he was a freshman. He graduates this May. He and his twin, Andy, both qualified to go the national speech and debate competition, but declined due to prior commitments.

“Winning the grand sweepstakes really speaks to the team’s ability to debate,” he said. “We were up against some very competitive teams from Reno, Elko and Spring Creek. We’ve never done poorly, but this year we did really great.”

Dominique Groffman, 17, won fourth place in original oratory and said she felt “elevated” when her team won the grand sweepstakes this year.

“Districts were really fun and successful,” she said. “I was one place away from going to nationals.”

Groffman said that debate team has taught her skills to use outside of the tournaments.

“Debates are actually really helpful in class,” she said. “It has helped me to be a better writer and to write better arguments. It provides me with knowledge of contemporary issues.”

The debate team’s season ended in March, but the team will continue to meet and hold fundraisers for the four students who qualified for the national speech and debate tournament in Oakland Park, Kan., this summer.

Lambrecht said that it costs about $1,700 per student. She said each student is responsible for raising his own money.

“We’ll have some car washes coming up and some other fundraising activities,” she said. “But we also have our adopt a speech and debate team student forms that allow the students to get donations from their family and friends.”

To donate, checks can be sent to Douglas High School, 1670 Highway 88, Minden, 89423 and made out to Douglas High School Speech and Debate.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 18, 2014 09:06AM Published Apr 18, 2014 09:06AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.