The Brainerd High School Debate Team's young crew this season realized many successes, said Lincoln-Douglas Debate Coach Dave Pritschet.
"They exceeded my expectations," said Pritschet. "They kept getting better and they learned a lot and enjoyed themselves."
Pritschet said he expected this season to be a rebuilding year because of the youth on the team. There were only four seniors on the team: Kara Richard, Garrett Wedan, Andrew Kubas and Sara Swenson.
Pritschet said there was a lot of interest in debate this season with about 30 students coming to practice and about 20 students debating in the tournaments.
Pritschet said there were many students who did "impressive things."
One of the successes was when ninth-grader Brian Ashburn took second place at sections on Jan. 13 in Alexandria. A week later he traveled to Rosemount for the state tournament where he earned a 3-3 record to take 12th place. Pritschet said Ashburn was knocked out of the tournament by the student who won the state title. Pritschet said this is quite the accomplishment for Ashburn since this was his first year debating in Lincoln-Douglas.
Pritschet said Stephanie Northway, an eighth-grader, competed in the public forum category and was named first alternate at the tournament.
Other debate successes this season included:
Ashburn and Jenna Riley, another ninth-grader, closed out the Lincoln-Douglas competition in the national qualifying tournament. The two will advance to compete in the national tournament in Wichita, Kan., this June.
Kubas and Richard qualified in Student Congress.
In the Rural Debate League tournament, Sonya Hills, a junior, placed first in Lincoln-Douglas and Kubas and Wedan placed first in public forum.
In the state junior varsity division Wedan and Swenson earned second place in public forum.
In the state novice division Northway and Chelsea Holub, a ninth-grader, placed fifth.
Pritschet said in the beginning of the season he took Hills, Ashburn, Riley, Holub and Northway under his wing to compete in Lincoln-Douglas. He said the students were debating in public forum, but he saw potential in them to compete in Lincoln-Douglas.
"We didn't have any kids looking at Lincoln-Douglas and I saw potential with these kids," said Pritschet. "Some kids think like Lincoln-Douglas."
Brainerd High School teacher David Borash helps Pritschet coach the debate teams.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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