From left to right: Chance Maginness, Dani Rakowitz, Rachel Forrester
and Jacy Johnston
The Rock Creek Debate Team recently brought home the third place trophy at the 4A state 4-speaker debate tournament. In 4-speaker, the pair of Josh Roberts and Dylan Meyer were on the negative side the entire tournament and faced the other eight schools affirmatives. The pair of Crystal Chitwood and Jacob Miller were affirmative, and they faced everyone’s negative pair. “It was a great win for us. The tournament took two days, and every round was a battle. We have just moved up to 4A, and all the other schools are so much larger than us. We had some doubt we could compete here, but we did,” said Coach Miller. In fact, here are the enrollment numbers for the participating schools: Rock Creek-258, El Dorado-561, Fort Scott-562, Buhler-642, Paola-650, Pittsburg-710, Spring Hill-636, Tonganoxie-595, and Wellington-487. “I guess we were the little engine that could.”
The team was in 4th or 5th place for most of the tournament. In fact, the only time they were in 3rd place was after the final results were in. “Going into the last round, we had to win on both the negative side and the affirmative side, and we needed the team above us to drop one so we could leapfrog over them,” said Miller. “I told the kids they had to win the last round, and they responded beautifully. Josh and Dylan faced Wellington, which we didn’t know anything about, and Crystal and Jacob had to beat the Spring Hill neg. team, who they had lost to at the regional tournament. They did it, though.” The team’s finish at state was much like their regional tournament finish, in which they had to win their final four debates in order to have a chance to move on to the state tournament. “The grit and determination of Dylan, Josh, Crystal and Jacob was wonderful at regionals and at state. They found a way to win. I am really proud of them,” said Miller.
In the 2-speaker state tournament, the pair of Dani Rakowitz and Chance Maginness finished in 4th place out of 70 entries, one place away from a trophy. This was the second year in a row for the pair to finish 4th, and the fourth year in a row for the Mustangs to finish 4th in 2-speaker. “We have a death grip on that 4th place finish,” said Miller. “With a little luck, we could have four more state debate trophies sitting in the case.” As it is, the 4-speaker trophy was the program’s fifth state debate trophy in the past six years. “We’ve been blessed with amazing kids. Sometimes I find myself just sitting and staring at them, thinking how lucky we’ve been to have been so blessed.”
In addition to Dani and Chance, the 2-speaker pair of Jacy Johnston and Rachel Forrester also made out-rounds, which also garnered them state debate medals. The pair lost out to the eventual 3rd place team from Hayden High School. Finally, the pair of Trey Basa and Larissa Eshelman went 3-3, and while they didn’t win medals, they showed themselves worthy of state competition. “It was just a wonderful ending to a fantastic year,” said Coach Miller.