Debate teams from Manti High School and North Sanpete High School turned in impressive performances at the region competition on Saturday, Feb. 27.
In a joint venture with all three regions of 3A forensics competing in a virtual format, the Manti debate squad finished second overall, while North Sanpete came in third overall. They lost to the region champions, Juab.
Manti debate coach Eric Peterson said the participation at the virtual competition was down from years past, but his team loves speaking and debating and so they went ahead and embraced the video-conferencing challenge.
“I am so proud of our students for hanging in there,” Peterson said. “The pandemic made the conditions tough for everyone.”
The topic of this year’s debate in the public forum was the creation of a national space force. The students debated on the necessity of using a military police to patrol outer space. Kellynn Nielson and Jordon Durtschi took 5th Place in public forum.
Manti claimed three first place winners in other divisions: In the student congress division, Angelina Oliver prepared herself in exemplary fashion by studying current events and poring over legislative bills.
Other first place winners were Grace Draper in impromptu speaking and Taylor Palmer in foreign extemporaneous speaking.
Second place winners were Jordon Durtschi in national extemporaneous and Brexton Jensen in impromptu. Also placing for Manti were Angelina Oliver, 3rd Place in original oratory; Juliana Workman, 5th Place in original oratory; and Kellynn Nielson, 6th Place in original oratory.
North Sanpete fielded a young team this year, but debate coach Alex Bailey was impressed that two of her freshman finished with high marks and they will both go onto to compete at state.
Hawk debater Julian Stavros took 5th place in the Lincoln-Douglas debate event and Aubrie Stiglich took 3rd place in the congress debate event, Bailey said.
“We are such a young team with little experience,” she said. “So I was extremely proud of them.”
The state competition for speech and debate is scheduled online for March 12-13.