Four members of the Mount Pleasant High School Speech and Debate team competed at the NSDA National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, June 17-20 at the Sheraton Hotel downtown. The tournament featured competitors from over 1300 schools representing 53 states and US International schools. Over 7500 students qualified to compete in 23 categories.
Recent graduate Ja’Quacy Minter qualified for the national tournament in Dramatic Interpretation. After failing to advance to the top 60 in that event, Minter was able to enter supplemental competitions in both Prose and Poetry, his areas of expertise. In the end, Minter was named a Semifinalist in Prose, advancing to the top 14 out of 378 competitors. In Poetry, Minter made it to the top 35 out of 326 competitors. It was the best finish for an MPHS Speech team member at nationals in school history and Minter’s second national award. He will continue his speech and debate career at Tyler Junior College this fall.
In Policy Debate, the team of Connelly Cowan and Taryn Thurman began day one against 180 teams from across the United States. In prelims, they debated teams from Delaware, Missouri, Kansas, California, Hawaii and Idaho to determine if they would advance to elimination rounds. In the six preliminary rounds, each round had 2 judges who would vote for or against a team, for a total of 12 ballots. In order to advance, a team had to have at least 8 “for” ballots. Cowan and Thurman had 9 ballots for and 3 against and would advance to the elimination rounds. In round 7 they faced a team from New York and lost the round on a 3-0 decision. In round 8, they faced another team from Missouri and were eliminated on a 2-1 decision, just 1 ballot away from advancing to rounds 9 and 10. They finished among the top 58 teams at the tournament. It was the first appearance for an MPHS policy debate team at the national level and their first national award. Cowan will be a sophomore and Thurman will be a junior for the 2019-2020 school year.
Reid Pinckard qualified for the national tournament in United States Extemporaneous Speaking. After not advancing in USX, he was able to enter supplemental competitions in Extemp Debate and Impromptu Speaking. He advanced to the third round of Impromptu Speaking that began with 520 competitors, making it into the top 90 or the top 17%. Pinckard will return for his junior year this fall.
The NSDA National tournament wrapped up the 2018-2019 year for MPHS Speech and Debate. Team members will attend various camps this summer, preparing for the 2019-2020 school year and their first tournament in September. They are coached by Cody Morris.
L to R: Reid Pinckard, Connelly Cowan, Taryn Thurman, Ja’Quacy Minter