The Blanco High School team of Eleanor Kirkscey and Annie Albrecht defeated a team from White Oak to win the 2012 Conference AA UIL Cross-Examination Debate State Championship at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on March 12-13.
Kirkscey was named top speaker in the tournament, with perfect speaker points during preliminary rounds, while Albrecht finished in a six-way tie for second speaker.
Sixty-four two-person teams entered the tournament. Each of the 32 Conference AA districts in the state qualified two teams.
Four preliminary debates and the first two elimination rounds were held at the University Teaching Center on the UT campus. Semifinals and finals were held in committee rooms at the state capitol.
The team, both juniors, finished preliminary rounds on March 12 seeded first in the tournament with a 4-0 record and near-perfect speaker points. In those rounds they defeated teams from Brock, Forsan, Boling, and Palmer. In elimination rounds, they defeated Centerville in the octafinals and the same Boling team in quarterfinals.
In semifinals, they defeated Lago Vista, and they kept their perfect 8-0 record in the finals against White Oak.
“We spent several hundred hours developing our affirmative case and negative arguments, beginning last summer,” said Eleanor. “Everything came down to the final round and the hope that all our time spent researching, learning theory, and practicing at invitational tournaments would pay off. It did!”
“I’m glad we finally have something to show for all our hard work—a big, shiny medal!” said Albrecht.
“Eleanor and Annie’s overall record is 40-5, which is remarkable,” said debate coach (and Eleanor’s father) Russell Kirkscey. “We made some sound, strategic decisions in adapting to judges during the tournament.”
Sophomores Callie Nance and Kristin Watt also debated well in their first appearance at the state tournament but did not qualify for elimination rounds.
This year’s topic was “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the Earth’s mesosphere.” A team must prepare multiple affirmative and negative positions to use for tournaments. Each debate lasts about two hours, which means the team debated 16 hours over the two days.
“There’s something to be said for stamina,” said Eleanor.