Austin, Here We Come!

CX Debate Teams Advance to State


Cassi Furr

Freshmen Lexi Anchondo and Lizzy Garcia, sophomores Tyler Tanaro and Nehemiah Castillo, juniors Lynnsey Mahler and Emma Stevenson, and seniors Annabelle Anchondo and Oscar Flores all getting ready to debate at district.

Taytum Goodman and Annabelle Anchondo

Debate, like many other extracurricular activities, takes endless amounts of hard work, dedication, and preparation, an aspect that the four Springlake-Earth CX Debate teams know very well. After hours of late nights, disappointment, and even tears, two teams can proudly say that they are on the road to state.

Last Wednesday, the four debate teams gathered at the First Baptist Church in Earth and began debating each other to see who would be the two that would advance to state. After three rounds of good clash, it was hard to tell who would be advancing; in fact, this year, the circumstances were a little different. Three of the four teams ending up tying with 2 wins and 1 loss, making the determination based solely on speaker points. With 147 speaker points, sophomores Tyler Tanaro and Nehemiah Castillo finished third place overall, making them the alternate team to state. In second place, with 151 speaker points, was junior Emma Stevenson and senior Annabelle Anchondo, Anchondo being the top speaker of the day. Finally, coming in as first team to state was junior Lynnsey Mahler and senior Oscar Flores with a grand total of 155 speaker points.

Before hearing results, however, the teams were on edge, wondering who would actually advance.

“We were sitting in that room, and we were all just talking about how we thought we did and who we thought had gone through. The tension was so thick, you could have cut it with scissors,” Mahler said. “We were all very nervous. Those judges just couldn’t come fast enough.”

When both judges and fill-in debate coach Cassi Furr congregated in a separate area of the church to speak, the CX teams knew there had been a tie and the determination would come down to speaker points.

“With the three-round bracket and how the rounds had been designed, if one team hadn’t won all three of their rounds, then three of the four teams were going to tie with only two wins,” A. Anchondo said. “It was either one team won three rounds and another team won two, making the top two teams to state clear, or three teams were going to tie with two wins and one loss.”

While waiting to hear results, the CX teams had even predicted the tie.

We were sitting in that room, and we were all just talking about how we thought we did and who we thought had gone through. The tension was so thick, you could have cut it with scissors.

— junior Lynnsey Mahler

“What’s funny is we had actually predicted that outcome before they told us. We all contemplated and predicted the winners of every round, and surprisingly, everything we predicted was correct,” A. Anchondo said. “We knew as soon as Mrs. Furr went to talk to the judges that three teams had tied, and the decision had come down to speaker points.”

The predicted tie only made the tensions and stakes higher than they already were.

“I was sitting there in total despair because it came down to speaker points, and that isn’t my strong suit. The judges talked to us and gave us critiques, and they made Annabelle stand up and said she was the star and she was probably the best,” Mahler said. “Then, Mr. Jim Bob Jones called me out for a huge mistake I had done in front of everyone, and I thought I had ruined Oscar’s senior year. Then, we got first, and my mind was just blown.”

In fact, some individuals were shocked to hear the results because of the speech that had been given to the competitors by the judges.

“Honestly, I thought Emma and Annabelle and Lynnsey and I had both advanced, but we’re both really good debaters,” Flores said. “I did not know if we had won first place or not. It was just nerve-wracking who had won.”

Despite any of the circumstances, everyone was happy for the teams that did advance and cannot wait to cheer on their fellow debaters at the state meet.

“It’s an awesome feeling. We get to have fun at state, and watch everyone else debate,” Castillo said.

In addition to the excitement that state brings, the district competition held great significance for most of the debaters this year. For the freshmen, Lizzy Garcia and Alexis Anchondo, it symbolized their first CX district debate, something they are grateful for despite their finish in fourth place.

“I was terrified at first, but with my partner and other debaters’ support, it was an amazing experience. I’ll gladly do it again,” L. Anchondo said. “I am super hyped to go to Austin with the rest of the debaters. I can’t wait to see my sister and the others debaters rock at state.”

Garcia was also nervous to debate her first time at district, but had fun doing it.

“I felt very nervous. I wasn’t really prepared to debate against everyone,” Garcia said. “It was special because it was our first year debating, and it was fun to try.”

However, for others, such as Flores, district debate would be the last time he would compete against his peers and on the district level.

It was very hard for me to be away from my debaters.  However, they made me proud, and I kept up with them electronically… I can’t wait to see how well they do at state!

— debate coach Marlana Tanaro

“It felt great to debate for the last time, and I was just happy to do it,” Flores said. “I mean it was a little sad to think that would be my last time.”

Stevenson also felt the pain of debating at district one last time with her partner, Annabelle.

“It was a little odd to think it would be the last time to debate at district with Annabelle, but I am very excited that I get to go on to state with her one last time,” Stevenson said.

While it was also A. Anchondo’s last time to debate at district, this year it meant so much more.

“Being a senior, district was already so emotional. I’ve been debating for the past two years, and I’ve been in love with it ever since I started. Emma, Lynnsey, Oscar, Tyler, Nehemiah, Lexi, Lizzy, and I, we’ve all shared so many laughs together, and we have cried together, too,” A. Anchondo said. “On top of that, though, I was unsure if I would even get the opportunity to debate at district due to health concerns. All I knew was that I wanted to, but whether or not I’d be okay to was another story. That aspect brought a whole other wave of emotion. However, I wasn’t ready to hang my hat up just yet, and I am extremely happy my debating days aren’t quite over.”

Even though debate coach Marlana Tanaro could not be present at the district competition, she could not be more proud of each and every one of her teams.

“It was very hard for me to be away from my debaters.  However, they made me proud, and I kept up with them electronically.  Mrs. Cassi Furr did a fantastic job standing in for me.  I can’t wait to see how well they do at state!”