Debating to State


Marlana Tanaro

Tyler Tanaro, Oscar Flores, Emma Stevenson, Lynnsey Mahler, and Nehemiah Castillo.

Lizzy Garcia, Writer

“Debating is more than standing at a podium and giving speeches. It’s the aspect that will bring heart break, defeat, and discouragement to your life, and the determination and love you have for debate will still outweigh those characteristics,” senior debater Annabelle Anchondo said. “Nothing can compare to standing at a podium at UT, looking at your partner and opponents, and realizing, ‘I am here, debating at state debate.'”

Through all of the trials and tribulations that debate has brought to the Springlake-Earth debaters this year, they have each conquered their own hardships individually, as teams, and as a family.

The year started off with four CX teams, one being freshmen Lexi Anchondo and Lizzy Garcia, the next being sophomores Tyler Tanaro and Nehemiah Castillo, third junior Emma Stevenson and senior Annabelle Anchondo, and the final team being junior Lynnsey Mahler and senior Oscar Flores. They each attended numerous competitions and tournaments throughout the year, building up to the district debate tournament, and after debating three rounds at district, Stevenson and Anchondo as well as Flores and Mahler would end up being the state qualifying teams to represent Springlake-Earth. This year would also mark the seventh consecutive year that CX debaters from SE would travel to the state debate tournament to compete for championships, and they did not disappoint the Wolverine Nation this spring break.

Coach Marlana Tanaro led two Cross-Examination teams as they made a name for SE and themselves on the biggest stage of them all. After winning all four rounds the first day of state debate, Flores and Mahler advanced to finals, finishing as the second-place team overall. With two rounds out of the four won, Tanaro and Castillo would end up finishing as the sixth place team overall. In addition to the state championship placements, Tanaro earned fifth place speaker overall and Castillo was second place speaker.

2nd Place Team Oscar Flores and Lynnsey Mahler (Marlana Tanaro)

Each medal and plaque won by the debaters was a representation of the tears, laughs, memories, and time spent on research, constructing cases, and filing evidence that it took to get to where they were and accomplish so much in two days. One aspect that cannot be forgotten, though, is the relationship it takes between a CX team in order to achieve greatly.

“I learned how to be a good partner with Tyler and communicate and work together instead of falling on one person, whether it was me or Tyler,” Castillo said.

Relying on each other is crucial when debating in CX, and it is a principle that was learned by Flores and Mahler the year before, considering that this was the second consecutive year they had made it to state. For them, competing there again was exciting and a chance to better themselves as debaters.

“I was so ecstatic! Last year, I was a baby, but going into my second year, there were a lot of expectations there. I didn’t know how successful we were going to be,” Mahler said. “We have had a great win-loss record this year, and we have really improved.  I felt like I had the upper hand around a lot of people.”

For Tanaro and Castillo, however, it was their first time at state as competitors, and they were unsure of what to expect.

“I really didn’t expect anything. I just went in there and debated, and it turned out being really good,” T. Tanaro said.

Despite the unexpected, they earned titles and experienced memories that will always be cherished by the SE debaters. Looking forward, the teams are hoping to make waves at the state meet once more next year.

Nehemiah Castillo 2nd Place Speaker and Tyler Tanaro 5th Place Speaker (Marlana Tanaro)

“The time I got to spend at state debate was very humbling and fun to see other people’s success. I’m glad I got the opportunity to go with them. I was really happy for Oscar that he got to do so well his last year, and I hope me and Lynnsey can follow up again next year.”

For the coach and debaters, debate is an activity that they hope to see others enjoy as much as they have and cannot wait to create more memorable experiences in this upcoming debate season.

“I would hope that the kids that went to state and have gone to state would inspire other ones to want to do that too, because it’s special,” M. Tanaro said. “It’s impressive, so I hope that that would inspire other people who want to join. I can’t wait for what’s coming.”