Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

GR debaters hone skills at Utah competition


The Green River High School Speech and Debate team took their skills to another state this past weekend.

The Tournament of Champions took place in Alta, Utah, and showcased debate students from around the country. During this tournament, individual awards are given out and students have the chance to receive a bid to the national Tournament of Champions.

“We normally don’t compete in the TOC circuit and it has a very specific and more rapid style of debate across the board,” head coach Carina Stulken said. “The judges that accompany the teams are used to this particular debate style and are looking for very different things in the round to evaluate the debaters. It was a great learning experience and will make our debaters much more well rounded this season and in the future.”

In most cases, a debater must receive two bids at a TOC competition to make it to a national competition, which takes place in May. This particular tournament had a quarter-final qualifying leg for the national tournament. Two GRHS students received their first bid for the TOC competition this weekend.

After winning their double octa and octa final rounds, Vabsi Ibarra and Maggie Talliferro had a record in public forum debate of 8-1 and made it all the way to quarter finals, Stulken said. They ended up eighth out of 70 public-forum debate teams in the competition.

“This is the best placing GRHS has had in this event; and if they receive their second leg this season at another tournament they will qualify to attend the national TOC tournament,” Stulken said.

Ibarra and Talliferro were not the only debaters to excel at the tournament.

“Other members of the team learned a great deal; and Dallin Hoyt had a record of 3-3 in preliminary rounds, which is outstanding,” Stulken said. “All the other debaters picked up at least one ballot against very stiff competition from schools all over the country.”

Stulken said she was surprised with how her novices really dug in and adapted to the various styles of debating they came across. She said they did this with such a positive attitude.

“There is no replacement for rounds of competition at a tournament to hone your debate skills and we were fortunate enough this year to even be able to have our novice compete at this difficult, varsity-level tournament,” she said. “They all really got to practice and improve their debating skills this past weekend.”

GRHS Tournament

With GRHS hosting this weekend’s tournament, varsity members will not compete, but that doesn’t mean they do not have a hard job. This week, varsity team members will be tasked with running the tournament, which will take place Friday and Saturday at the high school.

“It is basically our turn to give back to the speech community by hosting a tournament,” she said

With such a large event to host, the GRHS team is asking for the community’s help. There are 12 events ranging from humor, drama and duet to debates and public speaking events.

Stulken said the public can help by volunteering to judge one or a couple of events. They can either stop by the high school any time after 3:30 p.m. Friday or first-thing Saturday morning. They can also contact her directly via email at

Volunteers do not have to have a speech background to judge. The team will have a judging table at the tournament volunteers can visit. The students at that table will coach new judges on how to fill out ballots and what to look for while judging.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019