Debate team wins state Lincoln-Douglas

Debate team wins state Lincoln-Douglas The Vermillion High School debate team won state in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, which is a one-on-one debate focusing on values.

The competition took place March 6-7. Mike Vaillancourt, a senior, and Jon Spader, a junior, both won their semi-final round. Vaillancourt was the declared 1999 state champion. Spader was runner-up. This victory set another record for Vermillion High School, the first Lincoln-Douglas championship at state and the first Vermillion versus Vermillion final round at a state tournament.

"I was so proud," said Peggy Dimock, head coach at Vermillion. "Mike and Jon told me last year that they were going to close out the 1999 state tournament and they did it. It really was an amazing feat."

Jim Dimock, Lincoln-Douglas coach, said "The boys did so much work for these titles, this really was a pinnacle for an amazing year."

"It was great to finally close-out a tournament with Jon," Vaillancourt said.

This was the second consecutive year that Vermillion earned state debate champions and the third time ever. The first year was 1931.

The policy team of Matt Rognstad, Rhiannon Chandler, Elizabeth Slagle and Vicki Lio made it to the semi-final round and lost on a 2-1 decision. The policy teams (two person team debate focusing on policy issues) were made up of primarily sophomore students, making it to the semi-final round was fantastic.

The competitors also were involved in individual events. This year with the advantage of two new IE coaches, Jennifer Smith and Stacy Fuchs, the Vermillion team saw more success than in previous years. At the state tournament, Vermillion had at least one competitor in every final round.

"Individual events allow for us to experience a whole new type of speech," said Spader. "It can be an equally challenging and rewarding pro-cess."

"The individual events include extemporaneous speaking, oratory and interpretation events.

"We had many first-time 'interpers' competing this year and there was such remarkable improvement from the first tournament to the last, you know these students worked their hearts out to succeed. I am amazed at the talent on our squad," said Assistant Coach Smith.

Overall, the debate season has been very rewarding. At the 17 tournaments Vermillion competed in (three after-school tournaments included) the debaters placed in the top three at all of them. All-star debate awards, were won by Chris Yutrzenka, Sarah Mollet, Darryl Neufeld, and Anders Fremstad. An all-star debater has a high win-loss record and high speaker points.

There are four levels of competition in policy debate, Novice B (first year), Novice A (second year), Jr. Varsity, and Champ. Vermillion Debate team is made up of nine novice B debaters, Dan Ring, Anders Fremstad, Jon Hoadley, Justine Reimnitz, Sarah Mollet, Lindsay Iverson, Chris Hayes, Chris Yutrzenka, Tim Margheim: six novice A debaters, Matt Rognstad, Darryl Neufeld, Elizabeth Slagle, Rhiannon Chandler, Stacy Miskimins, and Lyz Baranowski, and two Jr. Varsity Debaters: Mike Paulsen and Vicki Lio.

"Considering we are such a young team, our record is even more impressive," said Chandler.

The team's success can be attributed to many factors Dimock said. The primary factor is the team's enthusiasm and work ethic. The second is the extra help from volunteer coaches Heather Bender and Stacy Fuchs.

"Both of these girls have given generously of their time and knowledge. Their help has been invaluable," said Dimock.

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