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DSHS Debaters Compete in National Tournament

June 22, 2020

Five Dripping Springs High School students were selected to compete at the National Speech and Debate Association national tournament June 15-20. The students were selected by a panel of Austin-area speech and debate coaches to represent the Heart of Texas NSDA District in the tournament, which was held virtually. The selection process normally involves a qualifying tournament, but due to the pandemic, competitors were selected based on the strength of their 2019-20 performances at local tournaments and the Texas Forensics Association state tournament.

Competing for DSHS were sophomore Lizzie Galassini in Congressional Debate-House, senior Riley Wheaton in Original Oratory, and senior Christopher Gearing, junior Jackson Kaiser, and sophomore Katherine Mihaly in World Schools Debate. The World Schools competitors were part of a district-wide team that also included two debaters from Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville. In addition to these main events, Jackson and Katherine also competed in a supplemental event called Extemporaneous Debate.

DSHS students all had strong showings, including Galassini who advanced to quarterfinals in Congressional Debate-House. This placed her among the top 25 percent of all Congress competitors nationwide, one of very few sophomores to advance that far. Kaiser and Mihaly made it past the four preliminary rounds of Extemporaneous Debate and advanced through the seventh round, placing them in the top 60 of more than 400 original entrants.

The NSDA National Tournament, which originally was scheduled to be held in Albuquerque, N.M., was comprised of more than 5,000 entries from 1,300 schools across 54 states and U.S. territories.