HCP returns from state Speech and Debate competition with three finalists

HCP Speech and Debates State Finalists: (from left to right) Garrett Eakers, Jorja Rose, and James Williams.

Cailey Gray

HCP Speech and Debate’s State Finalists: (from left to right) Garrett Eakers, Jorja Rose, and James Williams.

Callie Struby, Reporter

Speech and debate requires unique skills that not everyone possesses, but the HCP Speech and Debate team definitely has its share of talented competitors. Several members of the group recently competed in the state competition, and three were state finalists.

Garrett Eakers, Jorja Rose and James Williams officially became 2014 State Speech and Debate finalists  in their respective events.  Eakers went to state with Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking (FEX) and Policy debate. Rose and Williams competed in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking (DEX). Williams also competed in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Coach Cailey Gray said that it’s the best the team has done in the five years that they’ve been active. HCP Speech and Debate faces a unique challenge because while they should be in the 4A division, Gray bumped them up to 5A, meaning they face tougher competitors, often from private schools with more resources. But in reality, this only makes HCP more impressive as they continue to trump competitors left and right.

“It’s kind of an underdog story,” Gray said.

Gray said the most satisfying part as a coach is knowing that all the hard work they have put into preparing for their various events is paying off. She says she believes the majority of their success as due to their talent rather than her coaching.

“I’d say 60-40,” Gray said.

Eakers is particularly impressive because he placed fifth in FEX his first year on the team. He says that he enjoys being able to analyze things and show flaws in other people’s arguments. Eakers said the most rewarding part of being a finalist is “knowing I could take something I didn’t really want to do and turn it into something I am good at and want to continue.”

Rose, a senior, is finishing her third and last year in speech and debate with a third place title in DEX. She described her last competition as bittersweet. There’s a twinge of sadness because this is Rose’s last time debating competitively as she does not plan on continuing debate in college, but there is also light because Rose knows that she will be able to apply the skills she has gained later in life.

“It’s like I’ve made it,” Rose said.

For Williams, this past competition was a personal triumph. Williams said it was a redemption story of sorts. “I felt like I underachieved last year. I actually did better freshman year than I did sophomore year,” Williams said.

But now Williams has beat all of his past performances and placed sixth in DEX. He said he will continue with debate next year and hopes to move up and be in the top three DEX speakers in the state.