NCFL tournament competitors representing Webb City High School were Rees Massoth, Henry Angér, McKenzie Jones, Brett Thompson, Anne Marie Wright, Evan Garrison, Silas Drake and Lilly Shea. (NIKKI OWENS PHOTO)
National qualifiers spend holiday weekend competing in NCFL Nationals
The Webb City Speech and Debate qualifiers for the National Catholic Forensic League Grand Nationals faced off against 2,316 entries from 516 schools in 35 states over Memorial Day weekend.
Henry Angér and Rees Massoth finished as quarterfinalists and 16th in the nation in DUO Interpretation.
Anne Marie Wright, the only freshman to qualify, earned three Lincoln Douglas Debate wins. Coach Tiffany Bolin says that’s especially noteworthy because Wright, a freshman, is in her first semester of competition.
McKenzie Jones competed in Oral Interpretation and finished in the top 50 percent in the nation.
Bolin says she and her assistant, Nikki Owens, “are so proud of all eight of our competitors for qualifying and representing Webb City High School well.”
And yet, the season isn’t over. Six students will compete June 14 – 20 in the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament.
Angèr and Massoth will again be competing in DUO Interpretation. This will be Henry and Rees’s last high school performance since they are both seniors, ending a three-year partnership and their second time competing in NSDA Nationals in DUO together.
Bria Brattin and Evan Garrison will be competing in Policy Debate. Both are sophomores and this is Evan’s second time qualifying for NSDA Nationals in Policy. This is Bria’s first year competing and first time qualifying for Nationals.
Chloe Ingle is a junior competing in Storytelling. This is her first year competing and her first Nationals appearance.
Silas Drake is a sophomore competing in Extemporaneous Debate. This is his second NSDA Nationals appearance and his last Webb City performance since his family is moving to Monett.
NSDA Nationals will conclude the 2020-2021 season, which began with the first tournament back in October.
Thankfully, Bolin says it will also mark the end of “our only virtual season in history.
For NCFL Nationals Angér and Massoth competed live in separate rooms in a Zoom meeting. All other NCFL competitors competed live in online meetings through NSDA Campus, a platform created just last year for this express purpose.
At NSDA Nationals, Angér and Massoth first pre-recording themselves separately on a split screen so they appear to be side-by-side screen as judges watch the video. Then they’ll compete in the same room, but they won’t be allowed to look at or touch each other.
Policy Debate gets to compete in the same room but on separate computers in a live meeting attended by themselves, the judges, and the opponents. Each round is a new meeting.
Storytelling is pre-recorded and will be viewed by the judges and other competitors during the times when the rounds take place.
Extemporaneous Debate is done live like a Zoom call.
The difficulty this season has been that each tournament uses a different platform and has its own set of rules for which rounds are pre-recorded, which are live, and which are a combination of both.
Even the competition rules for events have changed this year since internet is typically not allowed to prevent students from looking things up mid-round.
“It has made for a highly innovative and challenging season full of many firsts,” says Bolin.
“Next year we hope to compete in person again.” The team will start preparing during Debate Camp, Aug. 9 – 12 at the high school.