Freshman Tyler Kinzy goes undefeated in debate


Maddie Cooke

Freshmen Tyler Kinzy and Praveen Dharmavarapu work on their cases during free time in between rounds. Jefferson City High School hosted one of the last tournaments for debate teams around the state before districts. “I’ve done two tournaments so far and I’ve won first place at both of them, so it’s definitely been something surprising, especially to join this late in the season when everyone else has been [competing] for a while,” Kinzy said.

Nayeon Ryu, Staff Writer

During the final weekend of January, Jefferson City High School hosted their annual debate tournament for teams all around the state.

“There was a bunch of different competition we normally don’t see. After a while of competing with the same schools, you recognize people and the pieces they perform or who their debate partners were, but at this tournament, I went against people I’ve never met nor heard of before,” junior Maddie Cooke said.

Despite the tough competition, a standout competitor was freshman novice Tyler Kinzy, who was awarded a light-up trophy after winning the title of tournament champion for open Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD).

“He has a winning streak of 12-0 because he was also tournament champ for LD at the last tournament. He has never lost a round of LD so far, which is really cool and also extremely hard to have,” Cooke said.

One week before Jeff City, Kinzy first started his debate career attending the Mehlville Novice Debate Round Robin, where he won the entire LD competition.

“[Winning Mehlville] was definitely surprising, being my first tournament. I was just expecting it to be a good learning experience, something to take into account going forward. But then to win it all, it was definitely shocking. It was something that I was proud of and I think there was a lot of help from other people that helped me get to that point,” Kinzy said.

I was just expecting it to be a good learning experience, something to take into account going forward. But then to win it all, it was definitely shocking.”

— Tyler Kinzy

Debate coaches and teammates helped Kinzy get into the swing of basic debate structure as he researched both sides of the LD argument prior to the tournaments.

“You don’t know going into the round which side you’ll be arguing. One thing that helps is because you’re preparing for both sides, you have a good idea of what your opponent might bring up because those are the same things you would be bringing up. In your head, just running through all the situations ahead of rounds helps,” Kinzy said.

After winning his first tournament, Kinzy agreed there was some added pressure to his performance at Jefferson City.

“The thing about Jeff City was that it was a varsity tournament. [I’d be] going against people who had done [debate] for longer than I had,” Kinzy said. “The thing I had to remind myself going into the round was that [I’m] doing the exact same debate, the same task, it’s just now there’s added pressure.”

Kinzy is planning on attending the last tournament of the regular season at Marquette High School on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17. While debate may be considered an individual activity with some exceptions of partner work and wins may be celebrated individually, the presence of team is what members believe makes any tournament the greatest.

“[Jeff City] was an opportunity to see the growth of our team as a whole,” senior Ryan O’Connor said. “We spend all our time together. Everything we do becomes a team bonding experience.”