Gainesville High School Seniors Conner Markle and Ty Hayes have qualified to compete in the Cross-Examination Debate at the National Tournament of the NFL, or National Forensics League. The NFL is similar to the UIL organization but geared for Speech and Debate. The National meet rotates locations across the United States from year to year. This year’s tournament is in Alabama.
The GHS duo qualified by placing first at the District Meet, held in Melissa on Feb. 14-16. The format of the district debate tournament basically puts teams in a double-elimination style of tournament. As the meet progresses, public posts name teams as being "up" (undefeated), "down" (having a loss) or "out" (having two losses). The GHS team remained “up” throughout the entire three-day tournament, meaning they never lost a round. They were the only duo to do this in the entire district.
The district includes teams from across North Central Texas and part of the Metroplex. Unlike UIL, this organization is not broken into divisions. The GHS team defeated teams of all sizes, even some 5A teams, to win the district championship.
Conner Markle said, “This is definitely exciting because were going against the best debaters in the Nation. Ty and I have doubled our research since making it to the National Tournament and we are making sure our evidence is solid.”
Ty Hayes said, “Hoping we can break the top 60 at Nationals and do well. It’s going to be really interesting competing against other teams from across the nation.”
This year’s topic at the National Tournament poses the question, “Should the US Government substantially increase its transportation infrastructure inside the United States?” The tournament will be held in Birmingham, Alabama on June 14th.