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May 10, 2014

Athens’ Warren prepared for state meet

Athens — RESOLVED: Elizabeth Warren is a top contender for the state championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

As the University Interscholastic League celebrates 30 years of Lincoln-Douglas Debate as a sponsored event, Elizabeth Warren will represent Athens High School as she looks to bring home the state championship.

“I'm really excited about qualifying for state. Mostly, I feel as if the hard work that I put into this activity is paying off,” she said. “The weekends of tournaments, staying after school for practices, working in class everyday and going to debate camps every summer definitely contributed to my success.”

Warren took first place in the regional meet, in order to advance to state.

“Our district and region are especially competitive. I had to compete against some really good debaters who I've had to debate against frequently throughout the year,” Warren said. “It was unfortunate that only three could go to state, because I think many debaters in my district and region would have been competitive at the state level as well.”

Warren will compete against some of the best debaters from across the state May 19-21 with the championship round being held Wednesday, May 21 at the University of Texas at Austin.

The topic for this year's LD Debate season has been, “RESOLVED: The influence of the media is detrimental to the American political process.”

While Warren has completed at state-level events in non-UIL competition, this is her first dance on the UIL stage in Austin.

“I had the opportunity to travel to UIL state my freshman year. I did not qualify that year, but I was able to watch rounds, and learn from the more experienced debaters,” she said. “This year, I qualified to the Texas Forensic Association state tournament in LD, but that is a very different style of LD, compared to UIL.  So this is my first time to qualify for UIL state.”

When Warren began her high school career in the speech and debate department, she started in cross examination, a 2-person event.

“I actually started in cross examination debate, but I didn't have a partner, so I decided to switch. Additionally, LD is more of philosophy-based debate. It requires more of an analytic approach, instead of using mostly evidence like in CX. Once I started LD, I realized that I preferred this approach to debate, and that it was the right style for me,” she said.

With the support of teammates and her coaches, Warren has performed well throughout the season, and hopes to cap off a strong year with a top finish in Austin.

“I'm very thankful for my coaches. Nicole Cornish and Jordan Innerarity have helped so much throughout my debate career. I would not have been successful without their willingness to stay after school every day, help me individually, and drive the team to tournaments every weekend,” she said. “They both reviewed my cases whenever I needed them to, and helped me prepare for tournaments. Unfortunately, I see a lot of schools and debaters who don't have good coaches who do these things for their students, so I am very grateful.”

Innerarity credits Warren’s work ethic as the reason she has found success this season.

“I am very excited that Elizabeth advanced to state. She is such an amazing and hard working student and I am  happy that her hard working is paying off.  Elizabeth has been debating for four years to reach this level.”

By advancing to state Warren becomes one of the top 12 LD students in the state in Class 3A.

“She has reached a level of success that many debate students dream of and few actually reach,” Innerarity said. “Elizabeth is also not just a specialist. She is multifaceted in her talents. She is her class’s valedictorian, an officer of multiple different organizations, and a talented pianist. There is no area of her life where she isn't reaching a high level of success.”

In nine LD events this season, she placed first five times and second four times.

“Working with Elizabeth has been a privilege. She is open to critiques and she quickly fixes any issues that she and I find,” Innerarity said. “Having a student who is truly ‘coachable’ make my job so much easier.”

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