Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

March 13, 2014

The best

Athens wins first CX state championship

Athens — After rolling through regular season competition with ease, Meridith McDonald and Madalyn Mikkelsen capped off an amazing year by winning the Class 3A University Interscholastic League State Championship Tuesday in Cross Examination Debate.

It is the first state championship in cross-examination for Athens ISD.

“There is no secret to the success that the Athens debate team has experienced,” Mikkelsen said. “Meridith and I have both spent more than seven weeks at debate camps through our high school careers. We stay after school to practice and we have made sacrifices to get to this point. Those sacrifices just happened to pay off this weekend.”

Debating in the Texas State Capitol in Austin, the dynamic duo faced stiff competition in eight grueling rounds Monday and Tuesday. They finished with sevens wins and one loss.

“Overall, the competition was a great experience,” McDonald said. “While it took eight long rounds to achieve a state championship, it was definitely worth it. It was incredibly exhausting but so exciting. The competitors were all very talented individuals.”

Class 3A silver medalists were Kay Edwards and Kelsey Preston from Paris North Lamar. Third place was split between Wimberly and Chapel Hill High Schools.

“It was such an honor to win state, and I am so happy I had the opportunity to represent Athens,” McDonald said. “It was a great way to end my last year of debate, and our hard work has really paid off. I could not have done it without my coach, my former coaches and teammates.”

Led by coach Jordan Innerarity, Athens ISD also had the top speaker in cross examination as Brock Estep took home the honor along with a gold gavel.

“I was very surprised when I won the award, because of all the other great debaters at the tournament including those from my own team,” Estep said. “I believe that the tournament was a great experience for all four of us and I’m so proud of Maddie an Meridith for winning. My partner Lauren Green definitely played a major role in me getting the award, I wouldn’t have been able to make it that far without her.”

Kimberly Ortleb of Melissa High earned the silver gavel in Class 3A while Crandall, Wimberley and Big Spring rounded out the top five.

Athens competed against schools from Van, Canton, Mabank, Brownsboro and Mineola in the UIL   cross-examination district tournament to punch its ticket to state.

Estep and Green claimed first place in district while Mikklesen and McDonald took second.

Third place in district, earning state alternate status, were Skyler Walker and Patrick Moore.

Considered a Texas tradition, the UIL begin in 1910 as the Debating League of Texas High Schools. Since its merger with the Texas Interscholastic Athletic Association in 1912, the league has continued to have active participation in debate.

The topic for the 104th annual cross-examination debate was, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic engagement toward Cuba, Mexico or Venezuela.”

Mikkelsen totaled the amount of time spent preparing for the debates this year as part of a college application. She was shocked by the results.

“I added up weekly hours throughout the school year for a college application and came to an approximation of 55 hours per week,” she said. “I am so excited to have won. This is something that I decided I was going to do my freshman year, and it feels great to have followed through.”

In all, there were 110 students who qualified for the state tournament in Class 3A. Athens was one of several schools with two teams in the competition.

“Meridith and Madalyn have dedicated hundreds, if not thousands of hours of practice and work to come home with this amazing victory,” Innerarity said. “Not only is this a first for Athens, but Madalyn and Meridith are one of few teams to win the tournament who are both female. The world of debate is very dominated by males and for them to walk away as a team of two women means that they were on the top of their game. There was also another first because the final round, both teams were comprised of only women. Both teams should be proud of making it to the finals and for breaking down these barriers.”

While the success at the state tournament was nice, Innerarity said both teams are quickly turning their attention to the national tournament in June.

“Words can hardly describe the joy that they and the entire team felt with this victory. As their coach, it has been an honor to work with these extremely dedicated students,” he said. “We are now turning our focus towards the National Forensics Leagues’ national tournament held in Kansas City, Kansas in June.”


Text Only
Local News
  • (Left to right back row) Elizabeth Coats, Bailey Ficco, Emma Shepherd, (front row) Mary Ficco, Emma Routh.jpg Girls from LaRue shave their heads to make a difference

    The statistics are alarming. More children are lost to cancer in the United States than any other disease. Before they turn 20, about one in 285 children in the U.S. will have cancer. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three seconds.
    Four girls from LaRue have taken a stand against these numbers, and have shaved for the brave.
    Bailey Ficco, Mary Ficco, Elizabeth Coats and Emma Shepherd headed to Boston on Saturday, July 27 for an event to help raise money for cancer research. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Tracks lead to alleged thieves of TVEC property

    According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, it was at 12:12 a.m., July 30, that the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an alarm at the newly-constructed Trinity Valley Electric Substation located off Farm-to-Market 2329 near Eustace.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Alzheimer’s forum to teach about disease

    The fact is over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association says “every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”
    Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly, and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Give-and-take session to discuss problem of underage drinking

    The East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Henderson County Coalition Partnership invites local citizens to take part, Monday, in a give-and-take session on the problem of underage drinking.
    The meeting will be held at the Cain Center in the Cain Room, begins at 5:30 p.m. and is expected to last about an hour. Local officials have been scheduled to take part in discussing the problems regarding alcohol. It’s a concern that affects all parts of the county.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif July proves cooler in 2014

    July is gone, and the weather is leaving a much more favorable impression than its usual swelter.
    The National Weather Service reports the cool front that came through the area on the last day of July, brought more showers to the area, and held the highs in the low 80s. The weekend forecast calls for temperatures to remain several degrees below normal through Sunday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AMWA to meet Wednesday

    An Athens Municipal Water Authority project that was moved off the front burner when its dispute with the City of Athens heated up is scheduled for discussion when AMWA meets Wednesday.
    The AMWA board of directors is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. in the Athens City Council chambers, located in the City Hall Annex on Pinkerton Street. On the agenda is to discuss and act upon proceeding with long-range plans to create AMWA offices and meeting facilities.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif A look at the practicalities of AISD’s 2015 campus realignment

    Athens ISD board members’ approval of the proposed campus realignment comes one full year in advance of the decision’s effective date. The timing gives the public as well as district staff and administration opportunity to adjust and prepare for the change.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-1 Athens Rotary.JPG Hirsch speaks at Athens Rotary Thursday

    Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch spoke at the Athens Rotary Club weekly meeting on Thursday. Hirsch said unlike 2013, this year is a great year to grow anything. He also commented it was a good year to be in the cow business. Welcoming Hirsch to the Rotary Club are Rotary President Kelly Driskell and Rotarian John Trent.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0005.JPG Hydrating first responders

    First responders were invited Wednesday to the Athens Brookshire’s grocery to celebrate a promotion formulated by the store.  When customers purchase five 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade, they will receive 200 points. Customers are encouraged to donate the Gatorade to first responders. The promotion will last one month. Shown, from left, are Brookshire’s Store Manager Charles Beasley, Athens Police Department Patrolman Wesley Hoover, APD Cpl. Billy Westover, APD Assistant Chief Rodney Williams, APD Lt. Jeremy Hugghins, APD Patrolman Taylor Chancellor, APD Sgt. Eddie Smith, APD Chief Buddy Hill, Athens Fire Department Firefighter Brian Davis, AFD Firefighter Aaron Munn and AFD Firefighter Payton Lambe.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif HC fine-tuning application to get CETZ funds

    It’s been three months since Henderson County got word that money has been allocated from the Texas Department of Transportation in the form of a County Energy Transportation Zone grant, but Commissioners Court is still fine-tuning its application to get the funds.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates