‘A force to be reckoned with’: Speech and debate team members take first, second place in tournament


Photo credit: Bear Allen-Blaine

Holding their debate awards, Noa Wallock ’22, Rachael Azrialy ’21, Kylie Chryss-Connell ’21 and Grace Carter ’20 pose for a photo after competing in a speech tournament at New Roads School. Azrialy and Chryss-Connell tied for first, Wallock won first in her category and Carter got second.

Huddled in a circle, speech and debate team members watch as Administrative Captain Grace Carter (‘20) runs around them chanting “ride that pony.” Carter stops in front of a fellow teammate, who continues the call-and-response chant by saying: “My baby this is how we do it.” By the end of the exercise, everyone is running. This was the scene at the Western Bay Forensics League speech tournament on Oct. 12 at New Roads School. 

The competitors started at 8:00 a.m. Three rounds and “tons of coffee” later, Carter left with a second-place plaque in Original Oratory while Kylie Chryss-Connell (‘21) and Rachael Azrialy (‘21) tied for first in Dramatic Interpretation and Noa Wallock (’22) got first in Humorous Interpretation

“I’m really proud of my teammates for getting first, and of course second is nothing to be upset about,” Carter said. “I’m just glad that Archer is starting to make a name for themselves in the Speech and Debate world. We are a force to be reckoned with.” 

Coach Bear Allen-Blaine has made the team more “successful” at tournaments since she started as Archer’s coach in 2017, according to debate captain Jessica Tuchin (’21). Last year, the team didn’t start competing until November and this year, its first tournament was in September. 

“We definitely hit the ground running,” Carter said. “So we’re already ahead of the game.” 

In August, however, they had a two-day debate “boot camp” at which they researched topics and pieces they could use to compete. For interpretive events, team members shorten or “cut” books or monologues to act out, while, for original events, they write their own materials. 

“I’m just glad that Archer is starting to make a name for themselves in the speech and debate world, and we are a force to be reckoned with.

— Grace Carter

“I’m excited to go to more tournaments,” Azrialy said, “and hopefully more competitive tournaments so we can get better by competing against people who had a lot of practice in speech and debate.”

Carter said the team is growing and getting stronger.

“We’re hoping that by the time state qualifiers rolls around, we will be ready to take the competition by storm,” Carter said. 

Tuchin is “ready” for this upcoming year and thinks the team’s performance thus far is “incredible.” 

“I’m really excited for this year, and we’ve already started off very successful,” Tuchin said. “I can’t wait to see what else our team can accomplish.”