South Debate team on a roll


Lizzie Allen, Staff Writer

Debate is not a widely talked about team at South, but perhaps it should be. 

The weekend of January 25th, one of South’s debate duos, Katrina Brown and Darby Fitzsimmons, claimed first place in their event, Public Forum, at the Indiana state debate competition.

“It was really exciting because we are not only the first team from South to ever win a state championship… but we were also the first female-female team in quite a while to win Indiana PF championships,” said Fitzsimmons. 

The Public Forum event is made up of two sides debating the positive and negative sides to an issue. In this case, U.S. economic sanctions on Venezuela. The team is informed of their topic of debate roughly a month in advance of their competition, so they must work extremely hard to prepare.

“I had been working on researching Venezuela for the past month and a half,” said Brown. “It’s tons and tons of background research.”

“The week before state, Katrina and I were staying up until midnight prepping,” added Fitzsimmons.

Head coach Lauren Mark knows the effort that Brown and Fitzsimmons put in before they compete, and appreciates what they’ve done with that effort.

“It was a really great feeling to know how much work that they put into it, and then to see that work pay off … it was a good feeling.”

Mark, in her first year as the debate head coach, splits her time coaching between the three different events South participates in. But Brown and Fitzsimmons are a slight exception.

“With people like Katrina and Darby, they put in so much work they don’t need that much coaching from me, they’re already top notch,” said Mark. 

However, she is quick to acknowledge the rest of the team, such as senior captain Ron Underwood.

“He placed fifth in the state, which was incredible, especially because he was trying his event for the first time this season,” said Mark of Underwood.

Next weekend, the South team takes on Districts, which provides them with the opportunity to qualify for nationals. Last year, the team had multiple qualifiers for nationals, and they hope to repeat their success this year.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Brown.

Her coach feels the same.

“I’m kind of nervous about it, because districts is what determines who can go to nationals… but ultimately I think it’ll go well,” said Mark.