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High school freshmen debate team headed to state tournament in Austin

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
CHINA SPRING, TX (KXXV) -

Two China Spring High School students are competing in a state debate tournament, but they're not your average high school debate team.

What makes this China Spring team so special is that both of its members are freshmen.

Jacob Everett, 15, and Dalton Musel, 14, said they didn't develop a real interest in debate until this school year.

"For this to be a true novice team that's never done it before, I would say it's pretty rare," speech and debate coach Michael Donaldson said.

It's pretty rare for two freshmen to make it to, and compete in, a state debate tournament, Donaldson said.

But that's exactly what Jacob and Dalton will be doing Friday at UIL CX State in Austin.

"Since we worked so hard on this, and after all of this time, we finally get to go to state, and we just really don’t want to mess it up," Dalton said.

No one knows their hard work better than Donaldson.

"When they started the season out, they were a weaker team. I think that we went to our first three tournaments in a row, and we didn’t win a single round," he said.

But then they won the district championship. And now, they have their eyes on the top spot at the state championship.

"I think that they’re going to do pretty well. I say that cautiously optimistically. They’re very young. It’s a freshmen team, so for them to even make the state meet is pretty impressive," Donaldson said.

Even if they don't come home as winners, Jacob said just being there is more than enough.

"It means a lot to me. I think that whenever I get older, I’ll be able to look back on this, and I’ll be like, ‘I made it to state as a freshman doing something that I'd never even known what it was before,'" Jacob said.

Donaldson is hopeful they'll make it past the first few rounds.

"To break into even the top 16 at this tournament is considered a huge honor. And just breaking to the top 16, they automatically qualify for scholarships," he said.

Jacob and Dalton are competing against about 60 others teams from 4A schools across Texas.

Here's a complete list of Central Texas students competing:

  • 4A Conference:
    • China Spring High School: Jacob Everett and Dalton Musel
    • Connally High School: Judith Hernandez and Saphiana Zamora 
  • 5A Conference: 
    • Waco High School: Brigitte Eichenberg, Sophia Swenke, Julian Nicholson, and Sarah Sriram
  • 6A Conference:
    • Midway High School: Edward Kim, Hanxing Kuang, Karissa Cleaver, and Anna Lucas

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