Pace Debate has had a successful season so far this year on both the varsity and novice levels. Various Pace teams have debated almost every weekend, traveling to cities all over the country, including Chicago, Lexington and Las Vegas.

The year began with a nationwide tournament, the Season Opener at the University of Kentucky, where partners junior Will Cannaday and sophomore Stephen Yang made it to the semifinals. Sophomores Aalia Mirza and Kaitlyn Goldberg also competed, as well as sophomore Megan Klingler and senior Kabir Singh, and freshmen Zaki George and Arnav Maddineni.

Pace Debate competes in Lexington, Kentucky for the Season Opener. (Photo: Megan Klingler)

Additionally, Cannaday and Yang made it to the quarter-finals at the Meadows Invitational in Las Vegas, and Singh and Klingler made it to the octo-finals.

Pace has also debated at local tournaments, including the Marist and the Peach State Classic tournaments. Additionally, Pace continues successfully on the novice level, including sophomore Abigail Richman getting the top speaker at the John’s Creek Tournament.

Pace has a long history of success in debate and was long known as a debate powerhouse. Established in 1971, Pace Debate has since won 37 state championships and three national championships in 2002, 2013 and 2015.

However, readers may be surprised to learn that for six years up until now, it has been less competitive. Pace Debate stopped winning state championships, and even took the banner listing victories down from where it was hanging from the track in Inman.

But new debate coach and public speaking teacher Mr. Eric Forslund has been working to reverse that. Mr. Forslund explained some of the problems were that there were fewer middle school students participating in debate as well as a decrease in enthusiasm.

However, recently, Mr. Forslund says Pace “has been lucky enough to get a new coach in middle school, Whit Whitmore” who’s been increasing interest in the activity. Since then, Pace Debate has had great retention. 

Pace Academy still has a very young team, mostly comprised of freshmen and sophomores, but things look hopeful for Pace Debate in the future. This year, Mr. Forslund simply wants to keep people in debate and interested. But in the coming years, he hopes “we’re competing for national championships.”

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