High School Rivals Turned Teammates on Simpson’s Debate Team

by Cait Conner

High School Rivals Turned Teammates on Simpson’s Debate Team

Two Simpson Freshman, Jacy Gomez and Ethan Fredrick, received the title of being the top Public Forum Debate Team in the country during the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament in St.Louis, Missouri.

Both Gomez, from Indianola High School, and Fredrick, from Ankeny High School, have participated in debate all four years of high school.

Gomez had even won a State Championship her senior year of high school.

Though the satire of them being a team in college is one thing, they used to compete against each other in high school.

“Spencer Waugh, our debate coach here at Simpson, is pretty big in the debate community and he found my partner, Jacy Gomez and I,” Fredrick said.

“Ethan and I actually debated in high school, so I knew that he was a really good debater…I was actually pretty excited and thought that we could do really well,” Gomez said. “Our relationship has grown. In high school we were competitors, and I wouldn’t have said we were friends…but now I think we’re pretty good friends, and I feel very comfortable debating with him.”

It was really nice to reach that level of success, but I know it was just because of our teammates and the work that we have done outside, Fredrick says.

“They brought up the top eight people and then named the order that they were in, “Fredrick said. “So we didn’t know going up there…and so going up there I didn’t know what I was going to be, I could of seen any of our other competitors getting the same rank.”

At the end of the day, it’s really an honor being recognized by the society, but I know our competitors are also still really great and not too far off, “Fredrick says.

What determines a good debate is: are we respectful of each other’s argument in each other, Fredrick says.

“I guess that respect comes from knowing that your competitor is another good competitor that really knows their stuff,” Fredrick said. “So it’s really fun to debate people who really know the topic well.”

During a typical debate practice, there is a lot of research on the topic before they go to practice, Fredrick says. When they come to practice, the six or seven of them will throw around ideas and then once or twice they will do practice debates against their teammates on the team.

“Otherwise, almost all of it is just brainstorming ideas and theories,” Fredrick said.

“”It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of practicing,” Gomez said. “I’ve been to camps in the summer, in Boston before my senior year, and just keeping up with current events…being critical of yourself I guess.”

“Generally, before the tournament, we have one practice that’s about the topic and kind of defining what the topic means so we can make research assignments,” Gomez said. “The next practice round is among our own team so that we can actually get some debate practice in regards to arguing about the topic.”

“I was pretty excited when we found out that we were named top in the country…and I know Ethan was too,” Gomez said.

“We both worked really really hard and I was just excited that our hard work paid off,” Gomez said. “It’s a good way to go into next year too.”

Fredrick said Iowa has a pretty big debate community. “All of the competitors that went far this year were freshman…so I see the program starting to be built as we become upper classmen and spend more time with the freshman,” Fredrick said.

“I think it’s really just the beginning of a great program here at Simpson,” Fredrick said.