Butler, SHS debate team shine

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2008

The debate team at Southampton High School reached a new milestone Friday night at Warhill High School in Williamsburg. Sophomore Kelsey Butler became the first debater in school history to become the Bay Rivers District champion.

Her road to the championship began with victories in the first two rounds over opponents from Grafton and Lafayette. In Round 3, Kelsey scored an upset victory over Poquoson’s Michael Freeman, who was considered the top-ranked debater in the tournament.

During the championship round, Kelsey won over two of the three judges, which gave her the win over Tabb’s Josh Aupperle.

Adding to the team’s success were sophomores John Clifton and Erin Spivey.

Clifton knocked off opponents from York and Poquoson while Spivey scored a big win over an opponent from Tabb.

Clifton was also the only debater in the entire tournament to receive a perfect score of 50 during one of his debates. Together, Butler, Clifton and Spivey helped Southampton capture the second-place team trophy.

&uot;It has been truly amazing watching the three of them grow into extraordinary competitors in such a short time,&uot; said SHS Coach Todd Kessler. &uot;I have been telling this team all year long that they are the best debaters in our district. Now we have the evidence to prove it.&uot;

Butler will next compete in the regional tournament at King George High School on March 14. She will be considered the top seed.