On Thursday, recent North Lamar graduates Zach Huffman and Garrett Holzwarth ended their careers as competitors in the University Interscholastic League by shattering school records for gold medals earned in a single year.
Holzwarth brought home the state championship in Persuasive Speaking, while Huffman matched his policy debate partner with a championship in Informative Speaking. The North Lamar team also brought home the state team championship. With these wins, North Lamar has earned five UIL State Championships for 2018-19 in speech and debate.
The University of Texas was host for the state contest. Students qualify for the state tournament by placing in the top three at the regional contests. Only twelve students across the state qualify for the state tournament, who compete in a preliminary round. The top six advanced to the final round. In Extemporaneous Informative and Persuasive Speaking, students receive their topic and then spend 30 minutes using newspaper articles they have filed electronically to prepare their seven-minute speech, which they deliver without notes.
In finals, Holzwarth addressed the question “Is a military clash between the United States and Iran becoming a strong possibility?”
Huffman answered the question “Why is the Pentagon advocating sending more troops to the Middle East?”
The wins for Holzwarth and Huffman mark the end of a legendary career and partnership for the two young men. Together, the two won the CX Debate championship in March. Two-time Informative Speaking Champion Huffman holds four state championships after successfully defending his 2018 championship in Informative Speaking; he also won Student Congress in 2019. This was Huffman’s ninth trip to a state UIL speech tournament; he holds eight top-six ranks.
The Speech Team State Championship is earned by accumulating the most points over the seven speech and debate events, including CX Debate, LD Debate, Informative and Persuasive Speaking, Prose and Poetry Interpretation and Student Congress. North Lamar dominated the 4A events; the 83 points earned by North Lamar eclipsed the silver medalist team from Little Cypress Mauriceville who earned 43 points.
With the combined success of the Speech and Debate Team, One Act Play and Literary Criticism Team at the state tournaments, North Lamar’s UIL Academic Team ranks fourth in the state.
Kristi Hodgkiss coaches North Lamar’s Speech and Debate Team. She has coached 20 state champions since 1993. The UIL Academic Coordinator is Dennis Hodgkiss. North Lamar’s One Act Play director is Cody Head and Literary Criticism coach is Linda Winfrey.