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 Carrollton debate powerhouse wins 14th state title

Eight Carrollton High School students competed in the Georgia Forensics Coaches Association state competition Saturday and brought home the championship trophy, marking the fourth consecutive state championship for the program. 

The Carrollton High School debate team captured its 14th state championship Saturday. Pictured from left are Lyndsey Oliver (assistant coach), Kieran Kelly, Drew Johnson, Zooey Bush, Eden Long, Audrey Browning, James Houser, Luke Zimmer, Tee Hawkins, and Richard Bracknell (head coach).

CHS debate coach Richard Bracknell emphasized to his team that great achievements begin with a journey and encouraged them not to overlook the joy of the process.

“The message I have given these students is that hard work and preparation are absolutely necessary if one intends on being successful — however, a debate round or tournament doesn’t define who they are,” said Bracknell. “I’m so proud of them and thankful for the ride.”

Bracknell is well-acquainted with securing victories in debate championships. The program has the second-most state championships in the school’s history, only exceeded by boys track. Saturday’s victory marks the 14th state championship title for the CHS debate team.

CHS debate assistant coach Lyndsey Oliver said she’s proud of what the team accomplished this year.

The group of students who represented CHS at the state championship have worked tirelessly in pursuit of a fourth consecutive state title,” said Oliver. “We're proud of what they accomplished — four consecutive state titles is incredible — but truly, I'm more proud of the work ethic, willingness to learn, and integrity that they demonstrate every day, whether that's in a championship round or their classes at school.”

Principal Ian Lyle said he is proud of the team’s accomplishment.

"Their achievements were a result of perseverance, intelligence, and an exceptional competitive spirit," remarked Lyle. "I am proud of all of them and am grateful for the guidance given by Coach Bracknell and Coach Oliver, which will undoubtedly shape these students not only in debate but also in life."

CHS DEBATE’S HISTORICAL RECORD: Carrollton’s debate program not only shines in the academic world, but also stands out among all competitive entities at CHS, boasting the second highest number of state championships earned in the school’s history, surpassed only by boys track. The team has been crowned state champion 14 times – in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. The team was the state runner-up champion seven times – in 1986, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. The team also has captured numerous region titles and tournament wins.