The Act is in town for now, but they’ll be on the road again before you know it. 

The Ardmore High School speech and debate team attended OSSAA regional qualifying tournaments at Quintin High School and Duncan High School in January, where they won in both the championship and class 5A divisions. Speech and Debate Coach Brian Gunter said the team had another competition this weekend in Tulsa. 

“They very handily won them,” Gunter said. “I was very proud of them.” 

About 17 students qualified for the regional tournament at Quintin. Gunter said while he is proud of the team, fewer students than usual qualified. 

“There’s a finite number of qualifications at each tournament,” Gunter said. “The more you can get, the more qualifications you get to take to the regional tournament. But when you have a team as large as ours, it’s really difficult to get everybody qualified.” 

Teams can only go to eight tournaments a year. 

“It takes every one of those qualifying tournaments,” Gunter said.  

Under those constraints, students that couldn’t make the Quintin tournament attended the Duncan competition the weekend afterward. 

“We were also making up one of the tournaments we had to cut in the fall because of weather,” Gunter said. “About the same number of qualifications (as Quintin) were taken, and they won both divisions.”

Students who qualify will advance to regionals, then state.

“Five different states will be there,” Gunter said.  

Gunter said prepping for so many weekend tournaments back-to-back is unusual, but between the cancelled tournaments and the number of performers in The Act, it’s the only way forward.  

“We’re looking at six weeks without a week off right now,” Gunter said. “Out of eight weeks, for seven of them we’ll be at a tournament. Most people do not do it that way.”