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The Falcon Fiesta

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General information

This is a High School tournament in Colorado.

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You are cordially invited to participate in the 1st  Annual Falcon Fiesta Speech and Debate Tournament hosted ONLINE by Highlands Ranch High School on SpeechWire and NSDA Campus (with Zoom used for live Extemp draw) on January 22, 2022.


Events:  The following events will be offered: CX Debate*, JV CX Debate*, LD Debate, Public Forum Debate, National Extemp, International Extemp, Drama, Humor, Poetry, Duo, Original Oratory, Informative, and POI.  Three rounds and finals will be held in all events.
* Depending on the number of entries, we may combine the JV CX and CX pools.  If this looks like it will happen, I will email all coaches with JV CX and CX entries for input on how we will handle JV case limits.


  • Synchronous Live Events: Varsity Cross-Examination Debate, JV Cross-Examination Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Public Forum Debate, National Extemporaneous Speaking, International Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Asynchronous Recorded Events: Drama, Duo, Humor, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Original Oratory, Informative

    • For asynchronous recorded events, each competitor must record their performance and coaches must submit URL links to the recordings on SpeechWire. Recordings must be submitted by providing a recording URL link in SpeechWire by Thursday, January 20 at 3pm. The URL must be a link that can be opened by anyone who clicks on the link--please check sharing settings as you submit your links!

Entries: A maximum of five (5) entries per school will be allowed in each event. Additional entries can be placed on the waitlist and we will accommodate those entries if space is available.


Registration: All registration will occur at www.speechwire.com. Pre-registration will close at 5 PM on Wednesday, January 19th, or earlier if the tournament fills. Registrations are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.  As always, we would appreciate knowing of any drops in advance of the tournament, in order to help with the scheduling of rounds and ordering of NSDA Campus rooms.


General Rules:

  • Each school (administration, teachers, and/or coaches) is responsible for ensuring they have proper parental permission for students to participate in an online tournament and to use the designated competition platforms.

  • A responsible coach must be available ONLINE or VIA CELL at all times.

  • Competition is open to 9-12 grade students representing the school in which they are officially enrolled and doing so with the permission of their school administration and/or coaches.

  • We will use CHSAA rules in all events. 

  • Competitors double-entered in OO and Informative cannot perform the same speech in both events.


ONLINE Rules or NEW Rules this Year: 

  • Please review the attached virtual rules for additional information and rules regarding tech, the digital platform, recording, extemp draw, debate, and evidence sharing.

  • For asynchronous recorded events, each competitor must record their performance. Recordings must be submitted by providing a URL link to the recording in Speechwire by Thursday, January 20th at 3pm.

  • Only competitors and judges will be allowed in competition rooms; additional observers will not be allowed in rounds for student online privacy reasons.

  • Teams will have a team room available in Campus/Speechwire for gathering between rounds.

  • All competitors and judges must have a speechwire account to log in.


Rules for Double Entry:

  • Students may double-enter by entering 1 synchronous event and 1 asynchronous event. Students cannot enter 3 asynchronous events.

  • Students in synchronous events cannot double-enter in another synchronous event.


Debate Topics:
We will use all current January NSDA topics in each of the debates:

  • CX:  Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its protection of water resources in the United States.

  • PF:Resolved: The United States federal government should legalize all illicit drugs.

  • LD:  Resolved: The appropriation of outer space by private entities is unjust.


JV/Varsity CX Rules:
Please note: Depending on the number of entries, we may combine the JV CX and CX pools.  If this looks like it will happen, I will email all coaches with JV CX and CX entries for input on how we will handle JV case limits.

  • Varsity CX Debate is open to all CX debate teams.

  • JV CX debate is limited to freshman and sophomore CX debaters or students in their first year of competition.

  • In JV CX, no kritiks or counterplans are allowed.

  • In JV CX, we will employ the NFHS Novice case limits, meaning that all teams should limit themselves to these case areas:

    • Substantially strengthen federal surveillance and standards for lead in drinking water.

    • Substantially limit the use of hydraulic fracturing by energy companies in the United States.

    • Substantially strengthen federal standards for agriculture-related runoff into lakes and streams.

    • Substantially increase the protection of wetlands in the United States.


Fees and Payment: The entry fee will be $9.00 per student in events—$18 per team (PF, CX, JVCX, Duo) based upon the pre-registration numbers on Wednesday, January 19th. Changes in pre-registration will be reflected in the final entry fees if made via the web site by 5 PM on January 19. After that time, net increases in entries will result in increases in final entry fees, while net decreases in entries will not reduce your final entry fees.

Please make checks payable to Highlands Ranch High School Speech and Debate Team and mail payment to:

Attn.: Katie Zook

Highlands Ranch High School

9375 Cresthill Lane

Highlands Ranch , CO. 80130


Inclusion & Equity Statement: At Highlands Ranch Speech & Debate Tournaments, we embrace and support the mission of our school district, the vision of our school, the CHSAA Speech and Debate Inclusion Statement, and the NSDA Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Please review additional information on these statements here.

The Highlands Ranch Speech & Debate program is committed to further developing equity, diversity, and inclusion in this activity. To that end, we have tried to remove some of the economic barriers that prevent teams from competing at tournaments, as well as taking steps to provide a more inclusive competition environment. Below are recent steps we have taken to increase access and affordability, as well as inclusiveness:

  • Any school with a Free or Reduced Lunch rate of 60% or more is entitled to a discount on their entry fees. Please email us directly to receive the discount. 

  • Diverse panels of judges for outrounds. 

  • An implicit bias judge virtual training required for all judges before ballots are released to them.

  • We will be implementing the practice of having Equity Officer(s) available to help address concerns throughout the tournament.


Judging:  In a virtual environment, this year we are requiring that each school provide enough judges to cover their entries. Judges must be available for the three preliminary rounds and the final round--though you can divide judging requirements over two people based on availability. One judge must be provided for every two debate entries (since we aren’t constrained by physical space this year--and in the interest of minimizing screen time for our community as much as possible--our goal is to single flight debate, hence requiring one debate judge for every two debate entries). One judge must be provided for every 5 events entries. 

Judges must be entered in Speechwire by Wednesday, January 19th. Judges are responsible for checking for ballots at the appropriate times. Judge fees will be imposed for missing judges and for judges who miss ballots. 

  • AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Given the requirements from my bookkeeper that I collect W-9s from each judge who wants to be paid and concerns about securely collecting and storing that personal information in a digital environment, we will not be paying judges, hence the decreased entry fees for the tournament this year. In the event that hired judges are needed, a judge fee will be collected from team's that did not fulfill their judging requirements and will be utilized to pay judges hired by the tournament.


Awards: We will be awarding trophies or medals to all finalists. Additionally, numerous superior and excellent ribbons will be awarded.


Final Registration:  A link to a “on-site” check-in Zoom will be sent to coaches leading into the tournament.  Final registration for Saturday will be from 8:00 to 8:15 AM, with rounds beginning at 9:00 AM. Please plan to arrive at registration early. Schools not registered by 8:30 AM may be dropped from the tournament. If you are running late, please call 720-936-3634 so we can finalize the first rounds as quickly as possible.  Awards are scheduled for 5:30 PM or sooner.



Location: The tournament will be held online via SpeechWire and NSDA campus



8:00am- Registration/ Check in

8:45am- Coaches/ Judge meeting

9:00- Round 1 & Draw

9:30- IX/NX speak

11:00- Round 2/ Draw 

11:30- IX/NX speak

1:00- Round 3/ Prep

1:30- IX/NX speak

3:00- Finals LD/PF/CX/ IX/NX Draw 

3:15- all other finals 

4:45- Awards


Questions, Comments, Ideas:  Please feel free to contact Katie Zook at Highlands Ranch High School at 720-936-3634 (cell), or kmzook@dcsdk12.org


We look forward to hosting this tournament and hope you will be able to join us!




Katie Zook

Social Studies Teacher

Speech & Debate-Head Coach

Highlands Ranch High School


Manager contact information

Katie Zook
Email address: kmzook@dcsdk12.org
Phone number:

Mailing address

Highlands Ranch, CO

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