At Wayzata High School in Plymouth, seniors Tiffany Haas and Kate Gehling are well-rounded students.
"I'm currently the student body vice president, I've been in student council since freshman year, I am in the string orchestra," Haas said.
"I'm in link crew, which helps orient freshman each year, I tutor some students after school, and I'm also pretty involved in my church," Gehling said.
But get these two into debate class, and your mind better be ready to keep up when they go about arguing their points.
"Each speech only has a set amount of time," Haas said, after speaking at a rapid-fire pace. "So you want to get as many arguments out as possible, and there's a stronger chance your opponent doesn't hear one of the arguments if you're talking quicker. It's kind of a sneaky trick."
"And so we do lots of practice debates and practice speeches each week," Gehling said.
They've become so good at their craft that Haas and Gehling are currently the No. 1 ranked debate team in the entire nation.
"It's like so surreal that we managed to do it, we're winning tournaments, making it to final rounds of tournaments," Haas said.
"I think it's really exciting because of the hard work that it takes," Gehling said.
Hard work that requires hours of research and practice.
"It takes a lot more work than the other activities I'm in," Haas said. "And it's also more rewarding."
"I've always enjoyed writing, research, and the academia behind it," Gehling said.
Their debate coach calls them an asset for reasons beyond their individual success.
"They often are judging debates for some of our younger debaters," said Sheila Peterson, Wayzata's debate director. "They're doing research that helps the entire team, so they provide a lot of leadership and input."
Both say they're considering future careers in law.
"The sky's the limit in terms of their abilities as professionals and leaders in the community," Peterson said.
"I guess I could be an auctioneer in the future if I really wanted to," Haas joked. "It's always something to fall back on."
Haas and Gehling have already qualified for the national championship for debate. That competition takes place in April in Kentucky.
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