YOUNGSTOWN There's no debate: They're into speech

The regional finalists will go on to a national tournament in North Carolina.
YOUNGSTOWN -- As a sophomore at Howland High School, Ric Diaz was not particularly interested in Lincoln-Douglas debate.
However, he was interested in Lexi Moore.
"I did want to spend time with Lexi and the debate practices go on for five hours at a time," Ric said. "I figured we would have time to talk."
Ric and Lexi, now sweethearts and high school seniors, triumphed against debaters from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties this weekend to win the right to represent the region at the National Forensic League's national finals in Charlotte, N.C., this summer.
Second year in row: This is the second consecutive year that the top two spots at the regional qualifying tournament at Ursuline High School in Youngstown have been claimed by Howland debaters.
In Lincoln-Douglas debate, students must argue both sides of an abstract issue, such as the relative benefits of tyranny and anarchy, or the merits of capital punishment.
"It is philosophical, and it is not just shooting facts back and forth," said Lexi, who took half the season off from Lincoln-Douglas to compete in a different category, presenting an original speech in favor of kindness.
She said she didn't know what to expect at the qualifying tournament Friday and Saturday.
"I was nervous the whole time," she said. "I thought I could win, but I didn't know how it would work out."
Ric on the other hand, had a good idea how the tournament might go for him.
Qualified for nationals: He qualified for nationals last year and this year took home trophies from all but the first two local tournaments.
Both say they see philosophy in their future.
Ric has accepted a scholarship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Lexi does not know where she will go to college, but says she dreams of becoming a professor.

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