BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The South Range speech and debate team is heading to nationals, so we talked to them about their accomplishments before they hit the road Sunday morning.

Four coaches and eight kids are attending, including two seniors, out of the 19-person team.

“They’ll compete against thousands of kids from across the United States,” said head coach Nicole Fryfogle.

This is team president Zander Hull’s third time competing in nationals, but his first time competing in person because of COVID-19.

“I think I’m just really excited this year to be in person. We had to jump through a lot of hoops to be in person, so it’s good that it’s in person this year,” Hull said.

South Range speech and debate team

Hull is competing in the World Schools debate against international students.

The team starts their practice in September every year.

“It’s a lot of great kids. We do great things here and we work hard all year round, and to get rewarded with this is pretty amazing,” Hull said.

Phillip Naples has been in speech and debate for all four years of high school and is a three-time national qualifier. He says his favorite thing about being on the team is forming a close bond with the other members and mentoring the younger kids.

“You make friendships over speech and debate. We have a heck of a team coming next year. There’s a few of us graduating, unfortunately, but this team is going to keep growing stronger and stronger,” Naples said.

One of those students is incoming high school freshmen Quincy Bailey, who is in the top six in the nation in her speech and debate category. She just competed in the middle school national tournament and is looking forward to joining the high school team.

“Definitely working closer with all my high school teammates and getting to know them better,” Bailey said.

“To take this many talented kids is wonderful for our program,” Fryfogle said.

The team will spend six days in Louisville, Kentucky at the competition.