Analy High School's Gordon Allen is not usually at a loss for words.
The prize-winning debater recently took seventh place in the National Forensic League annual tournament in Kansas City, beating out 221 award-winning debaters from across the country.
But when asked why he participates on the school debate team, Allen, who will be a senior at Analy in the fall, takes an atypical pause.
"I guess, first and foremost, I do debate because I'm good at it. It's not to be boastful, but it's just what makes sense to me -- people enjoy what they are good at," he said.
Allen, 17 and a stellar student, is good at it because it piques his intellectual curiosity.
"I do debate because it allows me to express myself and make discussions of the type that are generally not made in conversation," he said. "It allows me to really engage a claim and a person on a level that no other activity does."
A competitive debater since his freshman year at Analy, Allen has excelled in the discipline as few others have, according to his coach, Lynette Williamson.
He was the only student from the North Bay to earn a spot in the national competition.
"He is very adaptable," she said of his debating style. "He has his preferences, but he realizes that the world demands that you adapt to your audience."
Allen excels in the Lincoln-Douglas category of debate and typically spends hours studying sometimes arcane academic journals, formulating arguments and counter-arguments for esoteric questions of philosophy and reason.