Like many other projects that involve human beings -- debate has its own drama...
Today most of the debaters will end NPTE careers -- many of them have qualified at least three years and a few qualified all four. This is a tournament they've wanted to win -- that has been on their 'goal' list for a long time. Today, it will be over for many of them.
Today is the first of two 'elimination' days --- the first round of the morning, everyone debates one more time. Then we go into the elimination round phase.... Round 6 is often where some teams try innovations -- if they're mathematically eliminated. Other teams do fun stuff because they're safe -- and their opponents are as well. It's the most dramatic for those in the middle. The ones who need one or two ballots to advance. The first round of the morning could end their tournament or mean they get to keep debating.
In the elimination rounds, the pressure increases. We do a 'double elimination' round tournament all the way to finals. That means you need to lose twice to be eliminated -- so, the drama begins in elim 2 -- where the teams who lost the last round (50% of the field) try not to lose again.
As debaters are eliminated -- generally they sulk a bit... have a private fit -- and then they join the crowd of spectators and cheer on their friends, help with prep and otherwise be supportive -- or, they go drink.