Speech and Debate team earns accolades at Congress Qualifier Tournament

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Photo courtesy of Watchtower Yearbook

Alya Mehrtash staff writer

Four members of the Speech and Debate team walked away with medals from the Western Bay Forensics League (WBFL) Congress Qualifier Tournament on Feb. 1. The tournament was the first of three in the Congress League for the remainder of the 2019-2020 debate season. 

Junior Nathaniel Gamboa, freshman Nick Adesina and co-captain senior Diane Jeong all earned bronze, and sophomore Scarlett Topilow earned silver.

After receiving the docket which states the topics of debate, the team began preparing for the tournament by discussing potential strategies, writing speeches and practicing mock questioning and debating.

“I think that these preparations definitely helped us go into our rounds more aware of the types of arguments we would present and argue against,” Jeong said. “Although there’s always nervousness that comes with public speaking, preparation definitely helps with that.”

The team ran into an obstacle when they realized they didn’t have enough speeches prepared for all nine competing members when they arrived at the tournament. For senior Justin Wolfe, however, their practice prior to the event gave him the ability to improvise.

“The preparation with the speech writing is usually really, really helpful,” he said. “The preparations we had done beforehand allowed me to quickly run through everything and be able to create a list of bullets that could help me write my own impromptu speech.”

Aside from the team’s preparation, Jeong also acknowledged their team chemistry as a factor in their success.

“Our preparation and teamwork leading up to the tournament was a great sign of progress from the last tournament we had. I think that’s really important as well because our work ethic as teammates is improving,” she said.

Jeong hopes that the team will “start preparing earlier to focus our delivery, tone and overall speaking presence,” as those were all necessary areas of improvement for judges.

The Speech and Debate team’s next competition will be the Cal Lutheran University Invitational on Feb. 15-16.

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