2019 Colorado State Speech and Debate Tournament

Molly Houser

As if attending a Speech and Debate tournament was not time-consuming enough, the Vista Speech and Debate team hosted the 2019 Colorado State Speech and Debate Tournament over spring break. The competition lasted two days but took hours of preparation and planning. Junior Julia Klug, along with her family, volunteered to help run the tournament and make the food provided to the judges who dedicated their time to helping the Speech and Debate community.

“If I had to describe the tournament in one word, it would be successful,” Klug said. “Running the tournament was fun and it was great to see my teammates compete, but [the day after] I definitely felt the exhaustion. There were a lot of stressful times, but we always managed to preserve. We all learned a lot about communication.”

In addition to hosting, Vista had ten students compete at the State tournament. 

“State was kind of hectic but more than anything a unique experience. Being my first year doing Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD), it’s a privilege to get to go against and meet all these competitors with much more experience, who all were really kind,” sophomore Rhea Skariah said. “I gained an appreciation for different styles of debate and probably will implement some tactics into my own cases next year. Even though I didn’t make it to the second day, because it was at Vista, I got to run around and help out. Most of all, I’m extremely proud of and thankful for all my teammates.”

Seven students advanced to the second day of competing. There, competitors engaged in the difficult rounds that determined who advanced to finals. For debate events, students had to win the round in both octafinals and semi-finals to advance to the final round. Two teams competed in Public-Forum debate, both advancing to octafinals, but only one team advancing to semi-finals. Seniors John Statkevicus and Henri Wessels placed fifth in the state.

“My partner and I, (Fairbanks) were not super pleased with how we did as we lost in octafinals,” Bhandari said. “It was a bit disappointing but overall an exciting tournament.”

For speech events, students had to compete and gain high scores in a semi-finals round to advance to the finals round. Junior Cassidy Christian and sophomore Mandira Gowda did not advance to the finals round, but both placed in the tournament. Christian placed 12th in the state in Program Oral Interpretation, and Gowda placed 10th in the state in Poetry Interpretation.

Frankly, states have been pretty stressful but I think it’s a great experience to go through,” Gowda said. “It’s definitely a lot different than most tournaments, you see different competitors from other districts that you haven’t competed against before. It was very surprising.”

Meanwhile, senior Vikki Wong advanced to finals in Original Oratory after receiving the highest scores in all the rounds she competed in. For Wong, this came as a surprise.

“I didn’t do so great this season and didn’t break to finals at all. I was just relieved that the rewrite of my original piece was a risk that paid off. Winning third place in the state was definitely a surprise,” Wong said. “At the moment, I was pretty happy to even be onstage. It’s a high note to end my season on, and I am so thankful for everything this community has brought me. I am so glad that I won something this season. If there was any time to succeed, states would definitely be it.”

Despite the long hours, tireless competition, and stress, the Speech and Debate team hosted an amazing tournament. All of this is credited to the volunteers, parents, judges, and anyone who came to help the tournament, but most importantly, Shannon Vance, the head coach. The team will continue to strive for success in the upcoming season.

Photo courtesy of Shannon Vance