Aggies take top debating marks
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:02
USU’s Speech and Debate team placed second in the Northwest Forensic Conference Jan. 25-27 in Washington.
“Everyone is very talented and a very hard worker,” said team member Andrea Bouwman.
There were about 30 schools competing at Western Washington University. USU has attended this conference for the last the eight years. Seven of the eight years, they have placed first.
With five students — Justin Jerez, Andrea Bouwman, Bobby Fausett, Chloee Butterfield and Prairie Fox — USU was the smallest team attending the tournament.
The morning before the tournament, the competitors got up early to practice their speeches. In most of the events, the students write and memorize their own speeches before the competition.
“This is probably the most stressful time,” Bouwman said. “Coach Tom knows exactly how it’s supposed to go, and if we do something wrong, he’ll tell us how it is.”
Jerez said the competitions usually last two days.
“We get there around 8 a.m. and they end about 8 p.m., a full 12 hours, sometimes longer,” Jerez said.
Jerez said there is a lot of anticipation, and when team members are feeling down about a round, coach Tom Worthen would tell them a story about past victories and losses.
“He tells us how we have a legacy here at USU and how we need to carry it on,” Jerez said.
The Aggies competed in multiple speech events, including informative speaking, after dinner speaking and persuasive speaking.
Impromptu speaking is made up on the spot. All the Aggies competed in individual parliamentary debate and argumentation, in which individuals are given 20 minutes to research a given resolution or topic and come up with competitive arguments.
The competitors are given five topics. Then are allowed to sit down with their opponents and take turns eliminating potential debate topics.
“I really get to know your competitor,” Bouwman said. “The debate becomes a real camaraderie.”
Points given in the competition are not necessarily given for complicated arguments but rather how eloquently and clearly the arguments are communicated.
“USU’s debate has always been good at being polite in our debates,” Bouwman said. “Other schools like to debate us.”
This last competition was Chloee Butterfield’s first tournament ever, where she placed fourth in debate.
“Chloee did extremely well,” Bouwman said. “So did Bobby and Prairie.”
This is Fausett and Fox’s first year of participating on USU’s debate team. Fausett placed fifth and Fox also took fourth place. Jerez, USU’s veteran debater, took second place in the IPDA tournament.
The Aggies brought 12 speeches to the competition. Eight of the speeches were taken to final rounds.
“In the preliminaries, all the competitors are ranked 1-5,” Worthen said, “(The USU students) were ranked 1.”
In informative speaking, Fox took second, Butterfield placed fourth and Fausett took fifth place. Fox placed third and Fausett placed fourth in persuasive speaking rounds. In impromptu — a competition where speakers are given three quotes and given a couple minutes to prepare a speech on one of them — both Bouwman and Butterfield took fourth place. Fausett took fourth place in after dinner speaking, a more humorous speech meant to emphasize a specific topic or point.