CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico’s Competitive Speech and Debate Team Enjoys Successful Year

Date: 03-05-2013

Kacey Gardner, editorial assistant
Public Affairs
Sue Peterson, director
Speech and Debate Team

California State University, Chico’s Speech and Debate Team took home some gold the past two weekends at competitions in Long Beach, Malibu and Northridge. The team’s 32 students hope to add to their success in national tournaments this spring.

The speech portion of the team, which comprises the students who perform in individual public speaking events, competed Feb. 22-24 in the 2013 Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association (PSCFA) Spring Champs Tournament at California State University, Long Beach.

CSU, Chico’s Christian Park, a recent transfer student from Butte College, took home the gold medal in the novice division of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, which is a one-on-one policy debate. This year’s topic was organic agriculture, which competitors had to debate both on the affirmative side and the negative side. Park made it through preliminaries, quarterfinals, semifinals and the final contest to win the tournament.

Christina Misuraca was a finalist in the persuasive event, for which students write and present their own eight- to 10-minute persuasive platform speeches. And in the similar informative event, Megan Hoehenrieder earned a silver medal, and Janet Santivanes was a finalist.

The policy debate portion of CSU, Chico’s Speech and Debate Team also competed the weekend of Feb. 22-24 in the regional qualifier for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and a concurrent competition for novices called the Pacific Championship at Pepperdine University.

Scott Laczko and Emily Parker were one round shy of qualifying for the NDT, the most prestigious collegiate debate tournament, and are currently alternates for the tournament.

“It was very tough competition,” said Sue Peterson, faculty in Communication Arts and Sciences, and director and coach of the Speech and Debate Team. “Only the top eight teams get to go, and they were the 10th team.”

Debate team newcomers Ryan Clare and Jordan Hampton won the Pacific Championship novice tournament for students in their first year of debate who weren’t trying to qualify for nationals. Clare and Hampton will travel to Sacramento this weekend, March 8-10, to vie for a national title at the Western Novice and JV Championship Tournament. Two other CSU, Chico first-semester debaters will also be competing in the Sacramento tournament.

The weekend of March 1-3, 13 of CSU, Chico’s individual event speakers competed at California State University, Northridge in another regional qualifier. Two students, Michael Andreas and Kelsey Caldwell, qualified for multiple events at the national competition, to be held the first week of April in Hutchinson, Kansas.

In addition, four policy debate teams will travel to Pocatello, Idaho, March 20-24 to compete among more than 150 teams at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Tournament. This event is often referred to as the “people’s tournament” because it’s an open-entry contest in which everyone competes in the same division.

Coach Peterson says the entire Speech and Debate Team has been amazingly successful this year. Along with Peterson, the team is coached by teaching assistants Natalie Kellner, Shannan Troxel, Chaz Kelley and Taureanna Shimp, as well as volunteers Ryan Guy and Theresa Perry.

“This is my sixth year coaching at Chico, and it by far has been our most successful year,” Peterson said. “A lot of that I attribute to the teaching assistants who work with the team.”

The CSU, Chico Speech and Debate Team is an Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) funded program and a course offered through the Communications Studies program. The team is, first and foremost, an educational activity and is also committed to advancing the benefits of speech and debate on a local, state and national level.