Speech and Debate Wins Steinbeck Tournament

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 11-19-2015

Sue Peterson, Director
Speech and Debate Program
530-898-4771
Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
530-898-4260

The California State University, Chico Speech and Debate team topped off a successful fall semester by winning the Four Year University Division at the inaugural John Steinbeck Invitational at Hartnell College on Saturday, Nov. 14, in Salinas. 

The win required team members to excel in both individual public speaking events and the Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate. CSU, Chico trailed UC Berkeley’s speech team until the last event, in which Justin Flick, a junior in business information systems, won the Open Division of the LD debate, allowing CSU, Chico to overtake Berkeley for the top title in the four-year division. Flick also captured the first place title in Open Extemporaneous Speaking and second place in Open Impromptu Speaking.

Another uniquely impressive performance was that of Jeremy Markley, a political science major in his first semester with the team, who was able to “picket fence” both preliminary and final round ballots for both Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking in Novice. A picket fence happens when all judges give the competitor a “1” or first place in a round of five to seven competitors. This requires a high level of consistency and likability and the ability to choose a great topic. Markley was able to do it in two different events at the tournament, winning first place in both events and contributing heavily to the team’s overall win. He was also a quarterfinalist in the Open LD Debate, despite still being qualified for the Novice division competition.

Also contributing to the team’s win were Adam Steele, a first-semester transfer student in communication studies who captured second place in Novice Extemporaneous speaking; Neeraj Ginda, a junior in legal studies who took third place in Novice Extemporaneous; Daniel Venancio, a freshman in accounting who took third place in Novice Informative Speaking and was a finalist in Novice Impromptu; Adrianna McCain, a junior in communication studies, who was a finalist in Open Prose Interpretation; and Ryan Clare, a senior in environmental science, who was a finalist in Open Impromptu Speaking and a semi-finalist in the Open LD Debate. 

As the fall competition season closes, competitions for speech and debate will only continue. The team has already qualified its largest team in recent history for the National Forensics Association nationals, which will be held in April at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. All of the competitors mentioned above are qualified for the tournament in addition to a handful of others who qualified at tournaments earlier in the fall semester, bringing the team’s total qualifications for the fall semester to 13 team members.

Qualifications require competitors to be in the top percentages of their division of competition at regional tournaments and can be done at any tournament up until three weeks before the national competition. The largest group to qualify from Chico prior to this was in 2013-14, when eight competitors qualified. The team has competed at seven tournaments this semester and will close out the fall semester at UC Berkeley on Sunday, Dec. 6. 

Those interested in seeing the team members in action can attend the Speech and Debate Showcase, which will be held in Ayers 120 on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Students will give some of their award-winning speeches at the event.

For more information, please contact Sue Peterson, Director of Speech and Debate at Chico State, at 530-898-4771 or sepeterson@csuchico.edu

###