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Speech and debate team heads to Illinois for third tourney of the year

Oct. 05, 2013 @ 11:15 PM


For The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University’s Speech and Debate Team, The Thundering Word, is heading to Illinois State this weekend for its third tournament of the year. 

The season kicked off on Sept. 21 when the team ventured to its first competition of the season at the National Forensic Fiesta at Western Kentucky University. The team’s second competition was at Miami of Ohio on Sept. 28 when Christian Adams and Joshua Gaines represented the team.

“This is a rather large tournament,” said Danny Ray, coach of the team. “About 20 teams will be attending. This debate is called the I-74 Swing. It’s in South Central Illinois, and we are just attending the second half of the tournament. Rest is very important for these events because you have to be very awake early in the morning. The tournament will start at 8 a.m. on Sunday.

“They will do a round of one half of the events,” he added. “Some students are in four events. We might have two students in one group of events or four in another. They‘ll do one round of events, then a debate. We have two rounds of the individual events and four rounds of Lincoln Douglas debates, which are the policy centered debates.”

Students compete in a variety of different competitions including Informative Speaking, Rhetorical Criticism, Poetry Interpretation and After Dinner Speaking. The team will host one event in October and attend six more in the fall semester.

In the spring, the club will host a high school level event and attend three more before attending the state and national  competitions. The team is part of a national organization called Pi Kappa Delta which believes in a comprehensive forensics education. There are currently 15 members of the team.

“Right now my philosophy is that as long as you do the work that is required and are capable of attending practices as we mandate them, anyone is eligible for the team,” Ray said. “I feel that anyone that wants to be better at public communication, this is the best way to learn those skills. This is like football. You don’t just show up and get to play.  There’s a lot of preparation, and it’s hard work.”

Despite some stiff completion The Thundering Word was highly successful in its first competition at Western Kentucky. The team finished third in Combined Speech and Debate Sweepstakes for the weekend tournaments. Marshall also placed fourth in Debate Sweepstakes and fifth in Individual Events Sweepstakes during the second half of the swing tournament.  Among the individual students honored were Devan Sample, who placed second in Poetry Interpretation and Victoria Ledford who placed second in Persuasive Speaking.

For more information on The Thundering Word, visit http://muwww-new.marshall.edu/commstu/forensics.




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