Speech and Debate grows as team, adds news coaching staff


by Britteny Johnson, Staff Reporter [email protected]

Simpson College’s Speech & Debate team gained quite a few new faces this year; the team has expanded with the incoming freshmen and new coaching staff. With these new faces, though, the team is still as dedicated as ever to having fun, doing good work and learning something along the way.

Spencer Waugh, director of Speech & Debate, said with the expansion of the team, he would like students to work with each other to gain experience and advice.

“The team is a lot bigger and we would like to continue to build a mentorship program where our upperclassmen can mentor our new students, especially in the beginning stages of preparation,” Waugh said.

One way the students are getting help with preparation aside from the working mentorship program is with the addition of a new assistant director, Katie Brunner, and a new assistant speech coach, Tim Overton. Brunner may be new to Simpson, but she had nothing but kind words to say about the program and the students within it.

“I have gotten to work with some really, really committed students and a lot of the students are first-year students and they come in so on fire for speech,” Brunner said. “I’ve gotten to work with unbelievably committed and passionate students.”

Brunner repeatedly mentioned the great support that the team gets from the administration at Simpson in letting students compete whenever they can.

“It’s mind-blowing, coming from a team where we really had to make some hard decisions sometimes about who could compete and when they could compete and all sorts of monetary stuff,” Brunner said. “The opportunity that students get to compete is so invaluable to them.”

Sophomore Olivia Anderson also thinks that the support given to the team from administration and staff has been a big part of having a successful, growing team.

“With the growth of a team come concerns of if the coaching staff or the school is going to support such a comprehensive program. Luckily, we have had phenomenal support from administration, faculty, staff and the whole Simpson community,” Anderson said.

One student on the team, junior Robert Lyons, explained what he likes about Simpson’s team.

“What I like most about Speech & Debate is the family kind of atmosphere we have created amongst our team,” Lyons said. “Another great aspect is the coaching staff; they are truly dedicated to their jobs. They will do whatever it takes to help us succeed, and they’re interested in the success of every individual, but also the team as a whole. That’s what they really emphasize, is the success of the team and representing Simpson well,” Lyons said.

Waugh said last year the Speech & Debate team won first place overall in team points for the first time at a tournament in West Virginia. This shows how dedicated both Simpson and the Speech & Debate organizations are to success as a team.

Over Halloween weekend the Speech and Debate team went back to West Virginia with 10 fewer students due to Halloween conflicts to compete in the same tournament, this time with 19 schools compared to 14 schools last year.

Even with a smaller team, Simpson left with third place overall in Debate, as well as numerous students placing in the top six for their categories and awards for excellence and numerous Top Novices.