Speech and debate seek another standout season

by Tabitha Blaser, reporter

The Simpson College Speech and Debate team started their season out successfully with a win. The group traveled to Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota and came home with a total of nine awards and competed in almost 91 rounds of competition on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20-21. In addition to these nine awards, the 17 students who competed at the Bethany Lutheran College debate tournament had three teams in the quarter-finals, two in the semi-finals and one in the finals. After a fantastic win, the speech and debate team has a lot to look forward to this upcoming season.

Last year, the speech and debate team had an incredible year. In public forum debate, the team attended six or seven different invitationals, never losing a single one. On top of that success, they were national runners-up. Although that seems like a high bar to follow, coaches Spencer Waugh and Marty Feeney are excited and hopeful for this season.

Feeney, the head speech coach, said, “We want to score more points at nationals this year than we did last year. What I am hoping for is that speech and debate together are in the top 10 at nationals.”

With all of the returners and a fantastic incoming class, they have high hopes for the year. Two returners, Jacy Gomez and Ethan Fredrick, contributed an overall record of 46 wins and only three losses in the last two years.

“We have been national runners up two years in a row and we definitely want to win that final round at the national tournament in debate,” Waugh said. “This is also the second year of our speech team, so the fact that we have so many names on the board, we really want these students to have such a fun year so they want to come back again next year.”

Simpson’s speech and debate teams operate as one unit. Many of the members who participate in speech also participate in debate, and vice versa. “We are the same group under the same banner,” Waugh said.

Freshman Braeden Ingersoll expresses his excitement for the upcoming year as well. He commented on last week saying, “This debate was the very first time for me. I have never done anything like that before. Right now I am planning for the speech side.”

Ingersoll is anxious to help his team out. “I just want to do my best and see where it takes me. Our overall goal is to get enough team points to take sweepstakes and really I just want to help contribute to that,” he said.

Although the accomplishments by each of the speech and debate participants is a reason the students stay excited about the year, Waugh explains that speech and debate is more than just the competition.

“I believe that of any extracurricular activity you can do in college, speech and debate is the one that will fundamentally change the way you think and it will give you a significant edge in terms of your future. You will walk into the interview room every time and be the most competent individual,” Waugh said.

The team has many events in the near future. They will travel to Mankato, Minnesota. and Bolviar, Missouri. on Oct. 3. Other upcoming invitationals include Kansas City, Missouri and a trip to Huntington, West Virginia.