Speech and Debate compete at the Big 8

Abigail Swanigan

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The speech and debate team is hosting the Big 8 speech and debate tournament on Friday, Feb. 8. Students will compete in public speaking, literature performance and logical argumentative debate.

“For the speech events, judges rank individual speakers in the rooms.  The ranks are added up to get the speakers that advance. In Debate judges choose a winner.  Based on win record, the top debaters advance into a bracket after preliminary rounds.” Kevin King, coach and club adviser said.

King competed for four years during high school, he judged while he was in college and he has been coaching for eleven years.

“I absolutely enjoy speech and debate! I am very competitive!” Said King, “I enjoy the atmosphere and environment of the tournaments. I also enjoy watching the successes and advancement of my students.”

Students have to prepare throughout the week for the competition.

“The students prepare their events, then perform them for me and I give criticisms about what may need to be changed.” Greg Holtschneider, coach and club advisor, said.

Holtschneider has been coaching at Marshfield for 20 years.  

“Of course, I enjoy speech and debate. I am EXTREMELY competitive, and this aspect of speech and debate is strong. I love helping kids improve.” said Holtschneider.

The tournament will be held at the high school through various class rooms.

“Tournaments are an exciting blend of chaos and performance energy.  Kids are spread out throughout a school building. There are generally 2 preliminary rounds of speech events and 4 preliminary rounds of debate events. “ said Holtschneider,  “Then, in speech they “break” down to the top kids, which advance to a semifinal round, then the top 6 advance to finals. In debate, they advance to a quarter-final round, then semi finals and then finals for the top 2.”

With the right mindset the students are ready to compete this Friday.

“I tell my students to “tell their story.”  They need to enjoy what they do. This is way too much work to do if you aren’t enjoying it.  Focus on your truth and let the scores work themselves out. Give me your best, and nothing less.” said Holtschneider.