Steamboat Springs More than 250 students will converge on Steamboat Springs High School this weekend to display their debating, acting and speaking skills.
The high school will host more than 14 schools around the Western Slope for the regional speech tournament. Winners will advance to state.
The event begins at 4 p.m. Friday and continues through Saturday's 5 p.m. awards ceremony. The regional tournament features 10 events from the classic Lincoln-Douglas debate to poetry readings.
Among the competitors will be 15 from Steamboat who have been preparing for the event since November. Speech coach Shauna Lamansky said the school is still preparing for the other 235 students who will come to Steamboat.
Her most pressing concern is finding judges to fill the 50 to 60 positions needed to make the tournament run smoothly and on time. Lamansky said right now the school has 38 judges and could use about 15 more volunteers.
Drawing from 2A- to 5A-sized schools, the Western Slope regional tournament determines who will continue on to the state competition March 22 and 23 in Castle Rock. To qualify for the state tournament, debate competitors have to go through this weekend's tournament with 3-1 and 4-0 records. All other events send those who finish in the top 20 percent of the competition.
Some of Steamboat's best hopes for state are Andrea Erickson, Beth Ludwig and Ben MacCarthy in the drama events. Lamansky also has high expectations for experienced seniors Jenni Stanford, Julie Lewis and Jessie Marshall.
"These people placed in the final rounds of other tournaments consistently," Lam-
Last year, the Steamboat team advanced 10 members to the state tournament.
In the most recent competition, the team had three finalists at the Rocky Mountain Invitational Tourn-
ament in Fort Collins. With 28 schools competing, Loren Cogswell placed in two events by taking a first in drama and a second in oratory. Lewis took a third in national extemporaneous speaking and Ludwig placed third in creative storytelling.