Speech team steps up

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— Five members of the Steamboat Springs High School forensics team traveled to Niwot High School on Saturday for a tournament on the Front Range.

Team coach Marty Lamansky said 19 schools took part in a tough competition.

"That's a mid-sized tournament, but it's big by the standards of what we've done so far this year," he said.

Sophomore Annie Kucz--kowski placed sixth in Original Oratory for her speech about stereotypes. She was the team's top finisher.

Sophomore Ashley Lopez received an "excellent" ribbon in International Extemporaneous Speaking, the event she competed in at a national competition last summer.

In that event, students select three topics at random and have 30 minutes to prepare a speech on one of the topics. The topics are about any current event, making preparation difficult.

"They basically have to know everything that has been going on in the world during the past six months," Lamansky said.

Speech students also competed in the Student Congress event Saturday, in which they debate fictional pieces of legislation -- about real issues such as welfare or the war in Iraq -- with students from other schools.

Students write the legislation before the tournament and are able to prepare ahead of time for the debates.

"It's one of the more realistic events that we do," Lamansky said.

Students will try to qualify for the national Student Congress competition a tournament Feb. 3 and 4 in Louisville.

Only the top four or five students out of about 120 will qualify for nationals, Lamansky said.

Team members also are preparing for the 26th Annual Steamboat Springs Invitational tournament, Jan. 7 at the high school. Lamansky said their experience from previous competitions can only help in the future.

"I think they're doing really well at taking what they learned from each tournament and applying it to the next one," he said. "They're improving a great deal."

To reach Mike Lawrence call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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