Speakers eye postseason

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Things are looking up for the Steamboat Springs High School speech and debate team.

After placing fourth in two recent tournaments and seeing one of its members qualify for a national tournament, the team appears ready for a strong postseason showing.

"The kids are working hard and doing great things," team co-coach Shauna Lamansky said Monday.

On Jan. 22, the team took fourth place at the St. Vrain Invitational in Longmont, where students from 15 high schools competed in a variety of events. Senior Patrick Kuczkowski continued his dominance in the foreign extemporaneous speaking event, finishing first overall. Senior Stephanie Engle placed fourth in the open division of Lincoln-Douglas debate and took advantage of a unique opportunity to judge competitors in the novice division of the same event.

Freshman Annie Kuczkowski and sophomore Austin Anderson competed in both divisions of Lincoln-Douglas debate, with Kuczkowski finishing second in the novice division. Senior Dana Schlingman finished sixth in original oratory, an event for which Patrick Kuczkowski earned an excellent ribbon. Junior Suzie Ford earned a superior ribbon for her performance in poetry. She missed qualifying for the final round by just one ranking.

The team earned its second consecutive fourth-place finish the next weekend at the Central Invitational in Grand Junction. The 12-school tournament was an excellent chance for the team to compare itself to the competition it will face in the regional qualifying tournament later this month in Durango, Lamansky said.

Senior Kelly Shaw placed third in Lincoln-Douglas debate with a final record of 4-1. Junior Travis Mouffe placed third in the humorous interpretation event, the team of Marty Ludwig and Katelyn Stokes placed fourth in duo interpretation and Patrick Kuczkowski placed sixth in foreign extemporaneous speaking.

Last weekend, the team traveled to Louisville for the National Forensics League Rocky Mountain North National Qualifying Congress. In a Congress event, competitors are separated into houses of representatives and senates and asked to debate current political issues and abide by the traditional customs and procedures of legislative body debate.

Of the six team members who competed, four were named finalists. The highlight of the weekend was the performance of Shaw, who finished third in the House and qualified for the National Student Congress in Philadelphia in June. Engle, Schlingman and Patrick Kuczkowski were the team's other finalists. Shaw was named the Superior Speaker for the afternoon session of House 3, and Schlingman was named Superior Speaker for the morning session of House 2. Kuczkowski served as the presiding officer for the afternoon session of House 2.

This weekend the team travels to Denver for the Overland Invitational, a 33-school tournament that wraps up Steamboat's regular season schedule.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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