Speech team off to regionals

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Competing against some of the best programs in the state, the Steamboat Springs High School speech and debate team wrapped up its regular season with strong performances from two of its top members. The team heads to Durango today for a state-qualifying tournament.

Seven Sailors traveled to Denver last weekend for the Overland/Kent Denver Invitational, a 35-school tournament featuring more than 300 competitors. The tournament annually attracts some of the top speech and debate programs in the state, Steamboat coach Shauna Lamansky said.

"There was some really good competition," Lamansky said Wednesday. "It was a good way to finish the season. Everyone had a real sense of wanting to get ready for regionals."

The Sailors were led by senior Patrick Kuczkowski, who won the foreign extemporaneous speaking event. His win earned him the title of the 2005 Blazing Sun Tournament Champion in foreign extemporaneous speaking.

"Patrick definitely made it very clear he's one of the top people in his event in the state," Lamansky said.

Senior Amanda Toy placed fourth in national extemporaneous speaking. Toy will not attend this weekend's state-qualifying tournament in Durango because she has an interview for the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship, for which she is a finalist.

Twelve Sailors will travel to Durango in hopes of qualifying for a spot in the state tournament in March. It's been several years since the team has taken so many of its members to the state-qualifying tournament, Lamansky said.

"It definitely sets us up to maximize the number of people who qualify," she said.

The top 20 percent of competitors in each of 10 speaking events will qualify for the state tournament. Debaters with a tournament record of 3-1 or 4-0 also will qualify.

The team leaves for Durango today, and the tournament begins Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234 or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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