Unlike most Steamboat Springs High School teams, the speech and debate squad rarely enjoys the support of a home crowd.
But with its lone home tournament of the season taking place this weekend, the team hopes the community will turn out to support its hard-working competitors.
The 25th annual Steamboat Springs Invitational Tournament is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the high school.
"This is the one tournament we're hosting this year," speech and debate team co-coach Shauna Lamansky said. "This is the one chance for people to see what we do. It's not like basketball where you have multiple opportunities to see what they do.
"The kids work really hard. We encourage people to come out and support them."
The tournament is expected to bring 100 competitors from eight high schools to Steamboat for the weekend. All 15 Sailors will compete, Lamansky said.
Students will square off in 10 events, including humorous interpretation, drama, foreign and national extemporaneous speaking, original oratory and Lincoln-Douglas debate. Events will take place in several high school classrooms. The media center will serve as tournament headquarters, where spectators can get information about the times and locations of various events.
The tournament is a once-a-year opportunity for community members to see what speech and debate is all about. Oftentimes, spectators come away from a speech tournament surprised by what they witnessed.
"People have a lot of ideas about what public speaking is, but competitive public speaking is a whole different thing," Lamansky said.
The tournament is free to spectators. Volunteers are needed as tournament judges, too, Lamansky said. She encouraged anyone who has volunteered at previous tournaments to call Marty Lamansky at 871-3660.
Saturday's invitational is the Sailors' first competition since a Dec. 11 tournament at Cherry Creek High School in Denver. That tournament, which featured nearly 50 schools and 300 competitors, was one of the largest of the year for the team.
Senior Patrick Kuczkowski placed second in foreign extemporaneous speaking. He was defeated by a student who, last year, placed fourth in the nation in the event. Fellow senior Amanda Toy earned a superior ribbon for her performance in national extemporaneous speaking.
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