Nearing the end of its regular-season schedule, the Steamboat Springs High School speech and debate team is shifting its focus to postseason qualifying tournaments.
Coming off a successful home tournament last weekend, the 14-member team travels to Longmont on Jan. 22 for the St. Vrain Invitational, a large tournament that will feature competitors from at least 20 schools.
"It will be a good indicator for national qualifying," team co-coach Shauna Lamansky said.
State and national qualifying tournaments begin the weekend of Feb. 4 with the National Forensics League Rocky Mountain North National Qualifying Congress in Louisville. A regional qualifying tournament takes place in mid-February, followed by the state tournament a month later. A national qualifying tournament takes place in late March and early April. The National Forensic League's National Tournament and Congress is June 10 to 18 in Philadelphia.
With the season quickly winding down, team members will begin to prepare for the highly competitive qualifying events, Lamansky said.
"Now is the time we start pushing them to get ready for state and national qualifying," Lamansky said. "We're in the step-it-up mode."
On Saturday, the team hosted its only home tournament of the season. The event, which featured more than 100 competitors from eight high schools, was particularly hectic for the Sailors, who were responsible for the tournament's administrative work as well as competing in various events.
Christian Heritage School senior Dana Schlingman, who competes for the Sailors, won her second original oratory event of the season. Steamboat senior Kelly Shaw took second place in the event, followed by senior Amanda Toy in third. It was the second time this year the Sailors have swept the original oratory event in a tournament.
Junior Suzie Ford placed first in poetry interpretation, juniors Katelyn Stokes and Marty Ludwig placed third in duo interpretation, junior Travis Mouffe placed third in humorous interpretation, senior Kayla Murphy placed fourth in humorous interpretation, senior Patrick Kuczkowski placed fifth in original oratory, and sophomore Austin Anderson placed fifth in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Hayden High School student Hannah Williams finished fifth in humorous interpretation.