Teams flaunt brilliant minds

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— Several Steamboat Springs High School students hope to hear ovations after their orations this weekend.

The high school's speech team today continues its participation in the Rocky Mountain North District National Qualifying Student Congress in Louisville. The competition, which began Friday, will give team members a chance to qualify for a national competition in June.

"Instead of competing in their regular events, they're competing like they're members of Congress," coach Shauna Lamansky said. "They debate legislation as if they were in Washington, D.C."

Freshman Josie Pacana prepared a piece of legislation that required a national vote before a declaration of war.

"The Congress event is the one that we have the most success in with qualifying people for nationals," Lamansky said.

Sophomore Ashley Lopez is the only team member who competed in a national competition last year. She qualified for nationals in the foreign extemporaneous event that requires quick thinking and on-the-spot speechwriting.

At the Central Invitational Tournament in Grand Junction last week, Lopez finished fourth in that event. She was Steamboat's only finalist at the tournament.

"This is where the fact that we are a very young team this year begins to really make a difference," Lamansky said. "As we enter the playoff section of our season, it will be a good learning experience for many of our freshman and sophomores and increase their confidence for next year. Hopefully, some will break through and surprise us."

That surprise could come this weekend, when about 100 students from numerous schools will be vying for five spots at nationals.

The high school's Knowledge Bowl team also competes this weekend at a location closer to home. The team will compete against four other regional high schools in a 9 a.m. event at Moffat County High School in Craig.

Steamboat has the highest point total for the season.

"We're hoping to maintain our lead this weekend," said coach Barb Tuchlinsky, media specialist at the high school.

The Knowledge Bowl team has a home meet Friday. Tuchlinksy said she needs volunteers from the community to help run the meet.

"We're always looking for timers," she said. Tuchlinsky can be reached at 871-3689.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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