Speech team reflects on successful season

At least four students qualify for Nationals


Photo submitted

Members of the speech team pose with their awards after a successful meet.

Annika Garwood , Reporter

In the past few months, students may have noticed participants of the speech and debate team talking to lockers in preparation for their speeches. The “Wall Talkers,” located in the theology hallway, would practice their “worse round” talking to the green, decorated lockers as Mrs. Jeanne Malone, head coach of the speech and debate team, explained.

“In the past weekend, the speech team placed fourth in the State, and the debate team competed in their State tournament back in early February,” Malone said.

She said, “Cathedral also took its largest team ever to the finals. Thirty-one students out of 40 got out of the Sectional on Feb. 24 and we won overall in that Sectional.” Nine students were also event champions out of 14 possible categories.

Malone also explained the process of the State tournament which took place on March 10 at Carmel High School. She said everybody is guaranteed three rounds in the preliminaries, then everyone who qualifies for the finals competes in those. “Then we have the competing field. After that it goes quarters, semis, and finals. We went from 31 qualifiers in the prelims to 18 in quarters to seven in the semis to three in the finals.” The three finalists were in two events, with one single and a duo team.

High level competition

The students who will compete in Nationals in June are senior Ben Wilson and sunior Alex Koers, who both qualified in Congressional debate; junior Laura Shultz, her second time qualifying for Nationals in original oratory; and sophomore Nick Grill, competing in international extemporaneous.

“We are still waiting to hear back for All-District team, and we have nominated three and are hopeful that we will get one or two more kids in Nationals doing World School Debate,” Malone said. “What’s really cool about the Nationals is it is the oldest, largest academic event in the world.”

Sophomore Katie Darragh is no stranger to the pressures of the State competition. This is her second year on the team as she also competed in speech freshman year.

“I didn’t find it intimidating being a freshman on a team of mostly upperclassmen. Our speech and debate team was actually one of the reasons I came to Cathedral. I’ve always been interested in it, so it was an easy decision for me to join last year,” Darragh said.

She explained that she competes in the events original performance and program oral interpretation. “In OP I get to write a script and perform it. It’s my favorite because writing and acting have always been a passion of mine. POI is similar but instead of writing a script myself, I take published works of authors and weave them into a story under one theme. My theme this year was bridging cultural and racial gaps. Both are really fun.”

Wilson started speech and debate team when he was a junior. “I am in Congressional debate, where we debate on mock pieces of legislation that we get, and discussion, where we discuss various topics in a Socratic matter.” He said that speech and debate is a fun experience that polishes speaking abilities, but also prepares students for future endeavors such as job interviews.

Spirited group

Malone said that speech and debate is what she called a very “spirited group” with the feeling of a team being a central theme to the group.

If any students have questions about the speech and debate team, Malone is on campus from 3 to 5 in the new designated speech room, located in 4238 in Kelly Hall. As the back of the speech and debate shirts say, Malone reminds everyone to “Speak Up, Speak Out, Go Irish Speech and Debate.”