At state tournament, Speech & Debate team prepares to “kick aff and take negs”

(Back row) Colin Crilly, Sam ODonnell, Aron Egelko, Luke Ballmer, (front row) Anaika Miller, Lindsay Boyd, Karen Fox, Molly Roberts and Kevin Kunes are among the Speech and Debate members that qualified for the state tournament. Credit: Bryn Gallagher/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Bryn Gallagher

(Back row) Colin Crilly, Sam O'Donnell, Aron Egelko, Luke Ballmer, (front row) Anaika Miller, Lindsay Boyd, Karen Fox, Molly Roberts and Kevin Kunes are among the Speech and Debate members that qualified for the state tournament. Credit: Bryn Gallagher/The Foothill Dragon Press.
(Back row) Colin Crilly, Sam O’Donnell, Aron Egelko, Luke Ballmer, (front row) Anaika Miller, Lindsay Boyd, Karen Fox, Molly Roberts and Kevin Kunes are among the Speech and Debate members that qualified for the state tournament. Credit: Bryn Gallagher/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Foothill’s Speech and Debate team is sending 13 competitors to the state tournament this year, the largest number in the team’s history.

“Each year we are getting better and better,” said junior Kevin Kunes, who qualified for the second time in Humorous Interpretation and for the first time in Public Forum debate.

The tournament, which will be held at San Diego State University from April 15-17, pulls from the very best forensic league members of California.

To get to the state tournament, teams must compete in league-wide state qualifier tournaments for the coveted spots. This year, for example, four Public Forum spots were available to the Tri-County league in which Foothill competes. Of those spots, Foothill took three.

“It’s really satisfying to win at tournaments like that,” said junior Anaika Miller, Editor in Chief of the Foothill Dragon Press, who qualified in Public Forum for the first time. “In debate, we call it ‘kicking aff and taking negs.’ “{sidebar id=14}

Miller is referring to the fact that in debate, there are two sides: the affirmation and the negation.

Because the team was so successful and is bringing so many members to state, they are traveling by train to San Diego.

“We’re not only being green, it is also better for us: it is really hard to transport that many kids in a caravan,” said the team’s debate coach Anthony Villa.

At the tournament, the team will face three days of grueling competition with up to nine rounds of debate and five rounds of Individual Events. Along with the competition itself, the team will go sight-seeing and attend a dance.

“The dance is interesting, you see speech kids in a completely different setting,” said junior Aron Egelko, who is going to state for the second time in Extemporaneous Speaking and Public Forum.

“With the overnight tournaments, we try to add something, so we are going to the Whaley House, supposedly the most haunted house in America,” Villa said.

Built on a cemetery, the Whaley House has had many ghost sightings and the team hopes to see them when they visit.

If they get there, that is. It is almost a tradition that the team gets lost in whatever city a tournament is held in.

“I think getting lost is a bonding experience that brings us all together and this unity is why we do so well,” said Egelko.

In previous state competitions, the debate team has had students come in 9th, 10th and 15th place.

“We intend to change that,” said Kunes, who placed 15th in Humorous Interpretation out of 56 entries at the state tournament last year.

“Each year, we get progressively better. We have high hopes of making finals this year in Humorous Interpretation and Public Forum,” Villa said.

The students going to state this year are as follows: sophomore Luke Ballmer in National Extemporaneous Speaking, senior Brittany Bernardi in Original Prose and Poetry, senior Lindsay Boyd in Public Forum, senior Lizzie Chapin in Original Interpretation, senior Colin Crilly in Public Forum, junior Aron Egelko in Public Forum and National Extemporaneous Speaking, senior Karen Fox in Duo Interpretation, junior Kevin Kunes in Public Forum and Humorous Interpretation, junior Anaika Miller in Public Forum, senior Sam O’Donnell in Public Forum, senior Trenton Pham in Policy Debate, and sophomore Molly Roberts in Duo Interpretation.

Editor’s Note: Lizzie Chapin is a senior, not a sophomore, and has been changed as of Thursday March 30, 2011 at 8:34 p.m.
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