Niwot forensics looks ahead to State tournament
February 22, 2018
After top performances at the Region I qualifying tournament on Feb. 10 at Northridge, eight members of the Niwot Forensics team qualified to compete in the CHSAA State Speech & Debate tournament next month in Fort Collins.
Hannah Alexander (Lincoln Douglas Debate), Braden Wade and Benjamin Goff (Public Forum Debate), Evan Roberts (Informative Speaking), Stephanie Reitzig (International Extemporaneous Speaking), Aileen Ma (International Extemporaneous Speaking), Subhangi Bhatt (Poetry), and AJ Metlay (Poetry) all made the cut for the statewide meet, to be held at Rocky Mountain HS, March 16-17.
“This is the highest number of qualifiers we’ve had since our freshman year, which was 2015,” senior co-captain Reitzig said. “A large number of those are underclassmen, so that’s pretty exciting.”
Of the eight qualifiers, co-captains Ma and Reitzig are the only seniors. Bhatt and Goff are freshmen, and Wade is a sophomore.
Forensics coach William Pankonin was happy for his team members to see their hard work pay off this season.
“They’re really going to enjoy the State weekend,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m really proud of them, and really looking forward to that weekend.”
Pankonin will be spending his weekend at State tabulating PF debate scores in the tabroom with a fellow coach. He said he wasn’t surprised by the strong underclass showing this year.
“The group as a whole really fosters the new teammates,” Pankonin said. “They’ll know right away whether someone is better at debate or an interp piece, and they’ll really help them along. So whatever success we have, a lot of that is due to the whole group and how the whole group is with each other.”
Both captains thought their team’s prospects at the State meet were especially good this year, even if it’s not always easy to predict who will show up to judge the events.
“Even though it’s a State tournament, a lot of the judges are lay judges, which means they don’t have a lot of experience,” Ma said. “So oftentimes it comes down to tiny semantics that are only known to the judge.”
For Reitzig, the final results of the State tournament are secondary to the enormous benefits to be gained just from observing other top competitors, especially for the younger participants.
“The biggest value of this tournament is seeing people do things in totally different ways, and seeing judges judge in totally differently ways,” Reitzig said. “Ultimately, it’s more about the experience than the tournament itself and competing.”