Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Reitzig captures medal at State Forensics competition


March 30, 2018

Photo by William Pankonin The Niwot Forensics teams takes a break after a hard day of competition at the Colorado State Speech & Debate Tournament at Rocky Mountain High School. From left: Captain Stephanie Reitzig, freshman Subhangi Bhatt, Braden Wade, AJ Matland, Hanna Alexander and Evan Roberts.

Senior Stephanie Reitzig capped off her memorable Niwot Forensics career with a trip to the finals at the 2018 State Speech and Debate Tournament held March 16-17 at Rocky Mountain HS in Fort Collins.

Reitzig, who looks forward to attending the University of Chicago next year where she will study history and French, delivered a seven-minute speech on the question "Is Western Europe still at high risk of terrorist attack?" to take sixth overall in the International Extemporaneous Speaking category, out of approximately 30 competitors. Speakers have 30 minutes to prepare a response to one of three questions related to current international affairs, using only printed materials gathered prior to the competition. Internet use is strictly prohibited.

“I am very proud that Stephanie, our team captain, advanced all the way to the final round at the Colorado state tournament,” Niwot forensics coach William Pankonin said. “Stephanie has worked hard her entire forensic career and really earned her spot in that final round. She has proven that she is one the best extempers in the state.”

Reitzig fielded questions through three grueling rounds on Friday before advancing to the semifinals, where she had a chance to respond to the most intriguing question of the day.

“The topic that I found the most interesting was about Venezuela and its upcoming presidential elections,” she said. “I used the Venezuelan flag and its symbolism as a metaphor through which to discuss the reasons why the upcoming Venezuelan elections are, unfortunately, unlikely to be free and fair.”

Though it was her last performance in a Colorado high school forensics meet, the 12th-grader wasn’t overly sentimental at the tournament’s end.

“My goal for this tournament was to just make it past semifinals, because I never have before,” she said. “I guess I could view it as my last time, but State’s always fun and it reminded me of how much I’ve enjoyed being in forensics these last couple of years.”

Reitzig was the only Niwot student to advance to later rounds of the state meet. Nevertheless, both the coach and captain believe the experience was especially valuable for the younger members of the team

“The Colorado state tournament is the most competitive and the most challenging meet of the year in our state,” Pankonin said. “Just earning spots at the tournament is an achievement. Our PF team of Braden Wade and Ben Goff did advance to the first run-off round. Wade is in 10th grade and Ben is in ninth, so I am expecting a successful future in PF for them.”

Also bowing out in the early rounds were Hannah Alexander (Lincoln Douglas Debate), Evan Roberts (Informative Speaking), Aileen Ma (International Extemporaneous), Subhangi Bhatt (Poetry), and AJ Metlay (Poetry). Even though they weren’t competing, Alexander, Bhatt, and Metlay were on hand all day Saturday to support their captain and to pick up tips from watching the best.

Next up is the showcase event, which is held yearly in the school commons and features a pasta dinner. Also, Reitzig will be busy preparing for the National Speech and Debate Tournament, coming up June 17-22 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She qualified to compete in IX at a Feb. 28 national qualifying tournament.


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