Moffat County High School speech team attends state |

Moffat County High School speech team attends state

Speak up!

Moffat County High School junior Chris Kling, left, and senior Derek Maiolo hold up a gavel behind a lectern in triumph. The two recently represented the MCHS speech and debate team at state, narrowly missing moving on to the finals.
Andy Bockelman

The conclusion of a season in a sport or activity can mean there’s nothing left to say. However, the members of the Moffat County High School speech and debate team by no means are at a loss for words.

The speech team recently concluded its competitive season after last week’s state tournament at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch. Senior Derek Maiolo and junior Chris Kling represented the team, ultimately falling short of the finals with a 2-2 record in public forum debate.

Coach Casey Kilpatrick said this was a minimal attendance for MCHS, with as many as 10 team members usually attending state. Few of them were able to be at the regional tournament and therefore couldn’t qualify for state.

“We were so close to taking all six kids who went to regionals to state, but it just didn’t happen,” he said.

Maiolo and Kling, who were undefeated at regionals, faced the selected topic of single-gender classrooms in the country, arguing both sides of the resolution using a wealth of resources from scholarly journals to show the pros and cons involved, meeting up with students from Denver, Lakewood and Castle Rock.

“It was good to see the level of debate statewide, and we got to compete well, and we can only improve from here,” Maiolo said.

Both members of the duo each have spent about three years involved in forensics, though not always at the same time and only recently as partners. Although he’s gone as far as the national level in previous years, Maiolo said this year’s season still was satisfactory.

“It was a good way to end everything, because going out strong is always important,” he said.

With another year at MCHS, Kling said he hopefully will continue, providing he finds someone with whom he works well. The criteria for a debate partner are stringent.

“Trusting each other to make the right arguments,” Kling said, is his top criteria.

Good communication is a must, as well, Maiolo added.

Communication skills are key to the members of speech and debate, whether in the classroom or out, and participants had no problem conveying their thoughts about how the season went and the man who helped get them where they are now.

Freshman Riley Allen, one of the regional competitors from MCHS who came close to making it to state, said he has learned much from Kilpatrick in his first year on the team.

“He’s a really smart guy, and he knows what he’s talking about,” he said.

Junior Tiffany Lingo also has benefited from her teacher’s attention.

“He knows how to make you want to do well in debate, and you can tell he really cares about our team,” she said.

Friday marked the final day of Kilpatrick’s time at MCHS, with the fixture of the English department pursuing a job with Colorado Education Association.

And, though leaving will be tough and a permanent replacement as coach has yet to be determined, Kilpatrick said he thinks the team will be able to function well, whoever oversees them.

“We had a lot of kids who were new who had no idea what it takes to be successful in speech and debate who started picking it up, so I think a solid foundation was laid for next year,” he said. “When I look at some of these kids in their first year and how much they grew as they did it over the season, it only means they’re going to get better as they go, which is really exciting for the program.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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