Speech and debate team starts varsity season at home | CraigDailyPress.com

Speech and debate team starts varsity season at home

Bridget Manley

For varsity members of the Moffat County speech and debate team, the training has led up to this.

Varisty competition begins Friday.

Facing the first varsity speech meet of the school year and the team’s only home competition, speech and debate coach Eric Hansen prepares to ready his team, as well as organize the event – which goes from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Having the first varsity meet of the season on the home turf has its pros.

“That’s one night I don’t have to spend in a hotel room,” he said, laughing.

But it also has its cons.

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Hansen’s attention will be divided among his students and the multiple demands he must attend to as head coach of the host school, such as ensuring that the 14 scheduled public speaking and debate events run smoothly for the nine other teams and more than 150 students expected to attend the competition.

He also has to get 28 members of his 32-member team ready for their first varsity competition of the year.

The coach said he’s not worried about his team’s performance this weekend.

“I have a great group of seniors and juniors,” Hansen said. “I’m confident they’re ready to go.”

“The big thing is making sure I have everything in order,” he said, glancing back at the crates and papers filling his room Wednesday afternoon.

The team started out the year with two novice competitions in Delta and Denver, Hansen said. At these events, new team members compete against their counterparts from other schools while varsity team members judge and critique their performances.

With those competitions over, the season begins in earnest.

“We’ve been through the preseason and now we’re in the regular season, I guess you’d say,” Hansen said. “We’re trying to get our varsity kids back into it.”

Hansen said three high schools – Grand Junction Central, Montrose and Delta – most likely will be the team’s greatest competition this year.

The team is “a little nervous,” Hansen said. “They want to get out and compete.

“We’ll see who steps up,” the coach added. “I’m sure someone will step in the spotlight.”

Gavin Thompson, an MCHS junior and three-year member of the team, said he was experiencing some pre-competition nerves Wednesday afternoon.

The last time a speech competition was held at MCHS was last year during the district championships, he said. He and his three-year debate partner, Michael Zehner, performed well in their debates, he said.

Their competition may try to make a comeback this weekend.

“They’re coming back for revenge,” Thompson said.

In Hansen’s classroom Wednesday afternoon, Thompson and his teammate Brodie Schulze sifted and stacked piles of typed information, laying them out across the desks. They eventually will organize these papers in plastic boxes and carry them into their policy debates this weekend.

In policy debates, Thompson explained, one team proposes a plan of action the federal government should take in order to better the world. The other team must then supply a case showing the flaws in their competitors’ proposal.

“That’s why we have boxes (of information,)” Thompson said. “You have to be ready for your idea and everyone else’s ideas.

“When I started, it was really difficult,” he added. “(But) once we got into the hang of it, it was really fun to see what we could think up.”

Thompson’s case is typical for many speech and debate team members, the coach said.

“Once they try it, almost every kid loves it,” he said.

How to help:

Volunteer judges will be accepted for the speech and debate competition Friday and Saturday at Moffat County High School. To volunteer, call the high school at 824-7036.