This year has flown by. The third and last regular, league tournament was held last Saturday, February 2, and we showed up with slightly fewer competitors than normal because of the Lenaea Festival, which was the same weekend. That did not stop us from making a strong showing, especially in Impromptu. Brian Barcenas '20 was new to this event, and he made it to the final rounds in novice. Another newcomer, Bert Garner '21, threw himself into varsity, which is a tough, competitive field, and he shocked everyone by placing fifth overall. This promises good things to come for Bert as we head into State Quals and beyond! The seasoned competitor, Gavin Patchet '19, edged past his teammate and placed fourth overall. We sure can talk off the tops of our heads here at SA!
Chloe Cullen '20 made another splash with her Program in Oral Interpretation. For this she is singing, "The Times, They are A'Changing," originally by Bob Dylan. Her beautiful voice stitches together several different pieces including two TED Talks about negative media coverage. Chloe placed first in the novice division.
Emma Hartley '20 is taking her Advocacy piece farther and farther into competition with each tournament. Having made it to semis two weeks ago at MLK, she now made it to finals, eventually placing fourth overall. She too is in position to earn a spot this year at the State Tournament in Long Beach.
Perhaps the highlight of the entire tournament was Reece Stromberg '19. A newcomer to speech, he has dived straight into Varsity Expository, which I have often stated is the "electrical engineering" of speech. Competitors get thirty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech on a topic related to current political news. To compete, Reece listens to several podcasts and reads several news journals in their entirety every single day. I am very pleased to say that Reece earned a third place trophy in this most difficult of events. Reece started his speech career just several months ago, but he is looking to extend it as far as possible... State... and beyond!
The Speech Team wants to thank Michelle Boyers, Robert Duchynski, Leticia Sotelo, and Cheryl Willett for spending their Saturday judging in San Francisco. Without their support, we simply could not compete.
SA Speech headed down to Union City for two full days of competition starting early Saturday morning. At this point in the season, many of our team members have two pieces that are competition-ready, so we had fifteen competitors, but many, many more entries than that. This tournament is varsity only, and it brings teams from all over the United States, including a group of national champions from Louisiana.
Our new star, a long-time debater turned into a speech competitor, Reece Stromberg '19 went deep into this one in Extemporaneous, even though it was his first invitational as a member of the speech team. Reece broke through quarters into semis where he was finally eliminated. Reece definitely has his sights on State this year, down in Long Beach.
Gavin Patchet '19, who was double-entered in both Oratory and Impromptu, made it to quarter finals in Impromptu, which is made all the more amazing by the fact that there were over one hundred entries in his field. Gavin keeps on rolling!
Emma Hartley '20, who has been competing in Duo all year, made the debut of her second piece, an Advocacy speech about black lung disease. She broke through quarters into semis, where she finally dropped, but this promises well for Stanford and the State Qualifying tournaments ahead.
Everyone who went deserves to be congratulated on their efforts and accomplishments, but I cannot conclude without mentioning the Duo performance by Ellie Ramos '21 and Veronica Aranda '21. They have performed this piece at SA's Community Meeting as well as for the Do Tell Story Swap, a community event held monthly in Santa Rosa. This added experience was probably useful because these sophomores found themselves performing in front of the entire tournament at the Awards Ceremony, which features the final round of Duo Interpretation just before the trophies are handed out. They wowed over five hundred people as they shared the stage with teams from Wyoming, Arizona, Louisiana, not to mention the very best team from James Logan High School. These two are on fire, and there seems to be no stopping them.
While I share these highlights, I want to also mention that there are other things about attending a tournament such as this. The team has bonded at this point. They help one another. They encourage each other. They share in each other's accomplishments... And... at the end of a weekend like this, they can feel satisfied that two days spent listening to other young folk from all over the country was a weekend well spent.
I want to thank the following parents for helping with the driving and the judging: Jane Fowles, Betsy Garner, Chris Huynh, and a father who really knows how to whoop with pride for his daughter, Sergio Aranda. Without the dedication of their time, we could not have competed at this tournament. Thank you.
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