Guest post by Steven Farias, Assistant Coach
For most students, the holiday break was an opportunity to recharge the mental batteries, enjoy special moments with family and friends, and gradually prepare for the Spring semester. However, for competitors on Pacific Speech and Debate, the months of December and January represented two of the largest opportunities to cement their status as potential national champions. This is because their holiday-break just so happens to be sandwiched between two of the most important national circuit events of the year—The Holiday Frolic Swing hosted by the Ohio State University and Otterbein College and The Mile High Swing hosted by the University of Utah, Texas Tech University, and California State Long Beach. Swing tournaments function as two tournaments in one weekend meaning that PSDS competitors competed in not two but four tournaments over the course of two weekends. The result was a resounding success.
First, at The Holiday Frolic Swing, Pacific competitors traveled to cold and frigid Columbus, Ohio for one of the largest Individual Events and Lincoln Douglas debate tournaments all year. This tournament often serves as a springboard for the National Forensics Association IE/LD National Tournament in April. Thus, the results of this tournament can often make or break a competitors chances to win a national championship. In this respect, Pacific came away confident that they had multiple national championship ready competitors. Sierra Gonzalez showed herself as a national championship caliber competitor in multiple events. At the first tournament of the swing, she finished in 4th place in Poetry and 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation. At the second tournament of the swing, Sierra decided to best her own accomplishments from the day before and finished in 5th place in Prose, 2nd place in Poetry, and 1st place in Dramatic Interpretation. Her teammate Katherine Earley also showed she could be ready to compete for a national championship. Katherine finished in 5th place in Extemporaneous Speaking at one half and 6th place in Impromptu Speaking at the other half. Katherine was also the 4th best speaker in Lincoln Douglas debate and Noreen Javed finished as a Quarterfinalist.
Ending the semester on such a high note, PSDS looked to pick up where they left off at The Mile High Swing in Salt Lake City, Utah; and while the temperatures in Utah were just as cold as Ohio, the competition got even more fiery. Over the last four years, the eventual National Champions of Parliamentary Debate have advanced to the elimination rounds at both halves of the Mile High Swing, demonstrating the significance that success at this tournament can hold for a team. Pacific just so happened to clear both of it’s debate teams at both halves of the swing. Katherine Earley and Reed Ramsey were Double-Octofinalists at both halves of the swing while Jonathan Bruce and Evan Haynes finished as Triple-Octofinalists and Double-Octofinalists.
In terms of the Individual Events competitors, Pacific took three competitors to the tournament and all three competitors showed that they had not allowed rust to build over the Winter break. Sierra Gonzalez had another impressive showing taking 1st place and 3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation, 1st place and 2nd place in Prose, and 4th place in Poetry at the first half of the swing. Her teammates Natalie Marr and Oula Miqbel also joined in with their own competitive success. Natalie took 1st place at both halves in Persuasive Speaking, 2nd place at both halves in Dramatic Interpretation, and also took 4th in Poetry at the second half of the swing. Oula took 4th place in Prose at the second half of the swing and together with Sierra, took 1st place and 2nd place in Duo Interpretation. Overall, the Individual Events competitors overwhelming success meant that Pacific was able to take 3rd Place as a University at both halves and total for the swing tournaments.
With both an excellent end to the Fall semester and an even stronger beginning to the Spring semester, Director of Forensics Dr. Marlin C. Bates, IV is cautiously optimistic as the team looks ahead to the end of the semester. “Many times we enter the Spring semester hopeful but fully aware that our potential success at the national tournaments will shock some because it represents such an improvement from our Fall semester,” Dr. Bates, IV noted after the team arrived home from the Mile High Swing. “This year we have succeeded at the most competitive tournaments around the nation early-on, meaning that our expectations heading into nationals have increased. Our hope is that we will still have the radical improvements we have come to expect and coach, thus giving us one of the best opportunities we have had to bring home a national championship.” Pacific will look to continue its push towards nationals by competing at the Sunset Cliffs Classic Swing hosted by Pt. Loma Nazarene University.