Speech and Debate Sweeps Region For Second Year in a Row

Juab’s speech and debate team won the region title for the second year in a row last weekend. At the end of a tough season of online tournaments, the team was excited to compete. Similar to how wrestling or track works, individuals can be region champions, and points earned by competitors go towards an overall school winner. 

Individuals from Juab placed first in six of the eight events. Regional winners include Sariah Shoemaker in Lincoln Douglass, Kaleb Bunker and Kylie Finlinson in Public Forum, Ben Cannell and Talmage Sainsbury in Policy, Keaton Thomas, tied for first in Congress, Sydney Samuelson in Original Oratory, and Brandon Christensen in National Extemp. 

Though Juab performed well, many had a negative view of the online aspect. 

 “It kind of of sucked because some of the speeches would cut out, I didn’t know if mine would or not. Like when I gave my oratory I didn’t know if they heard some of it. So I think that counted against me.” Sydni Cowan, who participated in in both Oratory and Public Forum, said.

Jonah Settle, who placed second in Lincoln Douglass, chimes in. “It was not fun because the camera on my ChromeBook didn’t work, so no one’s camera was on. It was just us talking to our screens.”

“It was a really weird region in the first place.” Sariah Shoemaker comments. “There weren’t very many people competing to begin with, so that was weird on top of itself. And then doing it online- one thing that’s different is my laptop died part way through! It was kind of embarrassing so I had to run out and grab a charger. It’s interesting being dependent like that.”

Despite not loving being online, competitors did see a bright side. 

“I did really well. I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be, so I didn’t fill up the time on my first speech, but I competed very well against my opponent.” Jonah says. 

Sydni was also proud of how she did. While she is well versed in Public Forum, Oratory is completely new territory for her. Oratory is writing and giving a memorized ten minute speech, sort of like a Ted Talk. Sydni was a little nervous, but she did well and really liked it, even more than Public Forum, since it’s not as stressful of an event.

Sariah is a veteran in her favorite event, Lincoln Douglass, and it shows in the gold medal she earned. Lincoln Douglass is a debate between two people that usually takes a moral or philosophical spin on topics, as opposed to fact based debates such as Public Forum or Policy.

Discussing her event Sariah says, “I think it’s interesting to look at things through a moral framework. It’s not like [Public Forum] where you just have to be ‘facts, facts, facts, facts.’ It’s also alone, and I like that too. You don’t need to depend on a partner.”

Jonah’s favorite event is one he didn’t compete in this year: Public Forum. He used to be teamed up with his older brother and enjoyed debating with him. This year Jonah is focusing solely on Lincoln Douglass, and is currently prepping for state.

 “I’m excited!” He says. “We will be one of the few teams with a full slate of debaters, so we’ll have a good chance even though our team’s very young. If we compete well we have a good chance to place high.”

Sydni and Sariah are also looking forward to state, and both are working hard to prepare their cases and speeches.

We congratulate the Speech and Debate team, and wish them luck at the upcoming state tournament!