Desert Vista High School’s Speech and Debate Team has brought yet another honor to the school: This time, an School of Excellence in Debate award from the National Forensic League Tournament.

The award is difficult to receive, since teammates have to collectively make it through 40 elimination rounds at the national tournament to get the School of Excellence award, said coach Erik Dominguez. This is the third time Desert Vista has brought a School of Excellence award home from the national tournament, but the first time for debate events.

“That’s a really important award for us to win, because we’re very team oriented,” Dominguez said. “This shows it wasn’t an individual star or a few talented people. We have a lot of depth to our team.” In addition to the team effort, individual students and partners in different events brought home honors. Each of the nine entrants made it past initial rounds, getting to at least octafinalist rounds and winning as high as 10th place in individual categories.

And that’s no small feat, considering 3,200 students traveled to Kansas City for the tournament. There were 250 to 350 students represented in each event, according to the National Forensics League.

“The tournament was fantastic,” Dominguez said. “It obviously went very well for us, and we put in a lot of hard work.” Desert Vista’s team considers the entire season preparation for the national tournament, so the performance at nationals culminates a whole year of work, Dominguez said.

However, the team does have a special nationals preparation period that takes them through the experience of the intense national tournament schedule. A typical speech and debate tournament has students competing in three to seven round over the course of a weekend, but the national tournament requires six to 17 rounds over the course of a whole week, Dominguez said.

“Our goal is that we get on the plane to go to nationals doing everything we can to be as successful as we can at the tournament.”


Individual results include:

Megan McHugh - 10th place - Lincoln Douglass Debate Brittany Stanchik and Greg Hietala - 10th place - Public Forum Debate Brendan Porter - Semifinalist - Congressional Debate Dillon Olmanson and Holly Nordquist - Quarterfinalist - Duo Interpretation Casey Cantor - Octafinaist - Dramatic Interpretation, Semifinalist - Poetry Interpretation Priyanka Atreya - Octafinalist - Expository Speaking Joseph Kim - Quarterfinalist - Impromptu Speaking Sammi Saunders - Octafinalist - Prose Speaking Mike Mazzella - Finalist - Prose Speaking - 5th place

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