The Forensics team had one of the most successful performances in Marshfield history at the OSAA Speech and Debate tournament this year. The team received four awards, with senior Quinn Earle earning the four-year award, senior Mackenzie Stueve placing third in expository speaking and junior April Platt placing first in after dinner speech (ADS) and the team placing second overall. Earle said the team had high expectations for the state tournament, and while she described it as a rocky and exhausting journey, she said it was well worth it to be awarded with the second place trophy.
“I’m blown away. I’ve been waiting for this moment since freshman year. I've been to the state tournament for four years and I'm one of the only seniors here at Marshfield that can really say that,” Earle said. “It's definitely an exciting moment.”
According to Earle, the team would not have had the success they did without head coach Kayla Crook.
“She made us practice constantly. If we hadn't listened to coach none of us would've made it to the second day [of the tournament],” Earle said. “She is definitely there for us when we need it.”
Despite receiving a state championship award, Platt said she was not confident with her piece upon entering the tournament.
“When I first went to the tournament I was incredibly insecure about my piece and my performance abilities,” Platt said. “I got into that final round and some people came with me and for some reason, I don’t know, I guess I just projected more because I got really good scores and I performed live. Just finding out that I won was so confusing because I spent the whole tournament feeling like I didn’t even deserve to be there. It was just a very good experience.”
Platt said the support of her team was comforting.
“The constant support they showed me and their enthusiasm over me making it to state and making it to semifinals and performing on the stage in front of 500 people, it just really helped me through it. It made me believe my ADS was worth something or someone might want to hear it,” Platt said.
Prior to the tournament, Crook said she hoped for a trophy, but it was important for the students to instill a competitive attitude in the program nevertheless.
“Obviously every coach wants their team to win, but what is important to me and Mr. Scheirman is that Marshfield stays on the map for speech and debate,” Crook said.
Earle said what the team accomplished this year has never occurred at Marshfield before.
“This is the first time in history Marshfield High School has ever won second place at the state tournament. This is the highest we have ever been, so we just made history,” Earle said. “It’s really exciting and I’m so glad we can say that.”
For some students, this is not the end of speech and debate for the school year.
From July 12 to 17, seniors Anya Caro-Wiley, Earl and Stueve and junior Rachel Simon will attend the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
According to Crook, the national competition is completely separate from the state competition. Students earned a spot in the national tournament by placing first or second in the National Qualifying tournament (nat quals) held at the University of Oregon in March.
“Nat quals is part of the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA),” Crook said. “It’s an honor society each of the kids receives a membership for after receiving a certain amount of points.”
These points are awarded based on performance at every tournament through the duration of the school year. When one receives 25 points, they are awarded with an NSDA membership of merit and are able to compete at nat quals.
The points the team makes as a whole determines the number of students who can attend the National Qualifier competition to earn a spot at Nationals. Marshfield also received the leading chapter award from accumulated points, which was awarded to 403 members of the forensics team that attended Marshfield from 2003 to 2015.
“It’s an award given to all of the kids. It’s about the dedication of the team,” Crook said. “It’s a reflection of our community and in general, our team.”
Simon and Earle are going to compete in dual interpretation, where competitors are given ten minutes to make the characters from a piece of literature come to life in their own way without touching or looking at their partner.
Stueve qualified to compete at the national competition for both program oral interpretation and informative, but is only allowed to compete in one. She chose informative, and will perform a piece about swearing.
“I’m really excited to meet people from all over the country and to see how other states do the events I’m performing in,” Stueve said. “I’m intrigued to see what a state like New York does in comparison to Oregon.”
Caro is going to compete on the world's debate team. To qualify for this event, all coaches come together to select the top ten debaters from other schools in the Southern Oregon district. She will debate along with four other students from three different schools.
Speech and debate captain Mason Blohm said these individuals were able to reach this level of competition due to their dedication and hard work.
“At practice they’re always the four people that will keep going at it over and over again,” Blohm said. “They work at it a lot.”
According to Crook, Marshfield’s speech and debate program receives great support from the administration and community. Phorehnziks Nite is one of the main fundraisers for the team. According to Stueve, Phorehnziks Nite provides a chance for students to show the community what it is like to be on the speech and debate team.
“It gives us exposure,” Stueve said. “It gives people a chance to see what speech and debate is all about. [The students] have been dedicated to these pieces since September, October and put a lot of hard work into them, and it gives them a chance to show off.”
Phorehnziks Night will be held May 12 from 6-9 p.m. in the Marshfield cafeteria. Bennetti’s is providing food for $10 a plate, and there will be a silent auction. Forensics students will be handing out tickets to the event two weeks prior.
According to Earle, the team will be performing a mix of events, and for the ten seniors, it is like a final hoorah. Both Earle and Stueve said they enjoyed being a part of forensics and will miss the team when they leave.
“They are the goofiest people I have ever known,” Earle said. “All the hard work and the tears are definitely worth it.”
“The whole team overall, we had about eight people semifinal. For every person that semifinals for your school you get two points. The school with the most points overall receives an award, divided by the amount of people you have. Since we have 23 people on our team we are a 4A school. We received second placed for the most points gained by a 4A school and we lost by two points,” Platt said.
. She said unlike the competition she faced who had practiced their speeches all year, she had only written her ADS two weeks in advance.
“It made me feel a lot better. Honestly, before I went I felt like that fact that my ADS wasn’t very good was the elephant in the livingroom in a way,” Platt said.