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Debate team wins big again

By Kevin Lin     2/22/12 6:00pm

Rice's speech and debate team sure can talk the talk. According to Forensics Director David Worth, Rice qualified in 26 speech and eight debate events for nationals this year.

"We had a really, really successful year," Worth said. "We have twice as many events qualified for nationals as last year, and we had a really good year last year."

Since December 2011, the George R. Brown Forensics Society has won around 80 trophies, Worth said. In addition, Martel College senior Katie Donovan qualified for the interstate Oratorical Competition, a highly selective speech competition that takes the top two persuasive speakers from every state.

"If you think of nationals as post-season play, you can think of this as post post-season play," Worth said. "It's the last thing. It's the most elite left standing."

Donovan said she has been with the Rice speech and debate team for all four years of college and also did speech and debate for four years in high school.

"It's been amazing," Donovan said. "I can't see myself doing anything else. I'm not sure what to do with myself after I graduate."

McMurtry College senior Kern Vijayvargiya is another member of the speech and debate team who is focused on the debate aspect of it.

"When you go into a debate round, it's all about what arguments you can make in that round to make your case," Vijayvargiya said. "It really teaches you to be self-reliant and not take anything for granted."

Unlike many university sports, which compete only in their respective divisions, Worth said that the speech and debate team competes with a variety of schools. Rice's current team usually consists of 15 to 20 students. They are required to compete eight times a season, amounting to four times a semester, though some compete more. Worth said that group practices are held on Tuesday, followed by individual coaching sessions for the rest of the week.

"Speech and debate is not a club," Worth said. "We're academic football."

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