Speech team places third in state tournament Saturday

Jennifer Mussig

Sweaty palms and butterflies cartwheeling in stomachs are any normal reaction to public speaking.

“I’m pretty much ready to throw up on myself when I go to speak,” said Beth Ann Sadowski, junior communication studies major, as she paused for a break between rounds Friday afternoon. “It’s all about putting on your game face.”


Limited Preparation and Public Address

Interpretive: prose, poetry

and duo interpretation

• Time limit is eight to 10 minutes.

• Contestants prepare a snippet of a piece of literature such as a poem, play or short story.

Limited Preparation: impromptu and extemporaneous speaking

• Contestants giving an impromptu speech receive a quote and have two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech.

• Extemporaneous speaking contestants select a question about a current event and have 30 minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech.

Public Address: informative

speaking, persuasive speaking,

after-dinner speaking and

rhetorical criticism

• Time limit is 10 minutes.

• Contestants give an informative or persuasive speech about new and innovated issues such as technology or medical advances. After-dinner

speaking is similar, but contestants use humor to make a serious point. Rhetorical criticism contestants are given a theory to criticize.

The members of the Kent State Speech Team brought their game faces to the Ohio Forensic Association State Varsity Speech & Debate Championship Tournament hosted by Kent State Friday and Saturday in Bowman Hall, Satterfield Hall and the Business and Administration Building. The team finished third in the Open Division Team Sweepstakes out of 13 schools. The winner of the tournament, Bowling Green, hadn’t won since 1971.

“The culmination of all our hard work is reflected in our placing,” said Jennifer Talbert, Kent State Speech Team coach. “It’s really amazing to see how well we did.”

Talbert said three reasons why the team is so successful are the closeness of its members, the team’s hard work and the simple fact that they are a talented group of students.

Sean Sarah, senior international relations major, competed in six events. Carrying a lot of events makes it more fun to compete, Sarah said, especially when preparing until 3 a.m. and waking up at 7 a.m. to compete.

There are three preliminary rounds with no more than six competitors to a round, Talbert said. The judge ranks the speakers first through sixth with the best speaker receiving a score of one. The speaker with the lowest cumulative score advances to the final, she added.

Talbert said when it comes to advancing to finals, the team has a saying.

“You keep your highs low and your lows high,” she said.

Talbert explained the saying meant not to cheer too loud when her team members advance and not to get too upset when they don’t. The whole program teaches professionalism, she added.

Sarah “broke” five of the six events he competed in, which qualified him to advance to the final round. He placed second behind teammate Sadowski in poetry interpretation. Sarah also placed first in persuasive speaking, which qualified him for the Interstate Oracle Competition for the second year in a row.

Sarah and Sadowski both won awards in the Trithon Individual Sweepstakes. To be eligible for this award, contestants must compete in at least three events, one in each category, Talbert said. Sadowski placed third while Sarah placed first for the second year in a row.

Sadowski brought home three first-place finishes for Kent State. She placed first in prose interpretation, poetry interpretation and public relations extemporaneous speaking.

“It’s Beth’s third year at the state tournament,” Talbert said. “She had never won a championship, and today she won three. I had a hard time not crying.”

Other members bringing home awards include junior theatre major Mary Norris, who placed first in duo interpretation with teammate Megan Gorey, freshman sign language major. Norris also placed second in prose interpretation and third in Dramatic Interpretation. Gorey also placed fourth in public relations extemporaneous. Jen Steer, sophomore broadcast journalism major and assistant Forum editor for the Daily Kent Stater, placed fourth in after-dinner speaking and fifth in impromptu speaking.

The Kent State Speech team won a total of 17 awards this weekend, which it will add to the previous 50 awards won by the team this year.

Contact buildings and grounds reporter Jennifer Mussig at [email protected].