Monday, February 17, 2020

Oregon State University’s Forensics (speech and debate) Team hosted the 13th Annual Earl Wells Memorial Speakeasy speech and debate tournament on the OSU campus on Feb. 15 and 16. A regional tradition, the tournament featured nearly a dozen schools including: Weber State University, Ogden, Utah; College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls; and Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, Idaho.

“The response to our tournament was, as always, humbling,” said Mark Porrovecchio, director of the team.  “It was also great to see our team do so well while pulling double-duty hosting other schools.”

Senior Ethan Liu, a psychology major from Corvallis, took first place and was best overall speaker in Novice IPDA Debate, and also took first place in novice impromptu speaking. Freshman Tasha Robinson, a public health major from Hillsboro, took first place and was third best speaker in Open IPDA Debate. She also competed in open prose interpretation.

The wins continued with sophomore Theresa Mai, a psychology major from Portland, who was fourth best speaker and a quarterfinalist in Novice IPDA Debate; freshman Milan Donhowe, a computer science major from Portland, who was tenth best speaker and a quarterfinalist in Open IPDA Debate. Sophomore Brandy Quach, a sociology and civil engineering major from Portland, who took fourth place in open impromptu speaking and also competed in Open IPDA Debate; Junior Mikayla Heston, a kinesiology major from Boring, took fourth place in open persuasive speaking and also competed in open impromptu speaking; freshman Megan Baus, a general engineering student from Salem, who took first place in open program oral interpretation and was fifth place in open dramatic interpretation; sophomore Anna Heslinga, an environmental science major from Salem, who took fifth place in novice impromptu speaking and also competed in Novice IPDA Debate; sophomore Simon Millsap, a business information systems major from Portland, who took sixth place in open impromptu speaking and also competed in Open IPDA Debate; and senior Uwe Keist, a political science major from Corvallis, who won the fourth best speaker award in Open IPDA Debate while also competing in open impromptu speaking.

Also attending the tournament were junior Sachin Betrabet, a computer science major from Corvallis, who participated in Open IPDA Debate and open impromptu speaking; sophomore Kaitlyn Blake, a management major from Walnut Creek, Calif., who competed in open impromptu speaking and Open IPDA Debate; sophomore Nick Azimi, an environmental science major from Lake Oswego, who competed in Novice IPDA Debate and novice impromptu speaking; and Tegan Kennedy, a psychology major from Huntington Beach, Calif.

As a result of the team’s impressive performance, they took the third place sweepstakes award in the four year college and university division.

The team was coached by graduate assistant Kaden Meyers of Sandy. Meyers, a former student competitor for OSU, is now a MAIS student in the speech communication area of the School of Arts and Communication. Also helping the team at the tournament were Evan Steele and Forest Ledbetter, alumni who both competed on the team and then served as assistant coaches while pursuing their MAIS degrees

“These sorts of victories are a result of teamwork and the support of members both past and present,” said Porrovecchio. “I think other teams look forward to our tournament because we provide them with a competitive and interpersonally-focused experience.”

Celebrating its 127th season, OSU Forensics is one of the oldest clubs on campus and a member of the Performing Arts Board in the School of Arts and Communication.  The team is open to all students in good academic standing regardless of experience or academic background.  If you are a student interested in participating, or a member of the community who would like to support the team, please contact Porrovecchio at mark.porrovecchio@oregonstate.edu.

Pictured (l-r): Tegan Kennedy, Theresa Mai, Uwe Keist, Victoria Elligsen, Sachin Betrabet, Kaitlyn Blake, Simon Millsap, Tasha Robinson, Milan Donhowe, Megan Baus, Anna Heslinga, Kaden Meyers, Brandy Quach, Ethan Liu, and Nick Azimi; (center) Mikayla Heston.