Student Voice

Over 35 schools compete at weekend forensics championship

Students+from+schools+stretching+across+the+pacific+southwest+study+in+between+competitions+inside+Fountain+Hall.+The+Fall+Championship+is+the+final+forensics+tournament+of+the+fall+semester.+Photo+credit%3A+Nicole+Szczepanek
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Over 35 schools compete at weekend forensics championship

Students from schools stretching across the pacific southwest study in between competitions inside Fountain Hall. The Fall Championship is the final forensics tournament of the fall semester. Photo credit: Nicole Szczepanek

Students from schools stretching across the pacific southwest study in between competitions inside Fountain Hall. The Fall Championship is the final forensics tournament of the fall semester. Photo credit: Nicole Szczepanek

Students from schools stretching across the pacific southwest study in between competitions inside Fountain Hall. The Fall Championship is the final forensics tournament of the fall semester. Photo credit: Nicole Szczepanek

Students from schools stretching across the pacific southwest study in between competitions inside Fountain Hall. The Fall Championship is the final forensics tournament of the fall semester. Photo credit: Nicole Szczepanek

By Nicole Szczepanek

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Community colleges and universities across the Pacific Southwest traveled to Moorpark College last weekend to compete in the Forensics Fall Championships.

From Friday, Dec. 1 to Sunday, Dec. 3, a total of 37 speech and debate teams occupied Raider territory to compete in the final tournament of the fall semester. Moorpark College’s nationally ranked forensics team faced an array of competition, standing their ground with 12 medals in non-debate, 3 bronze and 2 gold medals in Parliamentary Debate and 3 bronze with 1 gold medal in Open International Public Debate.

In nearly 50 years, the ranking of Moorpark’s forensics team has never dropped below 8th in the nation. For 21-year-old Political Science major, Jennifer Pezzuto, this highly esteemed reputation sets the bar for every year’s team.

“There’s so much at stake because Moorpark has such a legacy,” said Pezzuto. “We don’t want to disappoint.”

Pezzuto received a bronze in Parliamentary Debate alongside her debate partner. This is her second and last year on forensics, and her seniority on the team encourages success within newcomers.

“Last year we had one returner and many new people, but this year we have alot more people returning,” said Pezzuto. “It’s just very different, and depends on how much time we put into preparation before competitions.”

Moorpark carries about 20 active students on their forensics team, and acknowledges that practicing is crucial to upholding their respected title. Preparing for tournaments includes one-on-one coaching sessions and weekly practices.

“This is, in my eyes, the last warm-up tournament that will lead into more important tournaments next semester,” said Will White, 18, Political Science major. “I feel that if I don’t prove myself here, I really need to pick it up,” said White.

Competitors felt the pressure to achieve, as the presence of major schools such as San Francisco State University and Northern Arizona University added to the level of difficulty.

“My coach loves coming to this tournament and competing against Moorpark teams because they have a reputation of being really good,” said Hannah Krauski of Point Loma Nazarene University, 18, Communication major.

Earning medals and breaking in eliminations is the most sought after outcome of the championship, however, the ultimate takeaway is what will resonate within participants.

“I like being apart of forensics because it’s just something I’m passionate about,” said San Diego Mesa College’s Jescel Ocampo, 19, Business major. “There are many current issues that the world doesn’t like to talk about and being on a platform where you can have a conversation about those things is very reassuring, and makes you feel that we are taking the first steps as leaders in society to address these issues by taking action.”

Moorpark may have a chance to go to Nationals for the second year in a row, depending on their success in the State Championships during spring semester.

“It feels good to win, and all of my friends are on this team,” said Pezzuto. “That’s what makes it fun.”

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About the Writer
Nicole Szczepanek, Staff Writer

I am a 19-year-old Communications major, finishing my second and final year at Moorpark College before I transfer to either UCSB or UCSD in Fall 2018....

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