Traveling to the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla., the Heritage Speech and debate team brought 50 students to compete at the Blue Key Invitational. With a weekend full of events, the Heritage team had many students place high in their category.
The tournament lasted from Friday to Saturday. Friday night, students participated in the round robin – a small tournament where only the best teams get invited to all debate against each other. Out of the participants from Heritage who were involved in the round robin, public forum debaters junior Isaac Ratzan and senior Vladamir Volodomyr Zhuravskyy came in second, extemporaneous debater senior Juliette Reyes came in second, and Lincoln Douglas debater senior Perry Beckett also came in second.
Saturday and Sunday night, the full tournament took place and both speech and debate competitors from Heritage held their own. Debaters in Public Forum (PF), Lincoln Douglas (LD) and Extemporaneous speaking did well enough to advance to elimination rounds.
In LD, sophomore Prateek Gupta finished in the round of sixty-four, junior Anika Dham and sophomore Emilin Mathew made it to the round of thirty-two and Beckett finished in first place. In PF, four varsity teams advanced to the playoff rounds of the tournament, but all of them dropped in the round with the top thirty-two teams. In Extemporaneous speaking, Reyes finished in first place, winning the tournament.
The speech team also had many participants final in numerous events at the tournament. In Humorous Interpretation (HI), three students earned spots in the semifinal round: sophomore Saatvik Kaul, sophomore Oliver Lazcko and senior Courtney Medwin. In the Oratory category, Kaul also made it to semifinals and senior Jana Kelly finished in first place. In Program Oral Interpretation (POI), sophomore Abby Canalejo came in third place, and in duo interpretation, Canalejo and Medwin both came in second place.
Overall, the team had many individuals place at a national tournament, and earned first place in sweepstakes, which is an award for overall performance. This meant a lot to the program as, “Blue Key is a national-level tournament with some of the best teams across the country,” Ratzan said.