IVC Forensics team sweeps the floor at Nationals

IVC’s Forensics Team took home 11 awards total, and placed as the top overall team, winning sweepstakes, and with seven debate awards received the Gold as the top debate squad. (Courtesy of IVC)

Sarah Black

Seven students from Irvine Valley College walked away from Phi Rho Pi Community College National Championships with awards for speech or debate in Greenwich, Conn., April 11 to 16.

Nationals held a total of 58 colleges, with 375 students competing in a number of competitions, and is known to be the largest full-service tournament in the U.S.

IVC’s Forensics Team took home 11 awards total, and placed as the top overall team, winning sweepstakes, and with seven debate awards received the Gold as the top debate squad.

According to Co-Director of Forensics Edwin Tiongson, the entire debate team, which is also known as the class Speech 106 Forensics Activity, consists of 20 to 25 people, but only the seven were allowed to Nationals.

The seven chosen were picked because they could devote the amount of time and dedication needed to win the national tournament, Tiongson said.

Each student participated in multiple competitions, usually around two or three each.

Only two returning members from last year, Jason Hong, 29, debate team co-captain, who won a gold award for Lincoln-Douglas debate and shared a silver in the Parliamentary debate with his returning member and co-captain, George Talavera.

“I feel we did ridiculously well,” Hong said.

“We have a very open team dynamic where everyone has a voice,” Hong said. “It has been and honor and pleasure to be on a team where every member put in the time and dedication necessary to become national champions.”

Hong said the team was able to pick up on the momentum from last year and continue to step it up, even with a whole new team.

“I really enjoyed was how we came together as a team. We all became friends and supported each other throughout the entire season,” Hong said. “I felt like I had their backs and that the supported me through the good times as well as the bad.”

But preparation was no easy task, said team member Xavier Gomez, 24, business/communications, who won gold for both impromptu speaking and programmed oral interpretation of literature, and has an accumulated 27 awards for the 2010-2011 competitive year.

“Preparation was challenging,” Gomez said. “I had to read the news daily and stay current on every major and minor event world wide for debate.”

As for practicing his actual speeches and debates, he put in about seven to eight hours a week with the entire coaching staff in private for all three of his competitions, not including team meetings held Wednesdays and Fridays, which last about two to four hours.

“I also practiced at home and in public to get over nervousness and anticipation of negative feelings,” Gomez said. “If you asked me eight months ago, was I capable of accomplishing what I have, I would have laughed and asked you that you were living on another planet!”

All Gomez, Hong and Tiongson expressed their gratitude in having won the awards and how proud they were of the team as a whole.

“We are honored and blessed to do so well at Phi Rho Pi,” Tiongson said. “Nationals is a tough tournament.”

“We use the five Ps as means to be successful… preparation and practice prevent poor performance. This year it showed.”

This activity has not only opened up doors for me but expanded my mind and the way I approach and handle life situations,” Gomez said. “I only pray this activity continues to expand and grow to effect those who are looking to make a difference and find a new way to further their education and challenge themselves in ways they have ever been challenged before.”  

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