Saddleback College Forensics Team competes in regionals

The Saddleback College Forensics Team took a win in two of five categories in a competition last weekend at Moorpark College in Simi Valley.The team’s win earned them a scholarship.

Michele Hardy, a 24-year-old communications major, competed in the novice level for dramatic interpretation and won third place receiving a trophy. Competitors must perform and win three preliminary rounds in order to “break” into the final round.

“When I broke to the next round I was shocked. When you are up there you have to be on point. You have to hold your book close to your body and be very still unless your blocking (intentional gestures and actions) enhances and describes the piece,” Hardy said. “It’s really difficult, especially because I like to talk with my hands. Blocking is important to engage the audience but if you are not doing it intentionally then the judges deduct points.”

The regional competition had 13 categories and according to each speech must submit to certain guidelines.

No speech can be over 10 minutes, competitors must maintain eye contact with the audience and judges, have intentional blocking or standing completely still, their breathing rhythm must be intentional, timed as to not disrupt the flow of the piece and in-audible. Other rules from their website include cutting out filler words i.e.: “ummm,” “like,” and “you know.”

Hardy had chosen a piece based on a wife who murders her husband and her lack of remorse.

“A lot of people did humor or typical pieces. A lot of people messed up their lines,” Hardy said. “Even the best I was competing against had problems. Even the guy who placed first had messed up on his lines.”

Pegah Katouzan, a 22-year-old performing arts major, competed with the forensics team at Saddleback College before but broke for the first time. She had no prior experience acting and thought this was the perfect way to expose herself to the medium.

“I want to do film acting, it’s my main squeeze,” Katohuzan said. “Doing this is like practice for me. I don’t have acting experience so it was rad to break into finals.”

She won fourth place in the dramatic interpretation category and received a medal. She performed her piece on “model problems” where an L.A. model discovers the scene is a façade.

“The competition was a little intimidating because there were 30 schools and it’s the spring championships. It’s make it or break it before Nationals so everyone is on their ‘A’ game,” Katouzan said. “My coaches have worked with me really well. They’ve pushed me, critiqued me and motivated me. They don’t sugar coat anything. It really put me on my toes.”

Saddleback College competes in two forensics tournaments. The regional’s leads to an invitation to nationals. The team is coached by Larry Radden, Heidi Ochoa, and Lucas Ochoa.

“It helps a lot. Joining this team helps you break out of your shell,” Katouzan said.

For more information contact Larry Radden forensics co-director and speech instructor.
(949) 582-4909