The Brownson Speech and Debate Team champions itself to the top as students rack up 56 awards already for this year.
Nine of its students traveled to George Mason University, Fairfax,
Virginia, for a double header forensics tournament over a recent
weekend, where they won the First Place Team Sweepstakes Award. The team
was up against more than 10 schools including University of Florida,
James Madison University, Sarah Lawrence College, St. Joseph’s
University and Pacific University.
Seton Hall University left the tournament as overall Champion and
with sophomore Chris Fielder named the Individual Speaker Champion.
Catherine Zizik, director of forensics and of the Brownson Team,
said: "I am always proud of the dedication and talent of these students.
This team is particularly young, consisting of freshmen and sophomore
members. The excitement grows when I think about our future as a team
knowing they have many great years left with more students on the way.
We are positioned well to be an even greater national force."
Zizik explained that at tournaments, students deliver about five
different speeches, each five to 10 minutes long, as many as three times
a day for each speech. Some may give up to 40 speeches in two days. On
top of it all, the locations for each speech change, so students have to
run from room to room all day to be critiqued and judged.
"The students don't just walk in and receive a medal or trophy for an
artifact," Zizik said. "Their words, thoughts, hearts and passions are
being judged. In order to be successful, they must love speech -- and
At the Saturday competition, 19 awards were earned by the Brownson
team. Fielder took first place in Impromptu Speaking, second in
Extemporaneous Speaking, third in Persuasive Speaking, and was a
finalist in Communication Analysis, adding up to his big win as Top
Speaker in the tournament. Top final placements also included Megan
Ferguson who won four awards, including second in Impromptu Speaking and
third in Top Speaker.
Freshman speaker Siobban McGirl reached the final round in three
events, and Stephanie Gomulka and Abby Deely pulled in trophies as well
at their events on Saturday.
Sunday yielded more amazing results with 24 trophies earned by
Brownson. For this competition, all eyes were on Fielder and Gomulka,
both only sophomores, as they tied for First Place Overall Individual
"The competition days are long, but fun and rewarding," Gomulka said. "The people I have met through the speech community, from my fellow
team members to new friends across the country, have been amazing. I am
proud to be a winner in my events, but even more proud to represent
Seton Hall with my talented teammates."
The individual Sunday awards included Gomulka in first place for
Dramatic Interpretation and Program Oral Interpretation, Fielder in
first for Communication Analysis and Extemporaneous Speaking, Deely in
third for Extemporaneous and After Dinner Speaking and Ferguson in
second for Impromptu Speaking. Also, freshmen winners included Allison
Riggenbach in fifth place for Extemporaneous Speaking, Kenneth Spudic in
fourth for After Dinner Speaking and Siobban McGirl in third for
Program Oral Interpretation. Giancarlo Carnavale and Emily Jereb also
contributed points to the team win.
Ryan Dicovitsky, head coach of the Brownson Speech and Debate Team,
said he is especially proud of this team because of how young they are.
"As a former student at Seton Hall and member of the Brownson Speech
and Debate Team, perhaps the most remarkable observation I can make
about our team’s success is their level of work ethic. As an extremely
young team, all our competitors were freshmen or sophomores, so it is
laudable that they exhibit a level of commitment and passion for their
craft that coaches usually expect to see from seniors," Dicovitsky said.
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