Posted on: March 25, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Aidan McGuire

By Connor Dore, Multimedia Editor

After winning big at regionals over spring break, the Moraine Valley speech team is heading to nationals in St. Louis to compete against community college speech teams from across the country. Nationals, which begins Saturday, is a week-long event with multiple categories running throughout the week.

Co-coach Krista Appelquist compares the tournaments’ different events to a track meet: “If you join track, you might be a hurdler or a 100-yard dasher. We have that but we have persuasive speaking, informative speaking, humorous speaking, and then a whole slew of drama events, poetry, monologue, and dialogue where two competitors are talking to each other.”

Similar to a track meet, each individual’s score adds to the entire score of the team.

With multiple students placing in their respective categories, the Cyclones won gold–the equivalent of first place–at regionals, which took place over spring break at McHenry County College. Regionals includes community college speech teams from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Team captain Aidan McGuire was ecstatic with the way the tournament went.

“I’m really proud of how everyone performed,” he said. “We had two other events this spring that were online, so this is our first time technically being in person. There was a lot of new stuff too in terms of how the tournaments were run. I worked a lot with the team on preparing for that.”

Nearly everyone on the team placed in an event during regionals.

Photo by John Nash
The Moraine Valley speech team from left to right consists of Robert Murillo, Chayse Mueller, Ameet Dhaliwal, Alexis Lyons, team captain Aidan McGuire, Oswaldo Ocampo, Eliza Perkovich, Itzel Rojas and Eli Zwiesler.

McGuire himself earned four silver medals total in four separate categories: Prose Interpretation, Speaking to Entertain, Impromptu Speaking and Informative Speaking. He also earned the Individual Sweepstakes award for scoring the most points for his team.

Robert Murillo earned gold in Persuasive Speaking, silver in Dramatic Speaking, and bronze in Duo Interpretation.

Eliza Perkovich earned four bronze medals total in Duo Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Informative Speaking, and Program of Oral Interpretation.

Eli Zwiesler earned silver in Poetry and Program of Oral Interpretation, gold in Speaking to Entertain, and bronze in Dramatic Interpretation.

Oswaldo Ocampo earned gold in Dramatic Interpretation and two silver medals in Speaking to Entertain and Persuasive Speaking.

Itzel Rojas earned two silver medals in Dramatic Interpretation and Poetry. She also earned the Don Hagerty award, which is awarded to the student who best embodies forensic fellowship through competition, camaraderie and community.

Chayse Mueller earned two bronze medals in Program of Oral Interpretation and Speaking to Entertain.

The Cyclones’ success extends to their co-coach, John Nash, who won the Dennis Ross Award at the state tournament in early March. The special award is voted on by students from schools around the state, and is given to the person who has made a significant contribution to the speech and debate community.

With nationals around the corner, team members are helping coach each other so they can add to their list of accolades.

“Going into nationals, I know I’m coaching at least once or twice a day,” McGuire said. “We have four coaches right now that coach at least once a day. It’s mostly just fine-tuning at this point. We are placing and doing considerably well.”

McGuire says that some of the best preparation the team can do is getting into the right mindset and preparing, whether that includes “getting a fresh haircut, getting stuff packed, [or just] being as calm as possible.”

Nash is hopeful the team will place well, but also excited to have this competition back face-to-face.

“After two years of not having an in-person national tournament, I am hopeful that the members of team understand how amazing it will be to see competition from Florida to California and from Texas to Idaho,” Nash said. “We have a young team so this is a building year for us, but I am hopeful that we will hold our own.