UK Speech and Debate hosts tournament, awards Marion University 41 trophies

Sarah Ladd

Students from 21 different colleges in seven different states gathered at UK this weekend at the invitation of UK Speech and Debate.

The team hosts events at UK each year. This year’s tournament took place on Friday and Saturday.

Competitors spent time on UK’s campus between rounds, trying to relieve their nerves.

The Marion University team has been around for a while, but this is the debate team’s first year ever. The members still struggle with nerves, they said.

“We always overcome, though,” team member Nick Sitzman said on Friday.

Sitzman was right. He and his teammates won the tournament with a total of 41 trophies.

Team member Rayna Onate said all the nerves faded on Saturday.

“I was nervous for debate, but this morning, I got to my events, and I was just excited, even for things I had never done before,” Onate said.

Maresa Kelly, a member of the Marion team’s executive council, received five trophies.

“It’s a really great feeling when a small school can come out and do so well at an event like this,” Kelly said.

Marion, which is located in Wisconsin, has just over 2,000 students.

The team smiled as they left the awards ceremony in Kincaid Auditorium with trophies in hand.

“Speech is the reason I’m alive,” team member Katie Mantooth said.

Approximately 240 trophies were awarded in total, UK Speech and Debate president Matt Karijolic said.

He said the team learns a lot from hosting these events. While they could not compete as hosts, the team members had to coordinate and organize the whole event.

“The teamwork is amazing, because we all have to work together,” Karijolic said.

After the awards ceremony, he said the event was a success with no complications.

“All the teams had great things to say about our campus,” he said. “So this not only markets our team well, it markets our school.”