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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Villiger wins States

Villager Speech and Debate Team members pose with their first place trophy (Photo by Rose Weldon ’19).

Speech and debate team captures second championship in a row

During a weekend long event held on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 at West Chester University, Saint Joseph’s University’s own Villiger Speech and Debate Team won the Pennsylvania Forensic Association’s (PFA) State Championships for the second year in a row.

Six members of the team represented St. Joe’s at the two-day tournament: Julian Lutz, ’19, Christopher Pendleton, ’19, Jessica Olszyk, ’19, Tom Hauk, ’20, Brian Flatley, ’20, and Kelvin Amartey, ’20. The team competed in 11 events and received a combined 20 medals in addition to the overall prize.

Lutz, the president of Villiger, said on the morning of Feb. 19 that the team’s energy was better than usual for States, most likely a result of the competition’s close proximity to campus this year.

“We were all tired by the end of the first day,” Lutz said. “But this tournament is unusual in that we usually get more sleep.”

Feb. 18 saw the team compete in preliminary rounds for their events, along with representatives from schools such as Penn State University, Wilkes University, and Lafayette College. On Feb. 19, the team returned for semifinal and final rounds, and the weekend was wrapped up with an award ceremony later that day.

Dave Tuason, ’03, is one of the team’s volunteer coaches and an alumnus of the Villiger team, who mainly focuses on Dramatic and Oral Interpretation.

“I think the team is very eager to learn,” said Tuason. “They’re all very talented, and really want to improve their craft every day.”

In addition to the tournament, Feb. 19 included an hour long student meeting, where the gathered schools were led by two student delegates, including Lutz, and discussed their experiences at the tournament and how it could be improved in 2018. The meeting concluded with the election of another two delegates, with one being Flatley.

Flatley received six medals at his first collegiate state tournament, and was named State Champion in the Oral Interpretation event.

“Overall, it was great to see some really cool competition,” Flatley said. “West Chester and Penn State had really great showings, and overall [it was a] really great weekend. I really enjoyed being with the team.”

In addition to his Oral Interpretation win, Flatley placed fifth in the Quadrathon, fourth in both Impromptu and Prose, third in Duo Dramatic Interpretation with Olszyk, and second in Dramatic Interpretation.

As for the rest of the team, Amartey placed fourth in Dramatic Interpretation and Poetry, and Hauk placed third in Persuasive and first in Communication Analysis. Pendleton placed fifth in After Dinner Speaking, third in Informative, and second in Impromptu, while Olszyk placed sixth in the Quadrathon, third in both Dramatic Interpretation and Duo Dramatic Interpretation, the latter with Flatley, and second in Prose.

Rounding out the team was Lutz, who placed third in After Dinner Speaking, second in both the Quadrathon and Informative, and first in both Extemporaneous and Persuasive. His win in the latter event will send him to the Interstate Oratory Conference, which will take place at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette later this year.

Overall, the team is looking to continue the streak.

“I’m hoping for more success,” Flatley said. “We were able to get a state championship this year, that was great, so I’m hoping for more in the future.”

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