UA debate team shines

While the nation’s eyes are focused upon the presidential debates, the University of Akron debate team turned a few heads of its own.
Last weekend UA’s debate team, led by coach Mark Rittenour, competed in two separate tournaments at George Mason University.
On Saturday, Akron placed third out of 17 schools in the competition.  Sophomore Katie Giglia, a communications major, placed third overall in individual sweepstakes and placed second in Prose Interpretation, third in Poetry Interpretation, and fourth in Dramatic Interpretation.  First-year sophomore Kirill Zelin placed fifth in Impromptu Speaking. On Sunday, Akron placed fourth overall, and Giglia placed first in Poetry Interpretation, second in Program of Oral Interpretation, fourth in Prose Interpretation, and fifth in Dramatic Interpretation.  She also placed third overall out of over 100 speakers.
Everyone’s really excited to see the level of competition we were against and how well the team was able to do, said Rittenour.
Times have been rough for UA’s speech and debate team since the stellar class of 2005’s departure.
Though Akron boasts its largest team (16) in years, only eight students travelled to the tournaments on Saturday.  The biggest surprise: only 2 members of the entire team had ever competed collegiately before.
Giglia, who made the varsity squad last year as a freshman, has stepped up to lead the team.
We knew that she had a lot of potential, recalls Rittenour, so over the summer and in the early fall she had been preparing her events, and obviously her preparation paid off very well.
Last year, Giglia earned spots at both national tournaments and placed well in the state tournament.
Speech and debate tournaments have three core genres in competition: interpretation of literature, prepared public address and public address with limited preparation.
In the past, Akron has been known for its poetry interpretation, but this year’s team is much better all-around.
This is the most diverse team that we’ve ever had, contends Rittenour.