Angelina Nicolosi, CFNN Reporter and Editor

The last speech and debate tournament of this semester was an astounding success, especially for congressional debate students.

Stephen Smith and Riley Mengle, both novice competitors, experienced some of their first competition this Saturday. Smith placed 5th, while Mengle placed 3rd and was awarded top novice.

“I’m so beyond proud of our novice kids. Seriously. I was beaming with pride every time they spoke and I was honestly worried one of them would place higher than me,” said senior captain Angelina Nicolosi, who placed second.

“In practice, they’re super worried and doubt their abilities to perform well. But Saturday’s competition proved to me that they’re just absolutely fantastic at it. I honestly think both of them could go to nationals next year. I’m so blown away!”

Congressional debate students posing with Coach Lucas

Coach Chris Lucas beamed with pride after the competition.

“The coaches are very proud of the debate team’s result from Saturday’s tournament.  The team has worked hard to compete against schools that have an entire class devoted towards debate practice. This was a huge result for Cape Fear debate, we had Angelina place 2nd, her best result yet,” Lucas said. 

“Then newcomers Riley and Stephen finished 3rd and 5th, which is incredible for anyone, let alone their first tournament! And not to mention that Nisa and Asha added to their success with finishing 2nd in duo. Cape Fear Speech and Debate keeps on doing big things in our first year back.” 

Speech came across some difficulties, largely in part due to the structure of competition. Usually speech has five rounds of competitions and finals. As this competition was not part of the Dogwood Speech and Debate League, there were only four rounds of competition without finals. This gave less chances to accrue points, and didn’t give assurance as to who the top six would be.

Nisa and Asha Sheikh placed second in duo interpretation. The rest of the speech competitors didn’t place, but still performed extremely well and gained valuable experience to use moving forward. Responding to this tournament’s feedback is important for the team, as the next tournament isn’t until February.   

“Cape Fear Speech and Debate students have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with.  We have built up a lot of momentum, with more and more students placing at each tournament of our 4 tournaments this year, and placing higher,” Coach Amy Lucas said. 

“However, we are not resting on our laurels.  We are taking feedback we receive at each tournament and will use this to be even more competitive in the spring semester as we move on to district and state tournaments.”

Speech and debate not being a class only adds to the impressiveness of their performance. Most schools dedicate a block of each day to prep and practice; Cape Fear meets twice a week for an hour and a half. The rest of the hard work put in is individually, making it like something of a class in itself.

The team’s dedication has proven itself time and time again with impressive performances at competitions and passion bursting from Mrs. Lucas’ practice room every Tuesday and Thursday.

Speech and debate returns next semester, with a few tournaments in February and a potential for a few in March. With new talent preparing for competition, things are looking up for the team.