Wooster Speech and Debate Team Celebrates Several Post Season Achievements

(March 9, 2018) – Wooster High School’s (WHS) Speech and Debate Team recently placed third in the state out of 89 teams at the annual Ohio Speech & Debate Association (OSDA) state tournament, which took place on March 2-3 at Sylvania Northview and Southview high schools.

With nearly 1,200 students competing across 13 events in both speech and debate, WHS’ team vied for one of the top six spots on stage. In the debate events, students strive to win one-on-one or two-on-two rounds, where each set of competitors is assigned to defend a topic as either “pro” or “con.”

At the tournament, WHS had numerous noteworthy performances, including Lexi Nolletti’s first place win in Informative Speaking, making her the state champion of this event. To win the event, Nolletti had to face off against fellow WHS team member Brynn Savidge in the semifinals round.

“I am so proud of Lexi and Brynn for making it to the final round in Informative Speaking,” said Bill Franck, WHS speech and debate team director. “It is rare achievement, and even more extraordinary to have the two teammates compete against each other.”

Savidge ended up taking fourth place in Informative Speaking. Additionally, members of the WHS team placed in the following events

  • Estelle Shaya/James Nielson – Semifinalists in Policy Debate
  • John Schmidt/Sophia VanSickle – Quarter-finalists in Policy Debate
  • Jacob Gooch – Fourth Place in Congressional Debate
  • Aleesha Vaughn – Third Place in Declamation
  • Dominique Nguyen – Semifinalist in Declamation
  • Evan Doan/Matt Lorentz – Quarter-finalists in DUO Interpretation
  • Erin O’Donnell – Quarter-finalist, Humorous Interpretation
  • Nick Cosmo – Semifinalist in International Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Alvin Makori – Third Place in Original Oratory
  • Cate Strong – Seventh Place in Program Oral Interpretation
  • Jon Michel – Quarter-finalist in United States Extemporaneous Speaking

According to Franck, the team had a particularly strong showing at this year’s state tournament, stacking the final rounds with several competitors from WHS. The team fell only nine points short of finishing in first place.

“Our students exemplified poise, dignity and excellence. They held their heads high in defeat and accepted their accolades with humility,” said Franck. “It has been a real joy and honor to work with this group this year and I am so proud of all of them. They have been an excellent group of ambassadors for Wooster this year.”

Additionally, several WHS students on the team were recently recognized as National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) Academic All-Americans. This coveted award recognizes academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success and personal excellence.

From more than 141,000 student members of the NSDA, fewer than 500 students earn the Academic All-American award each year. To be eligible for this award, students must complete at least five semesters of high school, earn the degree of Super Distinction in the NSDA Honor Society (a total of 750 or more merit points), achieve rigorous criteria for GPA and/or test score requirements and demonstrate outstanding character or leadership.

This year, eight WHS students have received an Academic All American designation, including: Lexi Nolletti, John Schmidt, Alexis Florence, John Gorman, Jonathan Michel, Erin O’Donnell, Nick Cosmo and James Nielson.