by Olivia Skeans
The RHS Speech & Debate team is starting its season off strong under the direction of new head coach Karissa Talty, bringing home 16 trophies from its second tournament at Willard.
This is Talty’s first year taking over the program, replacing previous head coach Sarah Petroff. She says that stepping into the role has been fairly seamless and that she and Petroff do many things similarly.
“…The students have embraced my entrance into the scene, and have maintained a positive environment even when I add work or expectations that they did not have before. This has made the transition easier than I expected it to be,” explains Talty. ”We are really working this year on finding the place on the team that each person excels. There are so many event options for debaters, and we want to find each person’s niche. I am hoping to continue on Ms. Petroff’s growth of the program, and also the student’s desire to win…”
Junior Speech & Debate member Silas Howard says that Talty has brought a “winning culture” to Republic, securing the team’s reputation as being a competitive debate school despite being smaller than many of its competitors.
“Coach Talty has stepped in wonderfully to the role of head coach. Under Coach Talty, practice has become much more emphasized and encouraged and preparation has been established as the most important responsibility our team has,” says Howard. “Heading into Willard, I felt like I had done an adequate job to prepare and be ready to go. There’s still that always present feeling of nervousness, knowing you’ll be debating the best each school has to offer. But we ultimately got a great result from Willard, and that comes from all the work we did leading up to the tournament.”
With many objectives set for competition such as qualifying at least five students to nationals and having a student continue to top 32 in the nation, Talty says that her ultimate goal is seeing the students accomplish their own.
Phillip Latamondeer – 1st International Extemporaneous Speaking
Makenzie Tyson – 2nd US Extemporaneous Speaking, 1st Informative Speaking
Garrett Silvey – 4th Informative Speaking, 4th Public Forum Debate
Silas Howard – 4th Public Forum Debate
Evelyn Tippie – 4th Humorous Interpretation
Victoria Ogbeifun – 6th Original Oratory
Brady Usgaard – 3rd Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Samantha Determan – 3rd Public Forum Debate
Talonah Sterling – 3rd Public Forum Debate
Tarina Amant – 4th Public Forum
Kaylin Moore – 4th Public Forum Debate, 3rd US Extemporaneous Speaking, 3rd Dramatic Interpretation
Lori Ann Mclellan – 4th Policy Debate
Madison Liska – 4th Policy Debate