Most teams end their competitive seasons with big games or group festivities, but Pacific Speech would rather board planes to Antwerp, Belgium and Huntington, W. Va. to compete against other schools from around the country before turning in for the summer.

The International Forensics Association, or IFA, hosts an annual tournament in various locations around the globe. After a week in Rome during 2012, this year’s competition is held in Antwerp, Belgium. Junior Bri Castellini will be making her third appearance on the international circuit, along with junior Colton Markham and sophomore Matthew Yasuoka, who will be in their second year abroad, and international-newcomer, sophomore Michael Sproles. The four students will travel with two coaches from March 8-17 to contend with other highly competitive programs from around the country.

Forensics, or speech and debate, is unlike many sports and activities in that their competitive season begins in October and has potential to continue until the end of April, ranging in location from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast and all across Europe. Meets are usually comprised of 10 to 30 schools where students compete in both debate and speaking events across several divisions.

Throughout the year, Pacific’s speech and debate team has competed across the Northwest in various speaking events. Lewis & Clark College, Lower Columbia College, Linfield College, Clark College, Western Washington University and Oregon State University all received visits from the Boxers, seeing anywhere from six to 12 competitors at a time. The team’s efforts were never in vain; nearly every member of the team brought home at least one award sometime during the season.

Director of Forensics at Pacific, Dan Broyles, is continually impressed with the team this year. “Despite having a very young team, mostly compromised of underclassmen, mainly freshmen, we raised the bar for competition. In order to travel, we expected students to be competing in four events at the open level versus the novice or junior division. Not only did our freshmen rise to the occasion, they managed it in the first half of the year. The team has surpassed expectations and made for a remarkable season. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.”

Deserving special recognition for his accomplishments is Yasuoka, who was awarded 2nd overall speaker in the Northwest Forensics Conference. His performances in impromptu and extemporaneous speaking were particularly noteworthy, as he took home awards in both events during almost every tournament he attended.

In April, the team will make their final trip of the year to Huntington, W. Va. for the National Forensics Association April 18-22. Though the competitors will vary, Assistant Director of Forensics Jennifer Conner expects to take about five students on the journey.

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