San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 1st, 2010
SMHS ‘Stanford 16’ head for debate tournament

012910smithsonThe “Stanford Sixteen” are California bound.


At school they are called the “Stanford 16,” those sixteen students from the San Marcos High School (SMHS) speech and debate team who are headed to Palo Alto, CA, to compete in the Stanford University Invitational Tournament from Feb 5-7.  They will spend the whole weekend there competing in various events, from student congress to extemporaneous speaking, with teams from all over the country.

Speech and debate coach C.J. Odam reports that teams from all 50 states have participated in this tournament in the past.

“It will serve as an excellent opportunity to show the country what San Marcos truly has, ” said Odam. The team is coached by Odam and his sister Lacye.

The trip has taken a year’s worth of preparation and fund raising. A Battle of the Bands, sponsored by students and teachers, helped to raise funds for the trip, as well as solicited donations by individual students.

SMHS Junior Brittany Howard said, “I’m excited to see what I can do against some of the very best.”

For some students the challenge may not be the competition, but the travel. Freshman team member Frankie Torres said, “I am really looking forward to the trip, but I’m not looking forward to the flying.”

Students will tour San Francisco Friday before getting down to the business of the tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

Said Senior Ben Painton, “I’m just so happy our coaches have given us this opportunity. I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of my high school career.”

When the team returns, the competitions for district, regional and state tournaments begin. It is hoped the Stanford tourney will ready them for the weeks ahead.

The “Stanford 16” are, with their categories:

Alexis Burt (freshman) – Expository Speaking
Edward Davila (senior)- Original Oratory, Impromptu Speaking
Christopher DeLalglesia (freshman)- Student Congress
Henry Finch (senior)- International Extemporaneous Speaking
Chris Hall (senior)- Expository, Impromptu
Kelley Mathis (senior)-Student Congress
Irene Morse (senior)- International Extemporaneous, Impromptu
Julie Munoz (senior)- Student Congress
Amber Navarrete (sophomore)- Expository
Benjamin Painton (senior)- Humorous Interpretation, Impromtu
Selena Selvera (junior)-Expository
Kristine Staggs (Senior)-Student Congress
Keegan Taylor (junior)-Oratory
Frankie Torres  (freshman)- International Extemporaneous
Cathy Villarreal (freshman)- Oratory

Sponsored by the Stanford Debate Society, the Stanford High School Invitational Tournament is a yearly opportunity for students from across the country to compete with students outside of their local areas. The competition is a Tournament of Champions (TOC) qualifier at the quarter-finals level in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas and Varsity Policy Debate.

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