Azad and Mumma take home first at speech and debate competition

Sohrab Azad (12) and Brooke Mumma (12) took first place in Varsity Public Forum in the team’s second competition on Sat. Nov. 5. This was the first competition the pair ever competed in together.

Azad’s original partner could not participate in the competition, so Azad asked Mumma to be his partner in this division. This was the second competition Mumma has ever competed in.

“Brooke showed extreme potential, but she was a novice (first-year debater) and would be unable to go to nationals. In order for Brooke to go to nationals, she would have to be partners with a varsity member,” Azad said.

According to Azad, the team prepared by writing cases, researching evidence, and looking at evidence briefs. He taught Mumma how to handle opposing varsity debaters’ questions. “It really is kind of a performance… How you can sell yourself,” Azad said.

The pair had mixed reactions to winning first. Azad deduced that they had won before they were announced. Mumma, on the other hand, was surprised.

“I set my expectations lower than they should be 90 percent of the time, so…it was a good feeling taking first. I think it was a good way to start the season, considering it was our first tournament. It shows that we have potential to do really well for the rest of the season,” Mumma said.

Azad and Mumma were not the only seniors who placed. Aaron Mohabbat (12) placed first in International Extemp; Shaun Lamar (12) placed fourth in Original Oratory, fifth in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and sixth in Domestic Extemp; Shayla Hrncic (12) and Sarah Stich (12) placed first in Novice Public Forum. Mumma also placed fourth in Novice Extemp.

Mr. Ed Taylor, speech and debate coach, hopes more students place in the future. With debate topics changing at the beginning of Nov. and teammates’ busy schedules, it was challenge to complete all the research outside of practice. Some teammates had to research during practice, cutting time from rehearsal.

“Like anything, the more work you put into it, the better you do,” Taylor said.

The team is currently preparing another competition on Nov. 12 at Brentwood High School.