Speech team takes second in Kentucky

Katie Goodrich | News Editor

The sun set hours before. The Kentucky sky was dark on Saturday, and members of Butler’s speech team were tired.

More than 12 hours after they woke up, they still waited to compete at 9 p.m.

The four members of the team who traveled to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, received their awards after 1 in the morning.

Despite the exhaustion, the team placed second out of nine teams in the tournament, with only four Bulldogs. They competed in 19 different events and placed in nine of them.

Janis Crawford, the speech team coach, said her team—including this weekend’s participants, sophomores Taylor Pearson and Darlene Brown and freshmen Julia Hren and Quinn McKenzie—did a great job.

This is a small team to compete, and every member that attended from Butler were underclassmen. Crawford said cancelling Block Party hurt the speech team’s recruitment efforts. Despite its size, it is mighty.

Pearson had three first-place finishes that qualified her for the national tournament of the National Forensic Association. She also placed fourth overall in the tournament after competing in five different events.

“I waited around longer than I was actually in rounds,” Pearson said. “The tournament was more on the unorganized end of the spectrum. I sat for 45 minutes and talked to the judge in one of my final rounds. Crawford brought me dinner at 9 at night because I hadn’t eaten yet.”

Brown, who placed fourth in poetry, said the Transylvania tournament was not like others the team had been to.

Hren competed in five events, with a fourth-place finish in dramatic interpretation and two fifth-place finishes.

McKenzie competed in seven different events. He placed second in two events, qualifying him for the national finals. He placed sixth overall in the tournament.

Crawford said she was proud of how well the team did, especially considering the circumstances.

“I was glad we already decided to stay the night in a hotel after the competition,” she said. “I am still tired a few days later.”

Crawford said the timing issue stemmed from having both a speech and debate tournament run simultaneously and letting students compete in both.

Pearson said all the competitors made the most of the situation.

“As stressful as it is, you can’t help but make jokes about it,” she said. “You get to make friends while you wait.”

Brown said she made a friend from a nearby university when she noticed stickers from her favorite TV shows on the girl’s laptop.

Butler is hosting four tournaments next semester, some at the national level.

Crawford said her tournaments will be on time.

“I am confident it is going to go beautifully,” she said. “We have hosted the Bulldog Battle for at least 13 years. We know what we are doing, and we have the space and the talent in the team to host a great tournament.”

The team will also continue to compete in tournaments next semester.

Crawford said they hope to go to several different national tournaments if they raise enough money to travel and pay entry fees.

Pearson said the team is trying to get a grant from the Student Government Association to cover some of the cost, since the organization’s budget will not cover everything.