Speech and Debate head to Nationals


Maggie Rietz

Senior Madison Cousins, junior Andrew Lord and senior Spencer Fillman will attend Speech and Debate Nationals in Florida this June.

Aiden Rushing, Reporter

Senior Madison Cousins has qualified for Nationals in Speech and Debate and will be traveling to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from June 17- 22 along with senior Spencer Fillman and junior Andrew Lord.

Lord and Fillman were first alternatives in their respective events, but will be accompanying Cousins as both applied and were selected for Nationals in World School Debate by the district committee. Lord and Fillman will complete with a five person team from the whole eastern Iowa district made up of alternatives.

This is Lord’s first time qualifying for Nationals. He has been in Speech and Debate since his freshman year.

“It’s a good way to get involved and challenge yourself and learn,” Lord said. “I’m a much better public speaker now …I feel like it helps those [speaking] skills.” 

Lord was first alternative for Dramatic Interpretation in his piece “Tweak” about a drug addict on the road to recovery. Fillman became first alternative for Congressional Debate.

This will be the eighth year in a row that West students have qualified to compete in Nationals, and the 39th year in West’s history.

Cousins automatically qualified for Nationals due to her performance in Informative Speaking.

“I went to nationals last year for the same event and I had a great time, so I’m excited to go again,” Cousins said. “It’s in Fort Lauderdale this year, so I’m excited to go to Florida for a week.”

Speech and Debate coach and English teacher Maggie Rietz has been involved in Speech and Debate since her sophomore year of high school.

“Every team except for the first team that I had here has qualified in Nationals,” Rietz said. “[The students] work on refining and perfecting their speeches until we get to the National qualifying tournament,” she said.