Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bronx Prep Post 1/18/09


January 17, 2009

E. 84th ST., NEW YORK, NY - The Bronx Prep Speech team saw an all-star result yesterday as seven of the eight BP students at the Regis tournament competed in the final round of their events. Deborah Allen-Carr, Matt Alston, Jamej Lawton, Tayshawn Layton, Tiffany McLarty, Chris Moncrief, and Keegon Robinson all performed well enough to earn spots in finals and an overall 9th place finish in the team competition.

In the individual events, Moncrief brought his championship tally on the year to three with another first place victory in Original Oratory while Keegon Robinson impressed all, but surprised none with a second place finish during which he was ranked first place by five out of the six judges to see him perform on the day. Keegon represented Bronx Prep along with rising star Deborah Allen-Carr in the Varsity Oral Interpretation final round while the two Bronx Prep Duo teams - McLarty/Layton and Alston/Lawton competed in a final round of their own. They finished in 5th place and as finalists, respectively.

In the end, an exceptionally successful day for a team that continues to excel and expand in its breadth of success. The ninth place finish in the team sweepstakes competition is an indicator of the success that this small, scrappy team is having, in competition against teams several times their own size such as Regis High School, Stuyvesant and Bronx Science. Special recognition is due to Keegon Robinson who broke through yesterday after logging far and away the most practice hours after school. A playful workhorse, Keegon proved the value of consistent practice as his hours paid off in the form of a coveted half-qualification for the state championships, held in Albany in April.

At a crucial time in the season, it appears that the team may be hitting its stride. Matt Alston and Jamej Lawton emerged as the possible duo team of the (immediate) future, performing a raunchy comedy/drama and landing in the final round after a short week of practice. With more work, they could see real results at either of the two tournaments still to come in January.

No rest for the weary. The loaded winter speech schedule means the team will divide and conquer this weekend at two very competitive national tournaments held in Atlanta and New York. Chris, Keegon, Tiff and Tay head to the dirty dirty to compete in what many consider to be the most competitive speech tournament of the year - the Barkeley Forum Competition, held at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. They'll fly to Atlanta to clash with many of the top students in the nation while the team upstarts: Matt, Jamej, Deborah, Alethea Brown, Nina Robinson, Taylor Blackford, and wild card Myles Miller head cross-town for the other major speech tournament in this country next weeked, held at Columbia University in the upper west side.

Congratulations to all and best of luck at the national tournaments coming up.

Bronx Prep Post - 1/28/09



Atlanta, GA - Chris Moncrief led by example over the weekend as the speech team's President posted a 2nd place finish in Original Oratory at the Barkley Forum Tournament at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Meanwhile, his teammate Deborah Allen-Carr represented the team back in New York with a very strong showing in Oral Interpretation at the Columbia tournament in the Upper West Side. Chris's accomplishment establishes him as one of the top student orators in the nation. Chris competed against students from some of the best programs in the country, including powerhouse high school Apple Valley, in Minneapolis, MN, which was represented by an impressive three students in the final round. Yet it was Bronx Prep's own, Mr. Moncrief, finishing in this prestigous tournament ahead of all but one of the country's best.

The Barkley Forum tournament has long been the best opportunity of the year for the top speech and debate students in each region of the country to meet in Atlanta and test their mettle against one another. The tournament's rules allow each school only eight entries in the entire tournament. This results in a competition stacked with only the best of the best going head to head. Chris improved on last year's semifinal finish by marching through the tournament to the final round, during which he competed on stage in front of an audience of over one hundred. After a bizarre "snafu" from the tabulation room, during which the finalists in original oratory were announced in the wrong order, the dust settled and Chris went home with an impressive piece of hardware: a large hollow mahogany book with a silver key affixed to the front. But the intagibles of a second place finish at Emory are what will surely leave the more lasting impression.

Chris was joined in Atlanta by Keegon Robinson (who posted a strong showing in his first time ever competing in DI) and Tiffany McLarty and Tayshawn Layton. At the same time, the rest of the Bronx Prep speech team was competing at Columbia University, the country's other major forensics competition over the weekend. It was here that Deborah Allen-Carr continued to impress by streaking all the way to the semifinal round of Oral Interpration (also known as Prose/Poetry), only to miss finals by a single point. She finished in 7th place and earned a coveted half-qualification for the New York State Championships.

At this point, Bronx Prep has two entries qualified for States: Chris Moncrief in OO and the Duo team of Tiffany McLarty and Tayshawn Layton. In Oral Interpretation, Keegon Robinson and Deborah Allen-Carr are each half-qualified for states and will compete against one another and students from all over the metropolitan area this Saturday at Sacred Heart High School in Greenwich, CT. If either of them finishes in the top four, they should qualify for the State Championships. They will be joined by Jamej Lawton and Matthew Alston who will try to build off of their finals finish at the Regis tournament and look to pick up a half-qual of their own in Duo Interp. Alethea Brown rounds out the field as the team's lone entry in JV OI.

Congratulations to all and here's looking ahead to another successful local tournament at Sacred Heart on Saturday.