Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Disappointment Delivered Down in the Dirty Dirty

February 1, 2010 - Atlanta, GA

The Bronx Prep speech team flew to Atlanta, Georgia for the toughest speech tournament of the year, the Barkeley Forum Invitational. But despite the strong showing the team posted last year (Chris Moncrief finished in 2nd place in Original Oratory in '09), the team left Atlanta without hardware this time around.

Made up of veteran competitors, this year's Barkeley Forum squad of Tayshawn Layton, Deborah Allen-Carr, Chris Moncrief, Keegon Robinson and Tiffany McLarty seemed well-positioned to make a run for finals at this tournament, but it's just not always in the cards in high school forensics. While Keegon and Tiffany did reach the quafterfinals in the Duo category, Tayshawn, Deborah and Chris were all held just short of glory and couldn't quite get out of the preliminary rounds.

This blogger was in attendance as Keegon and Tiff performed to a raucous crowd in the quarterfinal and the ranks from the judges (including a 4th and 5th place decision) were surprising to say the least. I have to agree with the third judge, who ranked them first, and stated on the ballot, "If you two don't reach finals, I quit!"

And so, the team looked on as audience members as a full day of final rounds were presented on the beautiful campus of Emory University. The presentations were impressive, but it was clear that any of the Bronx Prep entries could have held their own on that stage. So... what happened? Is the south just not ready for a badass piece from the Bronx? Is a national representation needed to advance at this tournament? Do aspects of these pieces not jive with judges from other regions of the country? These are questions that a head coach of a forensics program may be asking him or herself when dealing with a surprising response to a great performance.

Every season has its setbacks and it's the teams that bounce back and find answers to questions like those listed above that separate the great programs from the good ones. We'll find out which type of team we've got here at Bronx Prep as the postseason approaches...

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