Welcome to the Official Blog of the Ohio University Forensics Speech and Debate Team!!!

Pictures from Nationals 2008!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Annie Farinella

If you're ever at a speech tournament and you see an OU student stretching while waiting for an event that doesn't start for another hour, you've probably just seen Annie Farinella in the middle of one of her pre-tournament rituals.

Annie is a freshman from Perrysburg, Ohio. She competes in Poetry Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, After Dinner Speaking, and Duo Interpretation. She joined the Ohio University Forensics Team in part because she enjoyed it in high school, and also because her older sister competed for Miami of Ohio.

Her favorite aspect of being on the team? "I love my team mates; we have a lot in common. I feel like I have older brothers, and older sisters that look out for me. We are all very committed people, and we share a lot of the same goals."

Forensics is not the only activity Annie participates in. She is a member of PRSSA, a writer for PRofessional (a PRSSA newspaper), College Republicans and Campus Crusaders. With so many different extra curriculars, time is precious for Annie.

"It is really hard to go to everything you want to go to when you are in Forensics," Annie said. "It is a time commitment, but I wouldn't have it any other way. If you want to do well, you need to put in the time."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Brooke Betit

If you had never met Brooke Betit before, you might wonder why she would be talking to a wall. For the freshman broadcast major from Ashland, OH, this is a normal rehearsal activity when she is preparing for a speech.

Brooke joined OU’s Speech and Debate team this year, has participated in numerous tournaments and has already won an award for Top Novice in Persuasion and Communication Analysis at the Berea University Tournament.
Her favorite type of speech is persuasion because, “you learn about a problem and what is causing it and then you learn how you can fix it. So I feel like I am accomplishing something by bringing awareness to a problem.”

Her favorite part about college is experiencing new things every day and having the option to explore something more in depth if it is something that interests her. In her spare time, Brooke enjoys hanging out at Perk’s and her favorite food is gyros.

Grace Brikmanis

Grace Brikmanis arrived at OU this past fall and wasted no time getting involved. The freshman from Oak Harbor, OH listened to Coach Dan West talk to her and other journalism majors about the forensics team and she knew it was for her. She has already competed in two tournaments this year, her favorite being the Wiki tournament.

When asked what her favorite part about public speaking is, Grace says,”I just like to learn. It allows me to research whatever and tell other people about it. I love when a judge seems really into your topic.” Although this is Grace’s first year involved in speech and debate, she says she only gets a little nervous before a speech. “I’ll just run the first few lines in my head before I'm up,” she says. And Grace won’t be found giving a speech without her Latvian necklace, which she says reminds her of her family and how proud they are of her that she is involved in an academic group.

Along with the Forensics team, Grace is involved at the Aquatic Center, where she teaches kids’ swim lessons. “I love kids and it just gives me a bit of my week where I just get to play around,” she says. Grace’s nickname is Gracelynn and her favorite food is veggie burgers.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ronnie Talbott

In many ways, Ronnie Talbott’s life has come together through his speaking abilities. Not only has he met his wife, Michelle, through forensics, but he has also had a memorable career thanks to his communication abilities and acting skills.

Involved with forensics since 1994, Ronnie has returned to the sport as a competitor once again. As an education major, returning to Ohio University has allowed him another opportunity to showcase his speaking skills.

“My favorite thing about Ohio University is the chance to compete in forensics again,” he admits.

In addition to being a competition participant, Ronnie is also a coach. He is assistant coach to Michelle’s Advanced Communication/Forensics classes at Parkersburg South High School.

The West Virginia native boasts a colorful career in theater as a professional actor. Ronnie worked on the films Burning Annie, Maneater, and Spiderman 3 in addition to starring in a CMT music video for Carolyn Richards. He has been selected for the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, N. Y., and is a member of The Parkersburg Actor’s Guild.
-Krista Bradley

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bailey Tarleton

Whether in her debates or her involvement with organizations, Bailey Tarleton is making a name for herself around the Athens campus.

After learning her acceptance to Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism last year, it was a natural step for the public relations major to pursue her interest in the university’s debate team. Describing her initial meeting with Coach Dan West, her acceptance onto the team was “a done deal.”

Besides the team, Bailey is also involved with journalism organizations like Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), where she writes for PRsuccess, and Impressions, where she works on the Backdrop magazine account.

Getting involved has been especially exciting for Bailey because she is from New Martinsville, West Virginia, a small town in the Ohio River Valley. Loving her new surroundings, Bailey has been taking advantage of all that Athens has to offer.
“It’s so easy to get involved with journalism clubs here and just to get involved in general, especially as a freshman,” she said.

“My favorite thing about Ohio University is the close bond I feel here with my faculty and friends. I think it’s so cool how Ohio University has 20,000 students, but there are class sizes with as few as 20 people.”

When this busy debater has free time, she enjoys dancing, reading, listening to music and attending concerts. In the future, she looks forward to traveling with PRSSA or attending a journalism conference.
-Krista Bradley

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chris Glaser

Double Trouble?

Competition schools know to watch out for the Glaser brothers on OU Forensics team! The team wouldn't be the same without the additions of Chris and Dan Glaer. Chris is a senior this year at Ohio Univeristy and majoring in Advertising Managements in the Scripps School of Communication. He chose this major because he loves the strategic element of promoting products and services through advertising.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Chris seems like a pro when it comes to working together. Along with his younger brother Dan, who is 19 years old; Chris has an older brother, Nick, who is 24 years old and two younger sisters, Emily and Cari, both who are 16. Not only did he grow up in a large family, he also had a family in his high school forensics team. He was a four-year competitor on the Louisville High School's Forensics team.

His choice is OU as a college was because of the Scripps School of Communication and also the beautiful campus. Currently, this is his third year as assistant coach for Louisville High School Forensics team. ALong with coaching forensics for this high school team, Chris continues to a leader on the OU Forensics team. He explained that he participates in many speaking events which include Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Rhetorical Criticism, Informative Speaking and Dramatic Interpretation.

When asked what his favorite part of OU Forensics was, Chris answered, "I love the atmosphere on the team. Everyone has adopted the mentality that we aren't just going to win, we are going to dominate. We work hard and have a lot of fun with each other along the way." It's obvious how much time Chris puts in for his team and how much everyone looks up to him.
Chris was also asked what his favorite moment of being on the team has been so far. He could think of many but responded, "When we traveled to Butler University this past January. It was our first tournament back from winter break and we were just trying to get back into the swing of things so we didn't take all of our events. Despite this though, we won the tournament by nearly 50 points. We celebrated that night with a dinner at Outback. It was a blast!"

In his free time, Chris enjoys being a die-hard fan the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also enjoys listening to music. He explained that he loves all music, but currently has been listening to Rascal Flatts often. He also enjoying eating...a lot! He loves Chinese food, Italian food, Mexican food....or pretty much ANY food.

Chris Glaser is an awesome person to look up to when it comes to public speaking and when asked what is the most important advice for someone nervous about public speaking, he stated "My former high school speech coach always used to say, 'The trick is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach, but to get them to all fly in a row.' If you can channel that fear into excitement and confidence, you are well on your way to being a great speaker."

Look out, Chris Glaser seems to know what he's talking about.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Daniel Leister

He thought he would be a natural, but then when it came time to perform, his hands betrayed him—taking on a mind of their own.

Daniel Leister, a junior from Lodi, Ohio, walked onto Ohio University’s Forensics Speech and Debate team during fall quarter of this academic year.

He said he had always been comfortable in front of people, but he didn’t realize that the ability to be a great speaker was an art form, Leister said. There are techniques to body language that emphasize the speech.

One of the most important body parts to consider is the speaker’s hands. Hands should not be distractive to the audience, they should stress a point the speaker is trying to make.

Leister has fine-tuned his overall speaking performance, and now his speech hand gestures are seeping into his social life outside the forensics team.

His friends mimic the purposeful hand motions that appear unnatural in a social context.

But, he is willing to withstand a bit of teasing from his friends if it means he is a successful speaker—his best event is impromptu. He is learning skills that will benefit his future.

Leister is a political science, political communication, pre-law major, with a minor in sociology. He is also in a band called the Epsilon Project, which performs around Athens.

~Jeanna Packard

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Coach Patrick Barton

For forensics coach Patrick Barton, Ohio University is not only an opportunity to earn a doctorate in communication but also to learn from the expertise of head coach Dan West. As far as the rest of the season is concerned, Barton has high hopes that the team will place in the top five at the national tournament and he’s looking for as many students to qualify in the top 24 as possible.

Ohio University is the third college that Barton will earn a degree from and says that Athens is a nice little town with a good atmosphere. Although he likes OU, he says George Mason was his favorite college he has attended because of its cultural diversity and its location outside of Washington D.C. When asked about the Ohio University vs. George Mason basketball game, he said “I was rooting for George Mason, so I was a little sad when they lost, but now both teams have a chance of making it into the NCAA tournament”.

Aside from speech and debate, Patrick loves movies, Italian food, and alternative rock bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Snow Patrol, but poker is the pastime that he favors most. And it’s not your typical $5 buy-in with your buddies once a week, Barton has played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Other than playing in the super bowl of poker, he stays on his toes with local VFW tournaments and online poker games.

“If I could do anything I would be a professional poker player,” said Patrick.

But there’s no need to worry, Coach Barton sees himself teaching at a four-year university and coaching a speech and debate team after he receives his PhD.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michael Catlos

Standing more than 6 feet tall, a man of few words with a confident gaze Michael Catlos’ intimidating demeanor might seem daunting, but ask to see a picture of his dog and the tough guy image quickly fades.

Michael Catlos, from Poland, Ohio, is a freshman member of the OU Forensics team. He specializes in catching people off guard.

He uses his size and looks to his advantage. During his after dinner speech on the consumerism that has taken over American holidays he uses humor and songs in place of traditional spoken transitions to catch the audience off guard.

“I sing “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail” as a lead into the Easter holiday and “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas” to transition into unwrapping the consumerism problems during the Christmas holiday,” Catlos said.

Catlos’ passion for speaking has helped determine his future. He is majoring in organizational communication and aspires to be a college speech coach—this decision could also be influenced by his current advisor, Dan West, who is the head coach of the OU speech team.

Catlos enjoys spending his weekends traveling and competing with the team. He is willing to make the necessary sacrifices in his social life to make room for practice. But amidst the high stress speech environment, he maintains an attitude of simplicity.

“My ideal day would be on a beach with Jimmy Buffett, Catlos said. “He would know how to seize the moment and squeeze the most out of the day. Plus, I wouldn’t mind wasting a day in Margaritaville.”
~Jeanna Packard

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kristin Nehls

Kristin Nehls looks like a new woman these days—she now has a chic red bob in place of her long dark blond hair, after she dyed her hair red and donated 10 inches of hair to “Locks for Love”.

She knows how to make a statement with her looks and her speech. As a freshman, she is already a dynamic member of the Forensics Speech and Debate team. She performed a prose at the Fall Showcase in front of numerous OU students, which included dialog in French.

Kristin wasn’t always excellent in front of the crowd. When she joined the speech and debate team at her high school located in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, she was the worst speaker on the team, Nehls said. She worked hard, changed her tactics and event, and eventually became the best on her team. She has received a scholarship to be on OU’s forensics team.

The experience of being a part of the forensics team is worth all the effort and sacrifices, including sacrificing complete freedom with her hair. Initially she dyed it pink, but team rules require a professional appearance so Kristin opted for a red hue. She has developed her best friendships with the people on the team, and she is constantly being challenged to become a better communicator.

Kristin’s good communication skills will come in handy after graduation when she is traveling the world as a broadcast journalist.

~Jeanna Packard

(Note photo is pre-red hair)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Snapshots of OU Forensics

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ted Dacey

Along with finding a quaint college town, Ted Dacey came all the way to Ohio University from Maryland for the forensics team. Dacey, a freshman political science major, believes that being a team player and keeping a positive attitude are crucial to success in speech and debate. Although the team takes time and hard work, he says that they still manage to have a lot of fun together. Since Ted has a long career ahead of him for the team he hopes to see them become national champions several times over.
Besides being on the Forensics team Ted is a typical freshman experiencing dorm life and dining halls. Ironically, fellow teammate Spark Tabor is Dacey’s Resident Assistant in Sargent Hall. For the most part he loves the dorm life but finds having to wear flip-flops to the bathroom rather unfavorable. And as far as dining halls are concerned, “I always say it’s a good day when there are tater tots in the dining hall,” he said.
One impressive talent Ted harbors is the ability to quote nearly every line in the film Airplane!, “the greatest film ever, every time I watch it I find myself doubled over in laughter”. A love of all dairy, Dacey has even discovered the secret to making hardboiled eggs in a microwave.
A member of OU Republicans, Dacey is deeply involved in politics and has high hopes for Mitt Romney winning the presidential candidate. He feels that Romney’s success as a businessman and a governor has proved him to be capable of creating a much needed change.
By Amy Renner

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hassan Sheikh

by R. Devin Hughes

Name: Hassan Sheikh
Major: Communication Studies with a minor or double-major in Philosophy
Interests: Chess, Risk, and other games of strategy

Hassan Sheikh proclaims himself the “Lone Wolf” on the Ohio University Forensics team because he is the only member who participates in Debate, as in one-on-one competition against someone from another team. However, with regards to the competition, his dominance in Lincoln-Douglas debates might make “Alpha Male” the better nickname. Sheikh is currently the top debater in the state of Ohio, and is looking forward to this weekend's Appalachian Swing tournament to prove that he is the true number one. Other teams in Ohio already know his name, and a convincing win in the Appalachian Swing would make Sheikh a clear force to be reckoned with heading into States and Nationals.

Hassan Sheikh's forensics career began with victory, and he has not looked back since. Sheikh was declared the Novice Debate Champion in his first college competition. He was 19 at the time and competing for Brookdale Community College. At the NYU Skyline Spectacular, Sheikh went against Lafayette's best debater, Mark Kokoska, and was, by his own admission, “killed.” However, in the very next round, Sheikh debated Kokosa's teammate, Teevrat Garg, and won. To do so, Sheikh used techniques that Mark Kokoska had used against him in the previous round. This ability to learn from experience and apply the lessons so quickly impressed the judge so much that he approached Sheikh afterwards to commend his work. That judge's name was Dan West, the coach of the Ohio University Forensics Team.

This meeting with Dan West led Sheikh to transfer to Ohio University in his junior year, and under West's coaching, Sheikh has become a huge asset to the team, competing in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. He believes that debate is “one of the most time-intensive” aspects of forensics, and can not say enough about his appreciation for the coaching abilities of Dan West, who is “willing to take the team members as far as they are willing to go.” If they have a passion to improve, he will make sure that they do. Sheikh is very clear in emphasizing the team's admiration of West, saying “If Dan West calls, we answer it. We might as well have secret decoder rings, and also notes that “D-dub has a sparkling personality.”

Sheikh loves forensics and encourages high schoolers to join. He tells prospective students that “debate is like skiing down a slope...hitting speeds over 40 miles per hour, knowing you'll make it to the end, because if you argue properly, you'll never lose.” Even if they have had no previous experience, all students need to do is contact Dan West, who would be happy to take them in and train them. According to Sheikh, extensive debate experience is not as important as passion, the “critical ingredient to any success.” As long as the student has the passion to be a strong debater, Dan West can make him or her into a strong debater. Should he or she wish to best prepare themselves, Sheikh recommends competing in the National Forensics League. developing strong research skills, and not focusing so much on arguing properly, since the coach will take care of that.

A piece of general advice that Sheikh would give to high schoolers would be to build upon the social aspect of high school. In Sheikh's opinion, one will have plenty of time for learning in college, and thus time in high school is better spent making memories and forming strong social bonds. Though he may be the “Lone Wolf” on the debate team, friendship is extremely important to him. This is evident is his amicable disposition and openness to conversation. His strong debating ability makes him a huge asset to the Forensics Team already, but his character and ambition make him a leader and an excellent role model for any new recruits.

After college, Sheikh plans to take a year off to be a lobbyist for the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and then attend law school so that he could practice law for a living. Once he gets a solid financial foundation, Sheikh has aspirations of running for public office, perhaps starting off as a mayor and moving up to a senator.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spark Tabor

Junior Spark Tabor is currently in his first year of Ohio Forensics. He heard about the Forensics Team spring quarter of his sophomore year in his COMS 215 class: Argument Analysis and Advocacy. The professor informed Spark that he would be very talented on the Forensics Team and that he should look into joining the following year, “and the rest is history,” Spark laughed.

Spark participates in many events, including impromptu and duo interpretation. His favorite is impromptu, but he is interested in participating in more events next year. Since joining, he has improved in his speaking and debating skills by endless amounts just by being in the forensics environment. It also helped with a nervous habit he had when he was younger: fidgeting while he spoke. “A lot of people have problems with body control… the best way to overcome that is by practicing in front of a mirror. Every time you see yourself waving your hands or rocking back and forth, stop your speech and start over. You’ll get really frustrated with constantly starting over that you’ll get over your problem,” he commented.

Along with becoming a better speaker, Spark has made many friends by being a part of Forensics, like Hassan Sheikh, another junior on the team. He said that joining Ohio Forensics as a freshman would automatically give a person a “cocoon” of friends. The only downside is the time commitment. Between being a part of Forensics and being a Resident Assistant in Sargent, Spark has missed a lot of the infamous weekend nightlife of Ohio University.

Spark is an Organizational Communications major. “I’d really like to be a professional Monopoly player, but if that doesn’t work out I’ll be an event planner.” Whatever his profession decision is, we can certainly expect great things from him on the Forensics team now.

Dan Glaser

Dan Glaser accomplishes a lot with his time. He is a member of the Ohio University Forensics Speech and Debate team, a member of the Singing Men of Ohio, and is studying health communication with plans to go to medical school.

“I am in love with the art of public speaking, and I believe if you have something you’re good at you should develop it and utilize your strengths,” Glaser said.
Speaking skills will help him prepare for the days when he will be required to give medical briefings, and maintain patient relationships.

He has big dreams, but he is still an easy-going guy. He discovers new music on pandora.com, hangs out with friends, loves movies and favors ham to all other foods.

Speaking, music and medicine are all important to Glaser. His favorite band is presently Linkin Park and he is looking forward to the concerts during spring quarter once the national tournament is over.
~Jeanna Packard