New year, new season, new coaches

GlenOak Speech and Debate undergoes dramatic changes


Angela Spano

Pictured above, last years speech and debate team. This year the team aims to increase membership from 15 to potentially over 40 members.

Caris Lantz, Sports Editor

Speech and Debate is often looked over when it comes to clubs, but this year the team is undertaking serious changes to increase their chances of victory. 

Between new tournaments, new coaches, and new practice strategies, the team is moving towards an exciting and productive season. 

“[Last year] we did the best we could with COVID like everybody did. We had state qualifiers, we had a national qualifier, and a state finalist,” head coach Tom Mosberger said.

While this is considered a success, the team is looking to expand, and increase its talent base to propel them into a better season this year.  

One of the most drastic changes to the team is a new coach.

Megan Rea is new to the district as not only the assistant speech coach but also as an English teacher and potentially an assistant lacrosse coach. She coached speech at Jackson High School for three years and participated in both Public Forum Debate and Declamation while she was in high school. 

I think that part of my experience at Jackson was working with students that competed on a national scale regularly. So over time really exposing the students here to that so they can see what happens in other states, and what other styles look like, so that when they do reach that point when they are competing in the national tournament that they know what to expect and they’re ready to go,” Rae Said.

Having a coach who is experienced with different styles of speech and debate is going to be extremely beneficial for the team moving forward, especially when it comes to new members.

According to Rae, the team goal this year is going to be focused on recruitment, and putting people in the correct categories.  

“I think we’ll do some good team collaboration this year. But really trying to fill categories and fill them with the people who really fit there so they can work together and really use all of their strengths,” Rae said.

Mosberger also has very high hopes for the upcoming season as far as recruitment goes. 

“We’ve had a hard time the last couple of years getting kids on the team. If we can get the bodies on the team then we can make them good,” Mosberger said.

Speech and Debate had an information meeting on Sept. 9, and new membership is on the rise. Mosberger noted that the coaching staff wants to see at least 40 kids on the team this year- a very optimistic number compared to last year’s 15.

Normally speech and debate tournaments involve traveling to another school, to compete against hundreds of other students. But last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tournaments were held exclusively online. 

Obviously we’re hopeful. We are currently planning on doing all live tournaments. That could change tomorrow. We are mentally prepared to do live first, but then to turn around and go virtual if need be,” Mosberger said.

With that uncertainty in mind, the team is going to need to make a few changes to how and when they practice to be better prepared for in-person competition. 

According to Miss Rae, the team will be holding three practices a week. Two right after school, and a third at night to allow for student athletes to attend both speech and debate and their extracurricular activity. 

Holding three practices a week this year will allow for more intentional time for the team to improve their speaking skills, and work on different tactics to help them be successful in competition. 

It all comes down to the students buying into the process and doing whatever it takes to end up on stage every weekend and grow as a speaker and a person. And they need to be willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones even if they feel like they look goofy, because it works.  The process does work,” Rae said. 

This could not be anything less than the truth. GlenOak Speech and Debate is likely to have a very interesting and successful season this year. If you are interested in joining the team, reach out to Mosberger in room A110.