Brownson team encounters success despite lack of funds

Members of the Brownson Speech and Debate Team are walking away proudly, awards in hand, after two weekends of successful competing.

With three coaches and Catherine Zizik as director, the team has been incredibly successful this academic year. Varsity members returned from a two-day competition at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. on Sept. 25 and 26 with a total of 31 awards and a finish of second on both days.

The varsity members that attended those competitions were seniors Ryan Dicovitsky and Nicole Dalton as well as junior Caleb Barnhart and sophomorre Kristen Velloza.

At competitions on Saturday and Sunday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., “the team won the entire weekend and every team member made finals,” Dicovitsky said.

Dicovitsky said he has been involved with the team since his freshman year at Seton Hall after ultimately deciding to come to the University based on the team’s strong national reputation.

That national reputation has followed Dicovitsky all through college.

“I am very proud of how successful we are, and the prestige we bring to Seton Hall on a weekly basis,” Dicovitsky said. “Despite not having huge campus recognition, we consistently bring competitiveness and dedication to the SHU brand on a national level.”

With hard work and dedication at their core Zizik and traveling coach Jason Wood look to the future of the team.

“My goal is to have each freshman attend an out of district tournament with the upper classmen in order to help secure their position at the national tournament in April,” Zizik said.

While Zizik prepares for the future of the freshmen, Wood said he hopes to see “both seniors make it to a national final round.”

Velloza noted that the team has been working very hard.

Despite the fact that the team works very hard and does very well, the club itself is incredibly underfunded.

“We do what we can with a tiny budget,” Zizik said. “I want the Seton Hall speakers to showcase their talents much more; without the funds, they cannot.”

The budget, which is not recognized or funded by SGA, has suffered a major decrease.

“Two years ago they slashed our budget in half yet we still have the same number of students,” Wood said. “That means we cannot travel to as many tournaments to get them qualified for Nationals and give them the experience that they deserve.”

Despite the complications in funding and the lack of time to fundraise, Dicovitsky is still proud.

“Again, I am always proud of how the team does,” Dicovitsky said. “We work incredibly hard all year, and still manage to dedicate ourselves to our school work.”

Ashley Duvall can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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