Pirates talk their way to victory
The Pirates took home 35 awards, a team championship and 10 first place wins.
The victories continued a winning tradition for Seton Hall’s Brownson Speech Team.
The team consists of 10 SHU students who travel all over the country to compete in forensics. Made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores, with one walk-on senior, the team competes in different categories of speech and debate.
“It’s the art and study of argumentation, investigation and the dissection of language,” is how professor Catherine Zizik, director of forensics, describes the art.
The students compete in a variety of events, ranging from artistic prose poetry to persuasive speaking.
“Forensics is like an academic varsity sport,” Zizik said. The team goes up against big schools such as University of Florida, Cornell and James Madison University, which field teams triple the size of Seton Hall’s team.
Going against these big schools does not scare sophomore Stephanie Gomulka, an all-star team member. “These big universities, they are all really talented, so it’s great when we get to beat them,” she said.
Gomulka is one of two champions in the last competition, tying for First Place Overall Individual Speaker with Chris Fielder, another Brownson team member. Bomulka earned first place in both the program oral interpretation and the dramatic interpretation events.
“It’s funny, shocking and it’s really honest,” she said about the piece she performs for dramatic interpretation, her main event. “It has an important message.”
Fielder took first place in the impromptu, the communication analysis and the extemporaneous speaking events. Fielder lives the life of a “successful Brownsonian,” Zizik said, “doing 30 speeches, up to 280 minutes of content speaking during a typical weekend. This is the norm for all the team members as well.”
With a year round season, these students are never at rest. They have two big competitions a month, and 30 hours of practice a week. The work is worth it to the team.
“It was just amazingly gratifying for all of the work that we put in during the summer,” continued Gomulka.
Zizik is proud of their success, but pushes them for more than just wins. “There’s life beyond competition,” she said, noting that she hopes all 10 students grow on the team, in their classes and in their careers. “They’re winners no matter what.”
Seton Hall students who are curious about this winning team can catch them “at home” at a tournament on Nov. 9-10, with events scheduled primarily in Fahy Hall.
Neal McHale also contributed to this report.
Kaitlin Stellingwerf can be reached at kaitlin.stellingwerf@ student.shu.edu. Sean Saint Jacques can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.