Gass, Baughman Lead Way in Union’s MSU Victory
The Florida College Oratory Union competed in the Morgan State University tournament in Baltimore, Md., where veterans Andrew Gass and Melody Baughman showcased impressive versatility to deliver an overall tournament win. Though seven other schools competed in the tournament, the height of competition proved to be within the Union itself as veterans Andrew Gass’s and Melody Baughman’s winning results overlapped in five categories.
Gass placed 1st in Impromptu Speaking, 1st in Extemporaneous Speaking, 1st in Informative Speaking and 1st in the challenging Pentathlon category, which requires students to compete in a minimum of five events across all three categories: Literary Interpretation, Prepared Public Address and Limited Preparation Speaking. Gass also placed 2nd in Communication Analysis and 3rd in Parliamentary Speaking.
Baughman demonstrated similar speaking versatility, placing 1st in Parliamentary Speaking, 1st in Communication Analysis, 2nd in Impromptu Speaking, 2nd in Extemporaneous Speaking, 3rd in Prose Interpretation and 5th in Informative Speaking.
Overall, 10 speakers brought home a combined 36 awards, including novices Jordan Meirose (Top Extemporaneous Speaker, 2nd place in Informative Speaking, 6th in Impromptu Speaking), Noah Diestelkamp (1st in Dramatic Interpretation), and the duos of John Eubank and Valerie Deering (3rd), John Eubank and Jonah Alvarez (5th), and Noah Diestelkamp and Jonah Alvarez (6th in Parliamentary Speaking).
This year’s Oratory Union has been recognized for more than just oratory success. The organization’s leader, Dr. Matt Johnson, recalled a moment when another school’s coach approached captain Melody Baughman, praising the team’s speeches and literature as always having clean and uplifting content, and the Union’s members as “abundantly prepared” and “encouraging to other teams.”
While last weekend’s effort are not the Union’s first taste of success, it marks the first official tournament in their regular season circuit.
They now prepare for the Collegiate Forensics Association’s Holiday Tournament in Middletown, Va.