Students from 37 Colleges Compete at Cerritos College
The Orange Coast College Speech, Debate and Theatre Team captured top honors at the annual Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association Fall Championships held last weekend at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Coast also received the D. L. Miller Perpetual Sweepstakes award for longstanding excellence in forensics.
In addition to first place overall, OCC took first place in Novice Sweepstakes and won the Community College Sweepstakes for the eighth year in a row.
Twenty-six of OCC's 42 team members advanced to the final rounds of the competition, which included hundreds of students representing 37 schools. The competition included teams from Pt. Loma University, Chapman University, Palomar College, Cal State Long Beach, Moorpark College, and last year's national champions, Mt. San Antonio College.
Assistant speech professor Ben Lohman directs the speech team. Speech instructors Courtney Anderson and Sherana Polk also serve as team coaches.
Event champions include Christiaan Pipion (Los Angeles) in Senior After Dinner Speaking, Lisa Love (Huntington Beach) in Junior Programmed Oral Interpretation, and Hannah Haghighat (Newport Beach) in Senior Persuasive Speaking.
In February the team will compete in the Spring Championships followed by the State Championship in March and National Championship in April. Last year OCC won the State Championship and earned a Silver Medal at the Phi Rho Pi National Championship.
"This team is young, but they're hungry." Lohman said. "We have a small core of second-year students who've been doing an outstanding job of mentoring a pretty large freshman class, and clearly it's going well. I'm excited to see how this group steps up to the challenges of the rest of this season."