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This past weekend, LaRue County High School student Brian Anderson was accepted to compete in the very exclusive Round Robin Extemp speech tournament hosted by George Mason University.
This extremely selective tournament takes applications from top extemp students all across the nation, and accepts a field of eight competitors from more than 50 applications. It’s the first time a student from LCHS has competed in that portion of the tournament, and makes him the second Kentucky student to have ever been accepted.
After placing sixth in a field of the eight best extempers in the nation – based on ratings in the National Forensic League and their record of wins across their entire speech careers – Anderson went on to place second in the full tournament which was held over the weekend. The round robin tournament took place all day Friday as each extemper went head-to-head giving speeches on similar topics and then having to endure a cross-examination period from each other about their speeches, analysis and evidence. On Saturday, regular tournament competition commenced, and Anderson won each round in which he competed, until he reached the final, where he took second.
Anderson garnered something much more coveted, though, based on his performance at GMU, according to head coach Katy Cecil.
“Brian got a lot of attention because of his performance at this tournament, his semi-finaling at Glenbrooks two weeks ago, and his semi-finaling at Wake Forest University in September. All of that, on top of his wins at GMU, his participation in the Extemp Tournament of Champions last year, his being the reigning State Extemp Champion of Kentucky as a sophomore, and his continued dominance of this event locally, has earned him an invitation to the most sought after and exclusive Extemp competition in the country.”
Not 20 minutes after leaving the awards ceremony that night, Anderson’s three coaches (Cecil, Eric Cecil, and Bill Thompson) received an email from the administrators of the Montgomery Bell Academy Speech and Debate Program in Nashville, Tenn., with an invitation to their Extemp Round Robin hosted in early January.
Each year 16 of the best extempers in the nation are invited to what everyone in the speech world knows as “MBA.”
“What is important to understand is there is no application process to this,” said Bill Thompson, the assistant coach who is primarily responsible for training and coaching the students who do extemp and impromptu for LCHS. “You ‘have’ to be invited. Katy is usually really good at finding or making great opportunities for our students, but this is one thing she, nor I, had any control over. You either get an invite or you don’t. Honestly, I knew he was on the radar of the national people, but I thought we would have to wait one more year, especially since LaRue County has never been invited to participate before. I am so, so beyond overjoyed for him to be invited this year. It just shows that all of his hard work has really paid off.”
Anderson will travel to Nashville with Thompson and Cecil over Christmas break to compete in this prestigious event.