Fitch grad leads Bobcats to speech championship


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Logan Pasqual, an Austintown Fitch High School graduate, captained the Ohio University Speaking Bobcats to a MAC conference championship.

The 2017 conference challenge tournament took place at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on Jan. 22.

In addition to winning the team championship, Pasqual placed first in three events – informative, poetry and drama.

Dan West, the John A. Casesse director of forensics at Ohio University in Athens, said the speech and debate competitions are similar to a track meet. The teams compete in a variety of speaking events, and the team with the most points at the end of the competition wins.

West said Pasqual is not just a great competitor, but he’s been a great addition to the team.

“Logan is the leader right now, and he’s rising to the top,” West said. “He’s just a blessing to have on the team, and he works so hard.”

This is his third year with the Speaking Bobcats, and his second as team captain.

Pasqual said speech is often underappreciated in comparison to athletics.

“In high school, it was more about the performance, but in college it’s a lot more about constructing your arguments,” Pasqual said. “It’s really eye-opening to see all these different perspectives on topics where there is so much debate.”

West said Pasqual’s informative speech was about expressing love over electronic communication. He also delivered a poem about the strict nature of poetic expression and performed a monologue about somebody working at a suicide prevention hot line for his poetry and drama wins, respectively.

“It’s a wide range of things that he does, so it’s pretty cool that he can come up with all those different skills,” West said.

West first encountered Pasqual when he participated on an Austintown Fitch team that won the state championship. Pasqual said joining Fitch’s team helped him get where he is today.

Pasqual’s skills have earned him the Nancy Cartwright Endowment for Forensics Students. The scholarship was created by the actress, who voices Bart Simpson, to help students who major in the fine arts and participate in speech and debate.

After one more tournament, Pasqual said they will advance to the state championship.

Both Pasqual and West noted that the speech team is smaller than in previous years, and they’re working on fundraising to create more scholarships. Pasqual said their commitment to speech helped him make the decision to attend OU.

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