COSTA MESA — Orange Coast College students talked their way into 27 gold, silver and bronze medals last week at a national speech competition.

OCC's Speech, Debate and Theater Team competed in the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament against about 600 students from more than 75 community colleges April 12 to 16 in Greenwich, Conn.

In addition to the 27 medals students took home, the team walked away with a gold medal in the debate sweepstakes category and silver medals in individual events sweepstakes and overall team sweepstakes categories.

OCC sent 14 students to the tournament hosted by Suffolk County and Nassau community colleges.

Student Matthew Jenkins of Fullerton received the Warren-Dahlin Fellowship Award from his competitors for best exemplifying the spirit of competition, and Aaron Fullman, of Costa Mesa, won the Bovero-Taber Award for earning the most points in the tournament.

Lucas Ochoa was also honored with the Collie Taylor Fellowship Award for his work as a coach.

Students will go on to compete in the American Readers Theater Assn. Tournament in May and student Shirae Christie of Fullerton will represent Southern California in the National Interstate Oratory Competition Friday and Saturday at James Madison University in Virginia.

—Britney Barnes