JHHS Speech Team wins it all in Casper

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team dominated the competition last weekend at the Kelly Walsh Invitational in Casper, Wyoming. Jackson brought home a 1st place finish and numerous individual awards.

In its first all-varsity meet of the season, the team proved it was better than the rest, and better, perhaps, than where they were last year at this time when they placed 2nd overall at the same tourney. The tournament boasted 13 schools with nearly 300 individual entries. Jackson earned 65 sweepstakes points compared to 2nd place Worland with 26.

Casper roundup

Senior and team captain Warren Levy had a weekend to brag on. He placed 1st in Extemporaneous Speaking, the event with the largest number of entries at the tournament. Fellow team captain and senior Darcy Mueller placed 4th in the event while senior Maleah Tuttle placed 2nd. Junior Preston Harmon reached the semi-finals in the event as well.

Levy went on to tie for 1st place in Lincoln Douglas Debate alongside sophomore William Aepli, closing out the finals of the event. They spent the tournament debating whether or not states should eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Harmon joined partner, junior Josh Hansen to bring home 1st place in Public Forum Debate. Sophomores Carter Worcester and Jesiah Coates tied for 3rd in the event. The teams spent the weekend arguing whether or not the United States should end its economic sanctions against Venezuela.

Harmon proved a triple threat at the tournament after he went on to reach the semi-finals of Program Oral Interpretation. Tuttle placed 4th in the event with her program entitled “Wakiyan Howaste,” exploring the lives and struggles of Native Americans.  Senior River Gayton reached the semi-final round of the event as well.

Gayton went on to place 3rd in Informative Speaking with her presentation on colors. Sophomore Nayeli Hernandez Lopez took home 2nd place in Original Oratory with her work on immigration and deportation policies in the U.S.

Congressional Debate continued to be a successful category for the team. Aepli brought home 2nd place. He has finished in 1st or 2nd in the event at every tournament this season. Hansen placed 6th while sophomore Lily Briggs tied for 7th. Worcester also reached the final round of the event.

Coach Peggy Gagnon, who heads the team with Londe Gagnon, said, “I am extremely proud of the successes of the Jackson team. We have seen incredible growth among both the new and returning members already this season and look forward to coming tournaments.”

Coming home

The team is planning its own invitational tournament on Friday and Saturday, February 14-15, 2020. For the home tournament, the Speech Team is in need of about 300 volunteers to judge for approximately an hour and a half each. Judging guidelines will be provided and several practice judging sessions will be offered. Judging experience is not required.

Judging these talented high school competitors is an entertaining and rewarding experience. Refreshments and free childcare will be provided.

If you would be able to volunteer anytime from 1:00 p.m. Friday afternoon until 9:00 p.m. Friday evening, or from 8:00 a.m. Saturday until 3:00 p.m. Saturday, please email coach Londe Gagnon at [email protected] or call her at 307-699-0537.

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