JHHS Speech and Debate Team at its Natrona County Tournament this past weekend. Photo: Londe Gagnon

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team earned 2nd place in 4A at the Mustang Classic, held at Natrona County High School in Casper this past weekend.

This meet attracted 19 schools with close to 500 total entries. While Cheyenne East captured the 1st place finish, Jackson edged out Rock Springs and Evanston who finished in 3rd and 4th place respectively. This meet is one of the largest of the year. Many Wyoming programs competed in Casper along with several South Dakota schools.

At the tournament, senior and team captain Carter Worcester teamed with senior Sarah Schweitzer to bring home the championship in Public Forum Debate. The team explored the issue of whether or not the U.S. federal government should legalize all illicit drugs. Senior and team captain Will Aepli joined partner Alexis Hernandez to place 10th in the event, narrowly missing the quarterfinals due to a tie-breaker.

Worcester went on to become the champion in Congressional Debate as well. As the sole JHHS competitor to make it to the finals round of the event, Worcester bested the 2nd place competitor from Cheyenne East by a whopping 15 points. Sophomore Jackson Neishabouri and freshman Ben Moffett finished in fifth in their preliminary chambers and missed advancing to the finals of the event by one place. Junior Ventura Garcia Perez finished in 6th place in his preliminary chamber.

Photo: Londe Gagnon

Schweitzer went on to win the Triple Threat Award in the tournament. Adding to her 1st place in PF Debate, she finished in 4th in Impromptu Speaking and earned 3rd place in Extemporaneous Speaking. Aepli reached the semi-finals in Extemporaneous Speaking while Hernandez and freshman Oscar Andersen reached the quarter-finals of the event.

Julieta Anaya found success in Impromptu with a 5th place finish. Aepli reached the semi-finals of the same event. Anaya went on to reach semi-finals in Poetry Interpretation and joined junior Blanca Sartillo in Duo Interpretation where they reached semi-finals of the event.

Hernandez placed 3rd in Original Oratory with his presentation on diversity and first-generation Americans. Junior Ary Jimenez Garcia found great success in Informative Speaking where she reached semi-finals.

“Students needed to be near perfect in preliminary rounds to advance,” sad Coach Londe Gagnon. “The scores many of our team earned would have advanced them to culminating rounds at any other tournament of the season.”

The team next travels to Hot Springs in two weeks. In addition, they will be hosting their own invitational tournament this upcoming weekend on Feb. 4-5 For the home tournament, the Speech Team is in need of 135 more volunteers to judge for approximately an hour and a half each. Judging guidelines will be provided and a practice judging session will be offered on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Judging experience is not required.

Events include Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum, Big Questions, Extemporaneous and Cross Examination Debate, Student Congress, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Humor, Drama, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Impromptu, and Duet. Judging these talented high school competitors is an entertaining and rewarding experience. Refreshments and free babysitting will be provided.

If you would be able to volunteer anytime from 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon until 9:30 p.m. Friday evening, or from 8 a.m. Saturday until 5 p.m. Saturday, please sign up here, email coach Londe Gagnon at lgagnon@tcsd.org or call her at 307-699-0537.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.