JHHS Speech and Debate Team. Photo: Londe Gagnon

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Jackson Hole High School (JHHS) Speech and Debate Team earned a first-place sweepstakes trophy this past weekend at the Evander Virtual Extravaganza co-hosted by Evanston and Lander High Schools.

Nineteen schools attended the event on Feb. 25 and 26, with entries from Wisconsin and Louisiana joining the Wyoming teams. The Jackson team, under the coaching of Londe Gagnon and Peggy Gagnon, earned 92 sweepstakes with Worland coming in second with 41 points.

Juniors Julieta Anaya and Blanca Sartillo were the champions in Duo Interpretation with their presentation of, “The Rehearsal” by Don Zolidis. Juniors Maya Worcester and Ventura Garcia Perez finished in 4th place in the same event.

Anaya went on to take 2nd place in Poetry Interpretation while Sartillo placed 6th in Program Oral Interpretation. Worcester finished in 6th in Humorous Interpretation with Junior Nicole Checker placing 7th in Dramatic Interpretation.

Junior Jheili Montiel Huerta placed 2nd in Original Oratory with her speech on the underrepresentation in the media of missing and murdered indigenous women.

The JHHS squad dominated in Impromptu Speaking, an event where the competitor has to craft a speech on a name, phrase or object with virtually no preparation time. Senior Sarah Schweitzer placed 2nd while senior and team captain, Will Aepli placed 3rd. Checker placed 5th and Garcia Perez finished in 6th place. Anaya and sophomore Jackson Neishabouri reached the semi finals of the event as well.

Aepli went on to team up with fellow senior and team captain Lily Briggs to bring home the championship in Public Forum Debate. Senior and team captain Carter Worcester paired up with Schweitzer to tie for third in the event along with freshmen team Ronan Hagedorn and Case Meaney.

Extemp also proved to be successful for the JHHS team. Aepli was the champion in the event with Schweitzer taking 2nd and junior Alexis Hernandez placing 5th.

Carter Worcester found himself at the top of the podium in Congressional Debate. He was joined on stage by fellow JHHS teammates Garcia Perez who finished in 5th, James Neishbouri who placed 7th, Maya Worcester who finished in 8th and Briggs who took 9th.

Garcia Perez finished in 5th place in Lincoln Douglas, rounding out an incredible meet for him where he competed and placed in four events. Additionally, Aepli was the recipient of the tournament championship belt for earning the most points during the competition.

The team travels next to Worland this upcoming weekend to compete in their last regular-season tournament before the culminating state and district competitions.

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.