JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team looked sharp in its season opener last weekend. The team brought home 25 individual awards as well as the coveted 1st place team sweepstakes trophy.

“The team showed incredible promise in their first tournament. Varsity and Novice worked together in seamless fashion to bring home numerous top awards and a very large team sweepstakes trophy. It’s going to be an amazing year,” said Londe Gagnon who coaches the team with Peggy Gagnon.


Sweepstakes trophy from Rock Springs. (JHHS Speech and Debate)

Senior and team captain Leila Sandlin led the way in the Program Oral Interpretation event with her 1st-place finish. Her program explores rape culture in a high school setting. She also performed well in Varsity Poetry finishing 7th with her poems about death while sophomore Hyla Chatham took 2nd in the event with her selections about school shootings.

Freshman Virginia Girling brought home 7th place in the novice category of the event.

Chatham paired with sophomore Trey Dykeman in Big Questions Debate where they placed 3rd. The duo spent the weekend debating whether or not humans are primarily driven by self-interest.

Dykeman went on to pair with freshman Carter Worcester in Public Forum Debate to take 2nd place. Over the course of the tournament, the team argued whether or not the United States federal government should impose price controls on the pharmaceutical industry.

Junior Maleah Tuttle had an impressive weekend starting with Lincoln Douglas Debate. Tuttle was the only competitor at the tournament that went undefeated as she entered the semi-final round. She continued her streak through elimination rounds and earned a 1st place finish. Over the course of the weekend, Tuttle argued both sides of the topic: In a democracy, the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

Girling also did well in the novice category of the event, earning 3rd place.

Tuttle went on to win 1st in varsity Impromptu Speaking. Freshman Anna Revill placed 2nd overall in the novice category of the event after placing 1st in every preliminary round.

Senior and team captain, Samantha Smith place 4th in Informative Speaking with her presentation on the media. Junior River Gayton placed 1st in the event with her original work about lying. Junior Darcy Mueller had a great tournament in Extemporaneous Speaking with her 7th place finish while freshman Lily Briggs placed 4th in the novice category of the event.

Gayton went on to partner with sophomore Jacqueline Neishabouri in Duet Interpretation to earn 5th place. In the novice division of the event, Revill and partner freshman Hannah Higgins brought home 3rd place. Higgins went on to place 3rd in novice Original Oratory. Freshman Lilly Egget place 1st in the event with her original work about the positivity of negativity.

Jackson showed strength in Congressional Debate at the meet. Sophomore Josh Hansen finished in 2nd in the varsity group. Girling brought home 4th in the novice category with Freshman William Aepli earning 1st.

Rounding out the individual finishes, freshman Diana Moser placed 5th in novice Humorous Interpretation and Revill earned 2nd in novice Dramatic Interpretation.

Unique to the Rock Springs tournament is the “Triple Threat Award” which is awarded to students with the best records competing in three or more events at the tournament. Tuttle placed 6th in the varsity category while Revill placed 3rd in the novice category.

Jackson competes again in two weeks at Casper College at the “T-Bird Classic.”