Before heading home for winter break, the Jackson Hole High School speech and debate team had a banner December.
In a trio of tournaments, some with a heavy slate of competitors, the team consistently took home individual honors and made strong team showings. The squad has taken 4A competition and virtual formats in stride, continuing the dominance it has displayed in recent years.
“We are very excited for the growth our team continues to show and all the accomplishments they have made so far,” the team’s coaches said in a statement following the last tournament of the month.
Cheyenne East High School hosted the most recent tilt Dec. 18 and 19. In its “Holiday Classic,” the eastern Wyoming school oversaw a contest with 58 schools from 15 states, with 500 entries. In the face of such a large slate of opponents, the Jackson team took seventh.
“Everyone on our team benefited from facing the depth of competition present in Cheyenne,” the coaches’ statement said.
The team also had strong showings in its other two December tournaments. It placed fourth in a Dec. 4 and 5 contest hosted by Cheyenne South High School. Then 13 members of the team participated in a University of Wyoming-hosted contest Dec. 11 and 12, taking home the second-place trophy.
With 300 entries from 30 schools, it was another full competition, but Jackson’s individual performances pulled the team onto the podium. Junior William Aepli and senior Josh Hansen consistently find themselves at the top of their events.
At the University of Wyoming tournament, Aepli took first in Congressional Debate and won Public Forum Debate with partner Lily Briggs. Aepli was named the best speaker in the Public Forum Debate category.
Hansen placed second in both Congressional Debate and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. At the most recent tournament, he also found the podium, winning the Congressional Debate event.
The team’s next tournament will be hosted by Thunder Basin High School on Jan. 8 and 9.