The Jackson Hole High School speech and debate team has done it again.
After ending 2019 on a high note — with one tournament win and a second-place finish — the team found itself atop the podium this past weekend at the Kelly Walsh Invitational in Casper. In a competition that featured 13 schools and more than 300 individual entries, the Jackson team handily won the team sweepstakes.
“I am extremely proud of the successes of the Jackson team,” coach Peggy Gagnon said in a statement. “We have seen incredible growth among both the new and returning members already this season and look forward to coming tournaments!”
The team was dominant in the sweepstakes, scoring 65 points, 2.5 times Worland’s second-place score of 26. That kind of strong squad performance is often based on standout individual showings, and for the Jackson team the Kelly Walsh tournament was no exception.
Several Jackson students found themselves in first place in their events.
Senior team captain Warren Levy took a pair of podium finishes, one in Extemporaneous Speaking, which gives students a choice of three topics in United States current events.
Using articles and sources they have collected before the tournament, they have a half-hour to prepare a seven-minute speech on their selected topic. They deliver the speech from memory, according to the National Speech and Debate Association.
Levy and sophomore William Aepli tied for first in Lincoln Douglas Debate in a discussion of whether states should eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Joining them in the ranks of first-place finishers were Preston Harmon and partner Josh Hansen, who won the Public Forum Debate arguing whether the U.S. should end its economic sanctions on Venezuela.
Those students weren’t the only ones who found themselves on the podium, however. Aepli finished second in Congressional Debate, continuing his trend of success in the event this season. Senior Maleah Tuttle was runner-up in Extemporaneous Speaking, and sophomore Nayeli Hernandez Lopez’s piece on U.S. immigration and deportation policies earned her second place in Original Oratory.
Rounding out the podium finishers were three more Jackson students. Senior River Gayton’s presentation on colors was good for third in Informative Speaking, and Carter Worcester and Jesiah Coates, both sophomores, teamed up for third place in Public Forum Debate.