Speech Team Takes Fifth at State

The Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team placed fifth in 4A this weekend, at the State Speech and Debate tournament, held in Green River, Wyoming on March 9-11. The finish comes on the heels of the team’s successful first season competing in 4A. Jackson’s state squad included three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen who joined over 400 other competitors and 33 schools at the three day meet. Green River placed first in the 4A category, followed by Cheyenne East in second, Rock Springs in third, and Cheyenne Central in fourth. Incidentally, Jackson tied in sweepstakes points with 3A State Champions, Riverton. The State Meet limits schools to 18 entries and Jackson advanced 50% of its entries to culminating rounds on Saturday, far in excess of the average of 28%.

PF Debate was Jackson’s strongest event at the tournament.  Senior Mataya Foster and junior Aaron Trauner earned the title of State Champions in the event. Sophomores Shoshana Sangros and Samantha finished close behind, earning third place medals in the event. Both teams spent the weekend exploring whether or not the US should stop pressuring Israel toward a two state solution.

Trauner went on to place second in Congressional Debate amidst a field of 78 competitors. Smith also had a strong showing in the event by making it to the final rounds. Junior Ellie Dunn placed fifth in Lincoln Douglas Debate while freshman Maleah Tuttle made it to the octo-final round (the top 18 in the event). The debaters argued whether or not the US ought to guarantee the right to housing. Dunn earned twelfth place in Extemporaneous Speaking as well.

The Jackson poets also had a strong weekend. Senior and team captain Kyler Arriola made it to the quarter-final round of Poetry Interpretation while sophomore Leila Sandlin and senior Adrienne Sugarman advanced to the semi-final round of the event.

Jackson’s state squad also included freshman Jake Todd who missed advancing to semi-finals in Humorous Interpretation by one placing, sophomore Alisha Vinson, and freshman Anushka Olvera. The team is coached by Londe Gagnon and Peggy Gagnon.  At the tournament, Londe Gagnon was named 4A Coach of the Season.

Gagnon reflects, “ Our team and coaches place cooperation, ethical conduct and sportsmanship as their primary goals.  Our team’s ability to recognize the complex challenges and rewards of team competition, beyond simply winning and losing, is truly inspiring.”

Gagnon was also elected as the new Wyoming High School Forensics Association president.

The team  will now start preparation for the National Speech and Debate Qualifying Tournament, which will  be held in Casper  this upcoming weekend. The top finishers at this meet will travel to the  2017 National Tournament which will be held in Birmingham, Alabama this June.


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