JHHS Speech & Debate show strong at nationals

It was Jackson’s best outing at nationals as far as qualifying team members. The Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate team looked sharp at the national Speech and Debate tournament this year, qualifying an unprecedented 13 competitors.

The tournament held last week included more than 8,200 entries from 1,315 schools.

Senior and outgoing team captain Josh Hansen joined junior and upcoming team captain Will Aepli in Public Forum Debate where the pair advanced three times past the preliminary rounds. Their advancement to round 9 is the furthest any JHHS Public Forum team has made it in this event at the National Tournament. They spent the 9 rounds arguing both sides of whether or not social media is beneficial for democratic values in the U.S.

Aepli went on to impress in Editorial Commentary where he reached the quarterfinals. Hansen reached the octofinal round in the same event.

Both Aepli and Hansen also advanced to the double octofinal round in Prepared Prompt. Hansen went on to reach the double octofinals in a new event this year called Pro Con Challenge where students must present a recorded speech showing both sides of an argument.

Extemporaneous Debate has long been an event where JHHS students shine at the National tournament and this year was no exception. This event allows students only 30 minutes to prepare after receiving a new topic for each round.

Junior and upcoming team captain Carter Worcester went undefeated in preliminary rounds of this event, and then advanced through three eliminations, making it through round 7. Hansen reached round 6 in the event while sophomore Alexis Hernandez made it to round 5. Worcester also performed well in storytelling where he reached double octofinals.

Both Jackson coaches received special recognition at the national tournament. Londe Gagnon was selected to judge the final round of United States Extemporaneous Speaking. Peggy Gagnon was tapped to judge the finals of Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Londe Gagnon was also recognized for her role as the Wind River District chair, earning a bronze award from the National Speech and Debate Association.

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