Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Young team learns from Nationals


Green River students gained a lot of experience at the National Speech and Debate Tournament.

Last week, nine Green River High School Speech and Debate team members competed at the tournament, which took place in Salt Lake City.

Gregory Marchal competed in extemporaneous speaking and extemporaneous debate. Patrick Marchal, Vabsi Ibarra, Maggie Taliaferro, Jesse Lauze and Haley Lauze made up the World School Debate Team for the Wind River District and had a chance to compete together as a team against students from all over the globe. Taliaferro and Jesse also competed in extemporaneous debate and Haley competed in storytelling. 

Atlin Johnson and Victoria Allen competed in cross examination debate and Johnson also competed in extemporaneous debate, while Allen competed in expository.  Abigail Grubb competed in the informative category.

Carina White, head speech coach, said the World School Team went 3-3. Allen made it to the fourth round in expository, which is great since that event is a one-loss elimination event. Jesse made it five rounds in extemporaneous debate.

Even though the students didn’t make it farther in their categories, they gained much needed experience.

“All but three members of the team are sophomores, in a field of mostly juniors and seniors at nationals, just qualifying at such a young point in their speech and debate career is such an accomplishment,” White said. “They all gained some invaluable experience seeing the diversity and talent at that level of competition and they all left excited to use that knowledge next season.”

Each participant is guaranteed six preliminary rounds and if they have enough wins in those preliminary rounds, they will advance to the elimination rounds.

“They were sad to not make it to elimination rounds, but really felt positive about their experience,” White said. “They are able to not only compete against people from all over the country, but they get to watch final rounds and analyze what those students are doing that is successful and then use that information to improve their practice.” 

The seniors had the realization their high-school speech and debate careers were over. White said this was a bittersweet moment for those seniors.

As for the sophomores, they cannot wait to see what next year’s season will be like and they are looking forward to the year.

“They all want to qualify again and I think that by the time those sophomores are seniors they are going to have phenomenal success at nationals,” White said.

Abigail and Gregory qualified as freshmen also and their goal is to qualify all four years, which hasn’t happened for the team yet. White said very few students qualify all four years and the National Speech and Debate Association awards those students who qualify all four years with a college scholarship.

“It is a whole other type of competition and they have to elevate their game.” White said. “Someday we will have a national champion from Green River and it very well could be from this sophomore class.”

White wanted to thank the Green River residents for all of the community support the team has received over the years. She also wanted to thank Sweetwater County School District No. 2 board members, its administration, the transportation department and the Sweetwater County Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

“We are so blessed to coach in a district that supports our program a 1,000 percent,” White said.


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