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Ashlanders going on to national speech contest

Ashland High School’s speech and debate team won the 5A division, had three individual champions and had many students place at the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Speech State Championship on April 21 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Ten Ashland students qualified for the national Speech and Debate Tournament in Florida in June. They’re raising funds to pay for their trip.

Ashland’s team ended with 81 points (an improvement from the 49 points the team earned in 2017) in the 5A division, according to Matt Marr, Ashland speech and debate coach. Hood River Valley was second and Bend was third.

According to Marr, schools in Oregon are divided by size by the OSAA for sports and activities. All students at state in speech and debate events compete together, but team results are divided out into three championships: large school (6A), medium (5A), and small (1-4A).

Besides winning three events, Ashland also placed in all five debate events and seven of 11 speech events.

“We are closer as a team than ever before,” Marr said. “Our students are hard-working, caring and make sure that everyone is included and feels successful. Everyone in our class researched and helped with practices to make sure our team was as ready for state as we could be and it paid off in many ways.”

Hannah Doyle, an AHS junior, has been on the debate team for three years. She placed third in the parliamentary (parli) debate event. In this event, two pairs debate against each other after having only 15 minutes from when they receive their topic to prepare their arguments.

Doyle participated in the Tournament of Champions AHS hosted last month. She said she learned a lot from that experience, but the rules are slightly different between a national and state event. Doyle said at the TOC, some students spoke at up to 350 words per minute, something that doesn’t happen at the Oregon state competition. Normal speaking goes at about 130-150 words per minute.

“State was really exciting — it’s my favorite tournament because it’s at the end of the year and it’s great team bonding,” Doyle said.

Marr said the next big event is the national speech and debate tournament in Florida, June 10, which many students qualified for. Donations to help students get to nationals are accepted at ashland-high-or.ed.co/speech-and-debate-team.

Full results for Ashland competitors at state:

• After Dinner Speaking: Leah Aaronson, semifinals.

• Dramatic Interpretation: Dylan Kistler, semifinals.

• Expository: Maya Livni, semifinals.

• Extemporaneous: Sarah Aaronson, semifinals; Alex Webb, finalist.

• Impromptu: Dylan Kistler, 1st; Alex Webb, finalist.

• Oratory: Lilli Morrish, 1st.

• Radio: Lilli Morrish, finalist.

• Congress: Cole Daneman, super congress.

• Parlimentary: Alex Webb and Hannah Doyle, semifinals (3rd)

• Policy: Ellis Pryor, Jackson Rice and Kellen Rice, semifinals (tie 3rd); Ben Lucero, Maris Evans and Julian Rice, quarters (5th)

• LD (Lincoln-Douglas): Dylan Kistler, 1st

• Public Forum Debate: Zander Huston and Amelia Kahn, Annika Larson and Maya Livni, (tie 9th)

Also competing at state were Maya Davis, Thatcher Houghton, Lillian Ljungkvist, Sienna Scoggin, Hazel Richards, Bella Mannray and Nic VanDerZwan.

— Contact freelance writer Caitlin Fowlkes at Caitlin.fowlkes@gmail.com.