Pratt High School forensics teams find success amid chaos

Rose Beilman
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School forensics students share thumbs-up signals at the Medicine Lodge tournament on February 4 where they earned top awards, qualifying several events for state competition.

Pratt High School forensics teams brought home 20 finalists' medals, 8 state championships qualifiers, and 3 state festival qualifiers, after competing at both Medicine Lodge's in-person tourney on Feb. 4 and South Barber's virtual tourney on Feb. 6. In spite of the lack of standardization in how virtual tournaments work for forensics, and in spite of the team and coaches having to learn a new mode or system every week, the team is still managing to earn awards, according to coach Rose Beilman.

Juniors Darrian Cox, Madeline Drake and Dawson Malone showed success early on in the season so far. Cox brought home gold for his Serious Solo from both tourneys this week. Junior Madeline Drake received "I"s in all rounds by all judges of her informative speech, which in turn brought her to first place at South Barber's virtual tourney. Malone showed remarkable pluck in triple-breaking into finals at the Medicine Lodge tourney, while earning 2nd in Humorous Solo, 3rd in Improvised Duet Acting (IDA) with Cox, and 5th in Impromptu Speaking - qualifying each for either state championships or festival.

In addition to these juniors, the team has had both varsity and novice students earning top medals. PHS qualified six other students for state championships with several second place showings: senior Colby Barradas in Serious Solo, senior Kylee Hopkins in Informative Speaking, senior Walker Green in Impromptu Speaking, and senior Nick Vail in Extemporaneous Speaking, along with novice and freshman Addison Hopkins earning silver in Humorous Solo. 

For state festival, aside from Malone in Impromptu, and Cox and Malone in IDA, Vail earned a place.

Overall, the team brought 20 entries into finals, and after those listed above, these included the following students: sophomores Kaylee Pitts and Lexie Voepel in IDA (3rd), senior Colby Barradas in Humorous Solo (3rd), senior Ruby Howell  in Oration (3rd) and in Extemporaneous Speaking (4th), sophomore Michael Dishman in Prose (4th), Drake in Extemporaneous Speaking (6th), and freshman Kaatje Herndon in Oration (6th).

Newcomers to forensics, called "novices," competed for the first time, and these included Jimani Wiechman, Celeste Edwards, Gunnar Jones, and Autumn Kuemin. They learned valuable knowledge about how to present in public and how forensics competition works. All of them will be attending tournaments in the next few weeks.