POWELL, Wyoming — Everyone on this year’s Northwest College Forensics Team is a hardware collector, according to coaches Jeannie Hunt, Greg Thomas and Bob Becker.
The squad has attended three tournaments thus far this season, and each student has brought home awards from every meet they’ve competed in (awards and trophies are often referred to as hardware in the forensics world).
“Considering we have only three returning sophomores and seven freshmen,” Hunt said, “we’re extremely satisfied with the strong showing we’re seeing.”
The young-but-mighty squad has picked up a second and two thirds in sweepstakes in the first tournaments of the season —one in Pueblo, Colorado, and two on the same weekend in Portland, Oregon, and Torrington.
“Splitting the team is always a risk,” Hunt said, “because you cut your chance to win tournament sweepstakes when you split your talent. But it was important to take some students to Portland to get some national level exposure while also giving some of our new students the opportunity to get another regional tournament in before they see some really big schools at the end of the month.”
Besides splitting the team, the coaches have had to deal with other handicaps. “Due to class obligations and illness,” Thomas said, “we haven’t fielded a full team to a tournament yet, so we are pretty happy to be placing.”
Despite the challenges, the young squad is promising a good year, starting with a second place finish in the two-year division and fourth overall at the Rocky Mountain Classic (RMC) in Pueblo, Colorado, the last weekend in September.
Big Horn Basin students bringing home awards from Pueblo include Jarelly Castro of Greybull, who took third in communication analysis and fifth in persuasive speaking; Julie Mendez, also from Greybull, brought home a third in drama and a fifth in junior prose
Clinton Cordova of Byron took third in duet and fifth in prose; Connor Hunt and Jose Garcia of Powell finished second in drama and sixth in junior informative, respectively; Isaabella Munoz of Worland was second in program oral interpretation; and Vanessa Petersen of Hyattville took second in poetry.
Star Valley’s Colby Day took third in junior prose, and Nora Minch of Billings, Montana, scored two third places — one in duet and one in prose — plus a fourth in poetry. Taylor Rempp of Harrison, Nebraska, took fourth in junior informative.
The debate team of Castro and Hunt advanced to the quarter final round to place fourth overall in junior parliamentary debate, while Day and Munoz made it to the octo-final round, placing fifth overall in the same category.
The team split into two traveling groups the weekend of Oct. 7-9. Four members went to the Steve Hunt Classic hosted by Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where they placed third among two-year schools and ninth out of all 29 schools competing.
Munoz was named the top novice in program oral interpretation and took second in program oral interpretation. Hunt was selected 10th speaker in junior parliamentary debate and teamed with Munoz for fourth in the same event. Castro and Meyers took third.
The other traveling group went to Torrington for the Lancer Classic, hosted by Eastern Wyoming Community College. Once again, the team placed third overall and each NWC competitor came home with something to show for their work.
Cordova collected firsts in after dinner speaking and duet, plus fourth in drama, to score first in the pentathlon. Day finished second in the pentathlon by picking up seconds in duet and after dinner speaking, plus a fourth-place speaker award in international public debate. He also finished second in novice international public debate.
Garcia took sixth in informative; Mendez was fifth in drama. Rempp collected a second in duet and program oral interpretation, third in persuasive and fifth in informative. In novice international public debate, she finished fifth and was named second speaker.
Marcus Thomas of Powell picked up a third in communication analysis and second in duet.
“We have come home from all three tournaments with at least one award for every student who has traveled to that tournament.,” Becker said. “That's a great way to start the season.”
The team will try to keep the momentum rolling as it continues its season Oct. 28-30 at the Al Johnson Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado.