Forensics team qualifies four Sailors for state tourney |

Forensics team qualifies four Sailors for state tourney

Mike McCollum

Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Paula Ninger was one of four Forensics team members to qualify for the state tournament, March 14 and 15 at Chaparral High School in Parker. Senior Ashley Lopez, junior Blaise Holden and sophomore Parker Stegmaier also qualified for the tournament.

— The Steamboat Springs High School forensics team will send four of its members to the state tournament after dissecting the regional competition last weekend in Delta.

Senior Ashley Lopez, junior Blaise Holden and sophomores Paula Ninger and Parker Stegmaier will travel to the Front Range on March 14 and 15 for the state tournament at Chaparral High School in Parker.

Coach Lisa Ruff said she also anticipates the team will be represented in June at the national forensics tournament in Las Vegas. For those who qualify for the national tournament, the season would be entering its ninth month.

“It’s truly the longest season out of any activities at our high school,” Ruff said. “The difficulty in competing with forensics is maintaining that intensity from October through June. : You’ve got to keep practicing. They have to want it and to keep dedicated at it.”

The forensics season is not over for those who didn’t qualify for the state tournament. The National Speech and Debate qualifying tournament is March 28 and 29 in Fort Collins.

Ruff noted the focus of Ninger as an example of how the team has not lost its tenacity and hunger for success.

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“Paula chose a piece in August, and she has been working so hard on it,” she said. “All year long she has been so dedicated, and because of that dedication and because she practices about three times (a week) with me and twice a week with a peer, she placed at regionals.”

Part of the rules for competition in dramatic or humorous interpretation is that team members don’t change the selected pieces and they maintain the author’s integrity.

Ninger, 16, placed fourth out of more than 30 competitors at the regional tournament in the humorous interpretation of literature category for her rendition of Ken Bradbury’s one-act play “Going Up.”

In the 10-minute scene, Ninger plays five characters, all with a different voice and unique body language.

“You just try to have fun with it,” she said. “It’s about a bunch of people in an elevator and it stops. It shows people as calm, and then it progresses to them being insane.”

Ninger competed against fellow team members Stegmaier and Holden, who tied for seventh place.

The Sailor with the best showing at the regional tournament was Lopez, who placed second in international extemporaneous speaking. She was the only competitor to receive a perfect score in the final round.

“The speech she was most worried about was the speech she did the best in,” Ruff said. Lopez’s events are much different than what her teammates presented. She doesn’t know until 30 minutes before she speaks what topic she’ll present – an argument that is generated on the spot.

“She’s been practicing for about two weeks, anticipating speeches on the recent turmoil in Kosovo,” Ruff said. “Her first two rounds were on Afghanistan and Iraq, and as we thought, the final speech was on Kosovo. She just nailed the speech.”

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