High school orator selected for national tourney | SteamboatToday.com

High school orator selected for national tourney

— Steamboat Springs junior Jenny Castner will attend the national speech tournament in Oregon in June after placing well at a qualifying tournament.

Coach Shauna Lamansky said the young Steamboat Springs High School speech team exceeded expectations this year.

“We were kind of surprised. Most of the team is freshmen and sophomores and we wondered what would that bring and it turned out pretty good,” she said, adding she expects the team will be extremely strong next year.

The second-to-last meet of the year was on March 17 and 18 at Columbine High School in Littleton, with juniors Bryn Weaver, Jenny Castner and Kyle Kuvin and sophomores Jenni Stanford and Julie Lewis attending.

More than 80 schools competed in nine different speaking events, making it a challenging tournament. There were 50 to 60 competitors in three tournaments and they were narrowed to 12 finalists.

“You have to be good and kind of lucky,” Lamansky said, who coaches the team with her husband, Marty.

Stanford was the only Steamboat student to place, coming in in ninth in the state in international extemporaneous speaking.

“For a sophomore to have this high a finish is a remarkable achievement,” Lamansky said.

The Rocky Mountain North National Qualifying Tournament, sponsored by the National Forensic League, was April 7 and 8 in Greeley. Competitors participated in eight events to qualify for the national tournament.

Castner won first place in original oratory, the fourth consecutive year a student from Steamboat has placed in nationals and the fifth time a student has placed in the oratory event. It also is the 11th time Steamboat has sent students to nationals, more times than any other Western Slope school, Lamansky said.

In the original oratory competition, students write an original 10-minute monologue, which must include some supporting material. Castner’s piece was “Enjoy the Doughnut, Forget About the Hole” and was about having a positive attitude.

The national tournament is challenging because it is a double-elimination format over a two-day period that whittles down the field until seven students remain.

“It really becomes an endurance contest,” Lamansky said. “It’s a battle for consistency.”

Steamboat brought 12 students to the qualifying tournament. Not one of the competitors was a senior but six made it to elimination, with three making it to the finals.

For the second year, Weaver and Stanford both were in the final round of international extemporaneous speaking, with Stanford placing fourth and Weaver placing seventh.

The National Tournament is from June 11 to 17 at Portland State University in Oregon. About 200 students are in the tournament, meaning that Castner is among the top 1 to 2 percent of speech team members in the country.

— To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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