RHS duo to compete at national speech and debate tournament

Mar 31, 2017 By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

Two Riverton High School Speech and Debate students qualified for nationals at the district tournament on March 18.

Nic Fenton, a junior, and Heather McLaughlin, a senior, will advance to the national competition June 19-23 in Birmingham, Alabama, with their interp duo "Bubble Boy the Musical," which earned them first place at several of the meets throughout the season.

Coach Annette Thornton said she is hopeful about the duo's chances.

"I think they have a really good chance of going to out-rounds at nationals," she said, meaning they would be in the top 60 or even 30 in the nation. "We'll see where it goes from there."

Fenton and McLaughlin both qualified in individual events as well, but competitors with multiple qualifications must choose only one event to take to the national competition.

The team experienced success throughout the season, winning the state championship March 9-11 in Green River, a first in Thornton's 12 years coaching the team.

Most recently, four members, McLaughlin and Fenton, along with junior Katarina Tyler and freshman Joseph Thornton, were named Wyoming Forensics all-state competitors, each with multiple first place finishes through the season.

At a Worland meet, Fenton competed in four separate events and won first place in each one.

The team won first place overall at the Worland and Evanston meets, and won first in the 3A division at the Natrona meet, with 44 teams participating.

Thornton said most of the team's success was in interp events, with some good showing in congressional debate and extemporaneous speaking events. She added that they plan to develop these events in future seasons.

RHS also won the traveling "Zebra Head," trophy a large paper mache zebra head to paint in the school's colors. The Zebra Head goes to the best average score on the team, determined by the total number of our points earned by the team, divided by the number of entries. This is the second time the team has won it in the last seven years.

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