GRHS Speech and Debate Members Have Qualified for Nationals

GRHS Speech and Debate Members Have Qualified for Nationals

This photo was taken the day the team found out the in-person State Speech and Debate Tournament was cancelled. Photo courtesy of the GRHS Speech and Debate Facebook page.

GREEN RIVER — Even though the district competition was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the National Speech and Debate Association still qualified students for nationals.

Dan Parson, Green River High School teacher and speech and debate coach, said this year the team has seven national qualifiers: Will Allen in humor, Shelby McFaden in congress, Jessica Petri in world schools debate, Mickie Scott in Lincoln Douglas debate, Emma Christensen in informative speaking, Spencer Travis in extemporaneous speaking, and Alex Shafe in extemporaneous speaking.

Both State and the national-qualifying tournaments were cancelled due to COVID-19, Parson said. Since districts was cancelled, which is where the national qualifiers are determined, the national association had to come up with another way to select the qualifiers.

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National qualification was determined by a formula the district committee applied using the performance of each student during the regular season, Parson explained.

Nationals was going to take place in New Mexico this year, but the in-person format has been cancelled. Instead, on June 12-18, an online version will occur.

“We are excited to see what this is like and how we will do,” Parson said.

State Moves to Online Format

“State was only an hour or two from beginning when word finally filtered down to shut it down,” Parson said. “It was a real blow to all the hard work the kids and team had done to prepare, not to mention all the people who volunteered to judge. However, I agree with the decision and felt it best to put the safety of our community and participants first.”

After State was cancelled, the University of Wyoming Debate team offered to host an online version, which will take place April 21-25. Parson said having State online is exciting and he thinks the team will do well.

Competing online is something new for the GRHS team and the state. Parson said they have not competed online before and preparing for the competition online has been challenging.

Those attending the State competition this year are Will Allen, James Bagshaw, Emma Christensen, Elijah Kropf, Dallin Kurth, Olivia Nielsen, Alex Shafe, Eli Thomas, Spencer Travis, and Mia Worrell.

“This was a crazy season with an even crazier end, but through it all, the hard work, good nature, and warmth of the kids on this team pulled us through,” Parson said. “I am honored to be their coach and know they will make us all proud in the coming days.”