South High Forensics Takes on Nationals

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Juliet Chang, Writer

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On Thursday, May 23rd, the South High Forensics team traveled to Milwaukee for their first of two national tournaments. Nine students spanning across each class attended the competition, competing in five different categories. South High Debate also sent along two debators.

The team spent one day of “vacation” time. Friday was a team bonding experience, with members running around Milwaukee for ice cream, fun, and adventure. Coach Malyssa Gabrielson describes its importance saying, “It’s nice to take some time to just step away for the nervousness of the competition and just focus that energy on destroying each other in laser tag.”

The actual tournament began on Saturday and spanned two days. The first day marks the preliminary rounds, where hundreds of kids compete in four rounds. Students are ranked from one to six in each room they’re in. At the end of the first day, students who are ranked Top 48 in their category stay in the competition, while everyone else is cut out. This is a term called “breaking” where students make it to the next set of rounds. After the four preliminary rounds, only one of the nine South Forensics entries “broke” into the next stage, octofinals.

Junior Jacksen Wolff initially ranked 29th out of over 200 students in Oral Interpretation of Literature, a category in which students alternate between performing a 10-minute poetry selection and a 10-minute prose piece. As the competition progressed, not only did he make it to octofinals, but quarterfinals, before finally stopping at semifinals, placing him at 9th in the nation. He describes the experience as, “Great. Forensics is one of my deepest passions, so competing really brings me to a whole different mindset. For a moment, I’m just completely immersed in my piece and the emotion in it. It seems, that for a second, everything I’m saying is real, and all my real world stressors are gone. It’s an unreal experience.”

Although he went the farthest in the competition, many of the other students did an excellent job in the contest. Senior Kobe Bopha and Sophomore Greta Thoresen ended up ranking 53rd in the category of Duo Interpretation, being only one point away from breaking to octofinals. Out of our entire diocese (district), the pair were the highest ranking Duo Interpretation.

Overall, the trip was fairly successful for the team. With victories and unforgettable moments, they’ve all gained invaluable experience. Freshman Mason McWherter says, “Competing showed me the strength and determination needed to be at the highest level.”

Catch the team at their second nationals tournament, this time in Dallas, Texas from June 15th to 22nd.