Forensic Team Beats the Odds at Woodland Park Invitational

Riley Cluxton, Reporter

The Manitou Springs High School (MSHS) Forensics team only has five members this year, and each member begins the year at their own level: either Novice or Varsity. From there, they continue to develop the climb up the ranks. Practice is emphasized by the coaches and the Forensics members for success at Invitationals.

Teams from all across the state gathered at the Woodland Park High School Forensic Invitational over the weekend. The cafeteria was filled with students ready to present their monologues and display their public speaking skills. The competition lasted all day and the students rehearsed their presentations and points in hallways to fellow teammates and friends. Coaches reviewed and checked in on each of their students in the Woodland Park High School commons.

Some of the schools included Sand Creek High School, Woodland Park High School, and MSHS’s rival school: St. Mary High School. One of the varsity Forensic members at MSHS, Jake Underwood (11), said, “(Invitationals) are soul crushingly long. We left (for Woodland Park) at 6:30. from (MSHS) and we didn’t get back until 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. Each event is a separate tournament and everyone gets awards for different events. John Beebe (12) and McKenna Reid (12) got the 6th and 5th place, respectively, in their events.”

The Forensics team meets every Monday and Wednesday after school in Mrs. Nagel’s room. They practice sub branches or categories that each member of the Forensics team chooses until the official meets. Extemporaneous speaking was a subcategory that appeared at the Woodland Park Invitational, and are segments of cases where participants get little time to find, develop and research a case on a certain subject. “It’s not like a formalized practice thing, everyone kind of moves at their own pace. I’m probably going to put a total of 5-ish hours into my preparation and I do debate myself,” said Underwood.

After all this preparation, the Forensics members presented their cases, debates and public speeches to a panel of judges in each category. One of the judges, Cassidy Allen, is a former student and member of the Forensics team at Woodland Park High School. Students and staff alike related and spoke for something they are all passionate about. “My favorite part of the Woodland Park Invitational was either watching the finals for POI (Program Oral Interpretation) or watching the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We got two people to score and get trophies, and considering that is almost half our team, we did pretty well,” said Underwood.