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GBHS has strong showing at the Cougar Classic forensics tournament
Back row – Xanna Smith, CJ Gibson, Isaiah Smith, Bryce Hopkins, Daniel Abbott, Patrick Heath Front row – Bayle Sandy, Kenia Balderrama, Jessy Moeder and Malachi Wasson

The Great Bend High School speech team finished 6th out of an 18-school field this past weekend at Salina South at a very competitive meet, GBHS coach Kim Heath said. The tournament drew schools from as far away as Lansing and Dodge City, Blue Springs, Missouri, and Jenks, Okla.

Salina South will be the host of the 5A state forensics championship in May. Coach Heath said she wanted to get her students to this tournament so that they could get a feel for the community judging pool and have the opportunity to compete in a multi-elimination round tournament.

“While we did not bring home one of the sweepstakes trophies, I was still very pleased with the students’ many successes. Some of the events had up to 49 competitors and some of those students have been doing forensics since early last fall. So I believe we held our own pretty well,” she said.

In Duo Interpretation, sophomores Isaiah Smith and Malachi Wasson earned 2nd place medals, while seniors Patrick Heath and Daniel Abbot brought home 5th place. Patrick Heath also placed 5th in 10-minute Informative with visual aids and 4th in Poetry Interpretation. Abbott was a semi-finalist in Impromptu Speaking but did not advance to finals.

Isaiah Smith placed 1st in Dramatic Interpretation and qualified for state. Senior Bayle Sandy placed 3rd. Sandy also competed in speaking events. She was 5th in Impromptu Speaking and 1st in seven-minute Informative without visual aids.  

Senior CJ Gibson won 4th place in seven-minute Informative and finished 10th overall in Program of Oral Interpretation.  

Other students earning points toward Great Bend High School’s 6th-place finish included Xanna Smith, Bryce Hopkins, Kenia Balderrama and Jessy Moeder. Maddix Pokorski, Moeder, Balderrama and Isaiah Smith represented GBHS on Friday night in the congressional debate portion of the tournament.