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Panther forensics team opens the season with the sweepstakes trophy
Back row: Isaiah Smith, Dinah Newman, C.J. Gibson, Robbie Brining. Front row: Malachi Wasson, Bayle Sandy, Skylar Fletcher, Jalyn Lear, Patrick Heath.

Great Bend High School speech students kicked off the 2019 forensics competition on Saturday, January 26, by capturing the 1st place sweepstakes trophy at the Kinsley invitational tournament and qualifying seven entries for state competition.

Great Bend dominated the field of 10 western Kansas schools by turning in outstanding performances in the three preliminary rounds, Coach Kim Heath reported. All nine of the students who made the early morning trek to Kinsley made it to the final round in at least one of their events.  

Students who placed first or second in their event earned the right to compete at the Kansas 5A State Forensics Tournament to be held in May. Those qualifying for state included: Senior Jalyn Lear - 1st place in Prose and 1st place in Serious Solo Acting; junior Bayle Sandy - 1st place in Impromptu Speaking, 1st place in Original Oration, and 2nd place in Serious Solo Acting; junior Patrick Heath - 1st place in Informative Speaking; sophomore Dinah Newman - 2nd place in Informative Speaking; and freshman Malachi Wasson - 2nd place in Humorous Solo Acting.

Other students earning medals included: Patrick Heath, 3rd in Humorous Solo Acting; Dinah Newman,  6th in Poetry; CJ Gibson, 5th in Prose and 6th in Informative Speaking; Isaiah Smith, 5th in Poetry and 7th in Impromptu Speaking; Isaiah Smith and Malachi Wasson, 4th in Duet Acting; Skylar Fletcher and Robbie Brining, 6th in Duet Acting; Skylar Fletcher, 7th in Humorous Solo Acting and Robbie Brining, 6th in Original Oration.

First-year head coach Heath said she was very pleased with the efforts of her squad. “The students were excited to finally be able to get their performances out to a competition. It was very satisfying to see their hard work pay off with a big sweepstakes win and so many individuals qualifying events to State.”

Mock Congress

Varsity team members Patrick Heath and Bayle Sandy, and novice members Daniel Abbott, Isaiah Smith and Malachi Wasson, traveled to Buhler last Friday to debate legislation in the Buhler High School mock congress debate tournament. This activity involves authoring, defending and arguing the pros and cons of legislation in a forum very similar to the U.S. Congress. The GBHS student congress team proposed legislation to restore net neutrality.

Students are scored by a judge on their speaking abilities and the top six speakers earn medals. Junior Daniel Abbott placed 4th in the novice house and freshman Malachi Williams placed 5th. Patrick Heath finished 7th in the varsity house.

The squad will see its next action Feb. 8-9 at the Abilene Cowboy Invitational. Students will compete in Student Congress on Friday and Forensics events on Saturday.