West Ranch Hosts Spring Open Speech Tournament


Iman Baber and Noor Baber

It was a warm first day of February, and the sun shone bright in the sky. A large banner hung off the gates at the front of West Ranch, reading: “West Ranch Speech and Debate.” Nervous students entered the school dressed in formal attire: blazers and slacks, suits and ties. 


On Feb. 1, 2020, the Tri-County Forensic League hosted the Spring Open Speech Tournament at West Ranch High School. Contestants arrived early in the morning, eagerly awaiting their three rounds while continuously reviewing their speeches. 


At 9:00 am, the first round of Panel A began. Competitors in Extemporaneous, Original Advocacy, Expository Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation, Original Interpretation, Storytelling and Spontaneous Argumentative headed off to their classrooms for their rounds.


The first round of Panel B began at 10:30 am. Soon after, competitors in Impromptu, Original Oratory, Humorous Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Original Prose and Poetry, Duo Interpretation and Duo Improv faced off in their rounds. 


The competition at West Ranch was freshman Sana Meher’s second open speech tournament.   


“I competed in Original Advocacy, which is basically a ten minute speech on any topic, but it has to be a persuasive topic,”  she said. “It was a pretty fun competition, and I met a lot of new people there.”


Although students rushed to and fro for their events, there was no air of tension hanging around the school. High school students from different schools mingled together and enjoyed the day, playing games, singing or eating snacks sold off a concession stand managed by West Ranch’s Speech and Debate Team. Rounds in both panels continued back to back throughout the day, each lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes. 


The competition came to a close in the early evening, and the last round ended as the sun was setting. The sky was dark and the temperature had dipped down as students and parents enjoyed themselves, waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.


With an array of golden trophies shining on the MPR stage and students shuffling into the seats, the atmosphere seemed to buzz of excitement. Soon, the tournament directors arrived, and began announcing the awards. 


Overall, the West Ranch Speech team performed admirably. Camille Blanco won first place in Humorous Interpretation. Atharva Sontakke received Excellent certificates in Impromptu and Spontaneous Argumentative, while Drew Ashlock won first place in both categories. Janice Kim received fourth place in Original Oratory, while Noor Baber earned an Excellent certificate in the same category.  Jayden Barnholtz won second place in Oratorical Interpretation, while Adhitya Ram received a Superior certificate. Iman Baber won first place in Expository speaking and received a Superior certificate in Original Prose and Poetry. 


“We had a great turnout from students from other leagues, and our students did really well. We had a number of them do excellent work and take some first and second places, as well as some certificates in Superiority and Excellence,” explained team coach Mr. Smith. “I think they’re well prepared to go anywhere at our State Qualifying tournaments.”


The West Ranch community congratulates the Wildcats on their win, and wishes them luck as they move forward towards the State Qualifier tournaments in March.