by Wayne Gorry
for the roundup
At the Arizona Interscholastic Association tournament, which took place Friday and Saturday at Payson High School, two PHS seniors, Ryan Davis and Aspen Gorry, who were recently named Academic All Americans, led their speech, debate and theater teammates to second-place honors.
Ryan and Aspen were members of teams that shared the State Championship in policy debate.
Ryan was selected state champion in impromptu and third in extemporaneous while Aspen was selected runner-up in extemporaneous and third in oratory.
The National Forensic League recently recognized the two students for their accomplishments in both speech and debate competition and academic achievement.
To qualify for the award, the PHS seniors had to earn the Degree of Outstanding Distinction with the NFL, maintain at least a 3.7 grade point average, score a minimum of 1400 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and demonstrate leadership in their high school.
Ryan and Aspen had an outstanding four years in Speech and Debate.
As freshmen, they teamed to win every tournament in novice policy debate and won fifth place at the state tournament. In their freshmen year at state, Aspen was third in extemporaneous speaking, and Ryan was fifth.
In their junior year, Ryan achieved success in Lincoln-Douglas debate, and Aspen continued to dominate policy debate. With his partner, Matt Williams, Aspen qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament. The two made it through the elimination rounds until only 33 teams remained. In extemporaneous speaking at the state competition, Ryan was state champion, and Aspen was runner-up.
As seniors, the two have become the most outstanding speakers in Arizona. Ryan has won five extemporaneous speaking tournaments, two Lincoln-Douglas tournaments, three impromptu tournaments, and has been in the top three in every student congress competition.
At the Red Mountain Invitational, Ryan was named the Outstanding Overall Speaker.
Aspen has won five debate tournaments and has consistently been among the top three speakers in extemporaneous speaking. He was named the top speaker in policy debate at the Southwest Championships at Arizona State University and the Outstanding Overall Speaker at the Gilbert Invitational.
On Saturday night, after two days of competition, The PHS Speech and Debate Team and the PHS Drama Department captured second place in the AIA State Speech and Theater Tournament. They also received an excellent rating in Play Competition.
Taking the top honors at the two-day competition was River Valley High School from Bullhead City.
Valley Christian High School took third place honors; Winslow was fourth and Snowflake was fifth.
The competition included two debate events, six oral interpretation of literature competitions and four events in public speaking.
PHS students Lisa Jackson and Malori Heppler were semifinalists in poetry, and Doug Kreie was a semi-finalist in expository speaking.
The following students received awards:
Rose Galhotra, fifth in expository speaking; Beth Waldrop and Rose Galhotra, fifth in duo-interpretation; Ryan Davis, state champion, Matt Williams, second, and Christina Riepel, third in impromptu speaking; Matt Williams, state champion, Aspen Gorry, second, Ryan Davis, third and Christina Riepel, fourth in extemporaneous speaking.
In policy debate, Matt Williams and Aspen Gorry, and Beth Waldrop and Ryan Davis shared the honors as co-state champions.
The PHS Speech and Debate Team will compete in the school year's final state tournament March 30, 31 and April 1 at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Schools of all sizes from around the state will compete for the top two places to qualify for the national competition in Oregon in June.