Forensics team starts season strong

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The Steamboat Springs High School Forensics Team has its second tournament of the season today at Moffat County High School in Craig.

The team kicked off its season Nov. 5 at the Rangely Festival Meet, where Steamboat team members won three first-place awards, three second-place awards and several ribbons for excellence out of nine competitions.

"The team started off well," co-coach Shauna Lamansky said, noting the young age of a team that contains no seniors, five sophomores and six new members.

Sophomore Ashley Lopez, who competed in last year's national competition in Phila--delphia, took first place in Value Debate as the only undefeated debater. Lopez also placed second in the Impromptu Speaking category.

Sophomore Jordan Davidson, the other team member to compete at the varsity level, placed second in Humorous Interpretation and earned an excellent ribbon in Creative Storytelling.

In that competition, students are given a character, situation and setting, then have 15 minutes to create a story, which they narrate to judges.

Lamansky, who has coached forensics at the high school for 16 years, said she has seen scenarios such as a carry-on suitcase that has claustrophobia and is stuck in an overhead bin on an airplane.

"The characters can be inanimate," she said. "The events are different at every tournament."

Lamansky co-coaches with her husband, Marty Lamansky, who teaches a speech class and has coached the forensics team for 26 years. Last month, he received a Distinguished Service Plaque from the National Forensic League -- or NFL -- for his years of involvement in forensics on local, state and national levels.

The Lamanskys met 16 years ago when Shauna was moving out of Littleton and looking to continue coaching. Her high school forensics coach recommended she contact Marty in Steamboat.

"I called him and asked for a job," Shauna Lamansky said, laughing at the memory. "They didn't have an assistant at the time, so it worked out really well."

They have been married for 13 years. That's a lot of forensics students.

Youth is the theme of this year's batch. In junior varsity competition last week, freshman Josie Pacana won the Creative Storytelling event, sophomore Laura Holthausen placed second in Value Debate and freshman Rianne Marr won Original Oratory. Freshman Seth Davidson earned two excellent ribbons, one each in Humor and Storytelling.

The forensics season runs from October to April, Shauna Lamansky said, including playoffs and regional competitions that culminate in the national event. The team will compete at Steamboat Springs High School on Jan. 7.

This year, nationals are in Dallas.

"Hopefully we get to go," Shauna Lamansky said.

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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