Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs High School forensics team doesn't have its own TV show, but it operates like one.
"Forensic medicine involves research and evaluation of different types of evidence, so does speech and debate," coach Shauna Lamansky said. "The way we describe it, on (the hit CBS TV show) CSI, they sit around the table and discuss evidence. It works the same for us."
Lamansky, who coaches with her husband Marty Lamansky, is optimistic about the year, which begins Nov. 4 with a tournament in Rangely.
"There is a lot of energy," she said. "There are so many new people. It's great that we have that much interest."
As of Thursday, 25 people were signed up for the forensics team, which is much bigger than in recent years.
The team welcomes back one returning senior and several returning juniors and sophomores, but a slew of freshmen likely will make their mark this season.
"I had a lot of fun," junior Alexa Mitchell said about her reason to return to the team this year. "I hadn't done public speaking before. I've become a better public speaker."
Mitchell said she has enjoyed writing her own material and delivering it before judges. The camaraderie that has developed among her forensics teammates, and even her opponents, is something she hasn't had on other teams.
"It is very social," Lamansky said.
The roster won't be set for several weeks, and the events the students will participate in won't be set for weeks or months either, but the events themselves have been finalized.
This year, the following categories are the big ones for Steamboat: interpretation events (drama, humor, poetry, duo), public speaking (original oratory and national/international extemporaneous speaking), debate and Student Congress.
"We go through the basic overview of the different event categories and let them choose," Lamansky said. "That's why we have this month of practices before competition starts, so we can see where they best fit and make suggestions and maybe move them."
At Thursday's practice, a small group of forensics team members practiced their nonverbal communication and drama skills in a game that simulated the board game Clue.
Two students had to guess what their teammates were acting out. Creativity and imagination were on display.
"There are so many different reasons (students join)," Lamansky said. "Everything from those who really like to perform, and this is another outlet to do that, to the kids who like to write their own material, all the way to the kid who is just trying to come out of their shell a little bit."
Steamboat hosts its tournament Jan. 13, and Lamansky said she and her husband are always looking for volunteer judges for the competition. This is Shauna Lamansky's 19th year coaching forensics, and it is Marty Lamansky's 27th year coaching.