Forensics team talks good game at Niwot

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— The Steamboat Springs High School forensics team flexed some serious brain muscle against many of the state's largest schools Dec. 8 and 9, at a meet hosted by Niwot High School.

"Twenty schools and over 250 forensics competitors felt the sting of the small team," said coach Lisa Ruff. "The team continues to impress judges and coaches alike with their small size but competitive spirit."

Ruff singled out the senior Ashley Lopez as one of the meet's top competitors.

"Lopez steamrolled the competition with perfect scores in every round, taking first place in the grueling International Extemporaneous Speaking category," she said. "To compete in the category, Lopez has acquired a vast knowledge of the domestic affairs of foreign countries and the foreign affairs of all countries, including the United States. Lopez has distinguished herself as the state's top foreign extemporaneous speaker at two previous state competitions, earning the right to compete at the national level."

Steamboat sent seven speech team members to Niwot, including Lopez; juniors Blaise Holden and Josie Pacana; sophomores Rianne Marr, Paula Ninger and Parker Stegmaier; and freshman Alyssa Hay.

"Pacana and Holden held court in the mock-Congress competition and were each awarded superior speaker for their respective Congressional rounds," Ruff said. "Pacana then combined with Marr for a fourth place in Duo Interpretation of Literature, while Ninger placed fifth for Humorous Interpretation."

The team next travels to the Front Range for the Cherry Tree Chop Tournament at George Washington High School on Jan. 19, hosted by George Washington High School and Cherry Creek High School.

"It will be the toughest competition we've faced to date," said Ruff, who is in her first year as coach of the forensics team and is succeeding longtime, award-winning coaches Marty and Shauna Lamansky.

Ruff noted that the forensics team competes as hard as any high school sport.

"Find me another team in our district that can compete at the state and national level in the way these kids do," she said. "They are a veteran team. I'm really looking forward to testing their mettle."

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