At a glance
Awards won by the Steamboat Springs High School forensics team:
- Niwot Invitational
Paula Ninger - 2nd, Humorous Interpretation
- Delta Panther Invitational
Paula Ninger - 3rd, Humorous Interpretation
Blaise Holden and Paula Ninger - 3rd, Duo Interpretation
- Fruita Monument Wildcat Invitational
Paula Ninger - 1st, Humorous Interpretation
Parker Stegmair - 3rd, Humorous Interpretation
Eva Grant - 6th, Humorous Interpretation
Blaise Holden and Paula Ninger - 4th, Duo Interpretation
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs High School forensics team has earned nine medals in the first three meets of the season, despite fielding a young squad with only two returning members.
Coach Lisa Ruff said she urged her older members to recruit new speakers, bumping the team up to 17 participants, the most in several years.
"We're a young team, however that doesn't mean we're lacking in skill," Ruff said.
Senior Blaise Holden and junior Paula Ninger, the two returning speakers, have paired to create an interpretation of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" that has placed at two of the three tournaments the team has attended.
Ninger, who attended the National Forensics League's national tournament in June as an alternate, also has seen early season success with a humorous interpretation called "Mary Choppins."
"It's a parody of 'Mary Poppins' about a couple of kids who want to find a nanny, and they find a crazy nanny," Ninger said.
The one-person show is "violent, sexy and crazy," Ninger said, and it has won her an award at each of the first three tournaments of the season. At the Niwot Invitational, she won second place, at Delta Panther Invitational she placed third, and at the Fruita Monument Wildcat Invitational she won first prize.
Ninger's goal this year is to make it past the preliminary round at the national level.
"I can't imagine she's not going to make it to nationals," Ruff said, noting that the forensics team is the only team at the school to compete at the national level.
The season for the forensics team is also one of the longest - from Oct. 14 to the second week in June - and will include as many as 11 tournaments.
In addition to interpretations - recitations of literature or plays, often with acting - the team also competes in Public Forum debates and Student Congress.
Public Forum debate, one of the three types of high school debate, uses four students to argue both sides of an issue in an eloquent manner.
"As a coach, one of my areas for improvement this year is on the debate side," Ruff said.
Ruff said the public forum debates, as opposed to Cross Examination debate or Lincoln-Douglas debate, places emphasis on smooth public speaking.
"The great thing about public forum (debate) is it's everyman's debate," she said. "Sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it."
Ruff took over the coaching position from Marty and Shauna Lamansky at the beginning of last year. She still is seeking an assistant coach.
Another of her goals this year is to perform well at this weekend's tournament at Moffat County High School.
"We're hoping to sweep humorous (interpretation), particularly," she said.
Sophomore Eva Grant, who is preparing a humorous interpretation of "Shakespeare, Horny Toads and Banana Peels," about an aspiring actress' audition, is also confident of Steamboat's upcoming success and has her own ideas about what the awards ceremony should sound like.
"I want them to be saying 'Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Springs,'" she said.