DHS Forensics overall results best yet at nationals
LOUISVILLE — Five Kentucky schools and the University of Louisville played host to the 66th annual National Catholic Forensic League Grand Nationals (the Speak for the Roses) May 27 and 28. Nearly 3,000 students from 550 schools nationwide competed in six speech and four debate events over two days.
Danville High School served as one of the “host” schools and ran three events at the Manual HS/Noe Middls School campus on Saturday in conjunction with Murray High School. Team Kentucky had its best showing in several years with 23 breaks into awards rounds. Three students advanced all the way to the national finals: Amanda Nelson and Ellie Nelson from Boone County (duo interpretation, third place) and Laurel Riggs from Bethlehem (declamation, fifth place).
After four rounds of preliminary competition, six DHS students advanced into the Octofinals (top 48, approximately the top 20 percent) Awards round. Haley Hopkins (declamation), Abigail Anderson and Matthew Ballard (duo interpretation), and Billy Critchfield (extemporaneous speaking) all were awarded as octofinalists.
Natalie Grubbs (declamation) and Grace Sheene (dramatic performance) advanced out of octos into the quarterfinals (top 24) before being eliminated, placing them among the top speakers in the country and gaining them special recognition at the national awards ceremony Sunday night.
Additionally, DHS competitors Emma Merryman (declamation), Charlie Hall (oratory), Celeste Fieberg (oratory) and Katie Critchfield (extemporaneous speaking) all placed in the top third of competitors in their events, narrowly missing the awards rounds, making Danville’s overall results one of the team’s best yet.
Four DHS students (Anderson, Ballard, Hall and Sheene) will compete at the largest academic competition in the world, the National Speech and Debate Association Grand Nationals, in Birmingham June 17-24 to conclude the competitive speech season for DHS.