West speech and debate team first in nation after two tournaments

West High’s Dalton Miksa, left, and Jacob Seals, tied for first place overall in duo interpretation and placed second in the final round. during a forensics competion held at Yale University this weekend.

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

But, after two solid performances at back to back events this weekend and last, the Morristown-Hamblen High School West speech and debate team finds itself off to a fantastic start.

“They are currently first in the nation,” said Suzanne Wolfe Terry, forensics teacher and coach for the West High School speech and debate team.

A team of seven students headed to Yale University this weekend in New Haven Connecticut.

Several students from the group placed in the top 25 of the event in different categories, including one duo that tied for the top spot.

Terry said she is surprised to see how her team is finishing, since it is made up of mostly underclassmen.

“My expectations were it’s going to be a struggle,” she said. “It’s mostly freshman and sophomores. But, we have amazing captains.”

A team of 38 students headed to the University of Kentucky the weekend before last and West High School placed first overall, she said.

The team that headed to Connecticut also had stellar results.

She said 26 states were represented at the Yale University tournament with more than 250 schools participating.

The results were:

• Jacob Seals, a senior, and Dalton Miksa, a senior, tied for first place overall in duo interpretation and placed second in the final round.

Miksa was a quarterfinalist for humorous interpretation.

• Karcyn Kowalski, a senior, was a semifinalist for oral interpretation.

Kowalski also placed third overall for dramatic interpretation.

• Cooper Campbell, a junior, was a quarterfinalist for oral interpretation.

• Emory Starcher, a junior, and Cayden Keltgen, a sophomore, placed seventh in the finals and fourth overall for duo interpretation.

The team included a freshman, Kimber Strumpsky, who went to learn what a forensics tournament was like

Terry said the trip was a complete success.

“This was the best trip to Yale we ever had,” she said.