The Saratoga Sun -

Dickinson headed to nationals

CCSD#2 speech team does well at their final state meet


Kate Sherrod

Jacob Dickinson beams as he shows the plaque he earned qualifying for nationals.

It turns out that Encampment senior Jacob Dickinson isn't quite ready to relegate his Debate and Speech Team performances to the realm of other high school yearbook memories. That's because Dickinson is one of the Wind River District's qualifiers for the national tournament, where he will go on to compete at the high school level one last time in June.

According to head coach Jake Mickelsen, Dickinson started off the season with the goal of making it to nationals, adding that he sure made good on his original goal. The national tournament will take place from June 12-17 in Salt Lake City, and in the meantime there will be independent practice as well as some semi-regular meetings with Mickelsen.

Dickinson qualified in the Dramatic Interpretation event, with a piece cut from Laura Hildebrand's novel "Unbroken", which was later adapted into an award-winning film. In Dickinson's performance, he portrays Olympic runner and WWII prisoner of war Louis Zamparini both as a young man enduring captivity and humiliation, and as an old man recalling his experiences.

"More than one judge has been left in tears by this entry over the course of the season," Carbon County School District No. 2 assistant speech and debate coach Kate Sherrod observed. "I don't think anyone is very surprised to see Jacob qualifying with it. He chose his material perfectly, and created a beautifully moving performance. It's been a pleasure to watch it evolve over the season."

Mickelsen said that part of what they worked on for the piece was to make it consistently moving. Eventually, Mickelsen said he could hear him through the walls during the more dramatic portions of the piece, so there was never any question on whether Dickinson was performing nearby. They'll work on timing to make sure they don't go over the time limit for the national competition, which has been the only issue with the piece over the season.

Robin Gloss, competing in the event of foreign/international Extemporaneous Speaking, just missed qualifying in the grueling double-elimination tournament held last weekend at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Sherrod said. Gloss was named as one of three alternates for the tournament.

As Sherrod pointed out, the district qualifying tournament was actually Gloss' first time competing in this event, as Wyoming tournaments typically lump foreign/international topics together with United States-specific ones.

"Robin has been developing presentations on the U.S. Presidential election and the Supreme Court all season, and suddenly she was fielding questions about things like internal political matters in Hungary and the drought in Ethiopia. She wanted the greater challenge, and she got it. And she met it brilliantly," Sherrod added.

Gloss and public forum debate partner Larissa Ford also made it into the equivalent of quarter-finals in that event.

Ford is one of many underclassmen this year that have really evolved to show that now, they know what they're doing. Ford has developed into a serious force to be reckoned with, at one point nearly shutting out a debater from Jackson Hole who is now going to nationals, Mickelsen said.

Other members of the district team went far as well. The team's top three competitors in Humorous Interpretation, Saratoga's Milo Hunter and Kieran Neville and Encampment's Gale Jackson, made it far into late rounds before being knocked out. Hanna's Mariah Scharosch (drama), Encampment's Nina Jackson (drama), and Saratoga duet interpreters Amber Williams and Kailey Hytrek stuck in for a good several rounds as well.

Mickelsen added a thanks to the community for all their support in helping this team see so much success this year, with the added help giving him more time to work directly with the students.

The speakers cannot forget their pieces yet, as they are slated to perform some of them at a to-be-determined speech night. The team hopes the night will happen sometime during April. Mickelsen is arranging for the students to perform their pieces for residents at the Saratoga Care Center as well, a service in which everyone has been interested.


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