Tristan Wagner takes top spot at National Speech and Debate Tournament

(Jackson, Wyo.) - 5 qualifying members of the Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team found incredible success this past week at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament, held June 13-17 in Salt Lake City. Seniors Bella Wood, Tristan Wagner, Forest Tran and sophomores Daniel Pepper and Aaron Trauner represented the Wind River NSDA District at the tournament. This is the nineteenth consecutive year the team has qualified students for the national meet.The national tournament hosted 20 different speech and debate events with over 4200 competitors. Recently graduated senior, Tristan Wagner, competing in Extemporaneous Debate, the largest event at the tournament with 772 entries, earned an impressive fifth place finish. In this event, students are assigned an affirmative or negative side to debate and given a topic only 30 minutes before each round of competition. Wagner competed in 15 rounds of debate to reach this milestone finish. This marks the highest placing a Jackson Hole High School Speech and Debate Team member has ever achieved at the national level. Londe Gagnon, who coaches the team with Peggy Gagnon, said, “The sheer magnitude of what Tristan was able to accomplish can hardly be described. He is a student who has shown incredible grace, humility and perseverance over the past four years. I am so excited for everything that he has achieved and everything he is about to achieve in his next chapters. Watching him accept his trophy on stage at the National Tournament was the absolute best way to conclude his outstanding journey with the JHHS Speech and Debate Team.” Public Forum Debate also proved to be a Jackson strength as the team of Trauner and Pepper advanced to the top 68 competitors out of a field of 285 initial entries They argued the for and against the resolution: On balance, a one-day national primary would be more beneficial for the United States than our current presidential primary process. They were ultimately knocked out of the competition with 2-1 decision in round 9 of the tournament. Wood found success in the events of Humorous Interpretation, Prose and Storytelling while Tran competed in Public Forum Debate, Extemporaneous Debate, and Impromptu. Gagnon stated, “All five competitors represented JHHS well and worked together as a group to advance. Their strength of character, teamwork and solidarity brought out the best in each of them. We, as coaches, could not be more proud.” *Feature Photo: Tristan Wagner. h/t Londe Gagnon / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news