By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 4 — After capturing its fifth-consecutive Region B title three weeks earlier, the Luray High School forensics team earned a runner-up sweepstakes finish among nine schools competing at the Virginia High School League’s Super Regional hosted by the Bulldogs last Saturday. In addition, Luray had nine students qualify for the VHSL State Forensics Tournament on Saturday, March 25 at Dominion High School in Sterling, Va.
“Since the ‘reboot’ of the Luray High School Forensics program in 2018, the Bulldogs have continued to climb the ladder through the ranks of the tournaments,” LHS forensics coach Gwen Burley said. “Luray is continuously producing highly talented students who represent the school and the community through multiple levels of competition.”
Junior Sophia Williams was selected as the 2A/2B Super Region “Performer of the Year.” Williams was the only Bulldog to win her category, placing first at the Super Region in Storytelling. LHS sophomore Ronan Painter came in second to Williams in that category and also qualified for the state tournament.
Seniors Mariah Moore and Jack Martin came in second and third, respectively, in the category of Impromptu at the Super Region, and both qualified for state. The Impromptu category allows competitors only seven minutes to prepare and delivery a speech on a topic they are handed at the start of each round. Moore earned “Performer of the Year” at the Region 2B tournament held at Madison on Feb. 11.
Sophomore Laurel Webb earned second place in Dramatic Interpretation, while teammate Syd Drain placed second in Prose Interpretation. Both qualified for state by finishing among the top three. Victoria Shoop was recognized at the Super Region for finishing fourth in Prose, but did not qualify for state. Lillian Jenkins finished fifth in Original Oratory.
The Duo Interpretation team of sophomores Evie King and Virginia Grieb earned second place, while senior Marlowe Ryan won third place in Poetry Interpretation. All three are headed to the state tournament.
The overall sweepstakes trophy was claimed by the school that drove the farthest, Windsor High School. The Super Region champs also had their coach, Virginia Beatty, named “Coach of the Year.”
Luray finished just five points behind Windsor, who traveled four hours to compete from Isle of Wight County. The Bulldogs forensics and speech program continues to excel.
“It is extremely rewarding to know that hard work, time, and practice truly pays dividends towards the success of the overall program,” Coach Burley said. “We have been able to expand to include competitive debate teams, and this year [LHS] will be sending a delegation of students to the Virginia Model General Assembly program to the state capital in April.”
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