It’s hard to become a state champion on the high school level. Regardless of the competition, it’s next to impossible to win a dozen consecutive state titles.
Such a feat, however, was recently accomplished by Coach Mark Ingerson and his Salem Forensics team after they won another Virginia High School League state tournament in Midlothian, Virginia.
“Honestly, the greatest experience I had at the state competition was watching those I have helped carry on the tradition of excellence by getting the 12th straight victory,” Junior Captain Sam Kennedy said. “Being one of the oldest on the team, I’ve competed with three different Salem high school forensics teams, and this one really felt like a family that truly cared about each other.”
Sam added: “This really showed when the seniors of the team made their speeches the night before competition in the hotel, and the entire team began crying because the impact each of them have made on this team.”
In a field of 20 other schools, Salem High had the most competitors in the finals and the highest team score across all groups.
Senior Captain Emma Studtmann (Prose Interpretation)
Senior Kyle Fauber (Storytelling)
Junior AnnElese Galleo (Serious Dramatic)
Junior Captain Alayna Johnson (Humorous Interpretation)
Sophomore Adalynn Eller (Poetry Interpretation)
Senior Sydney Pettit (Prose Interpretation)
Junior Rachel Massey (Storytelling)
Sophomore Charlie Wallace: (Impromptu speaking)
Sophomore Abbie Coleman (Original Oratory)
Sophomores Phoebe Stevens and Ashby Garst (Humorous Duo)
“States was an amazing day! I made the personal accomplishment of winning first place in Humorous Interpretation after three years of hard work and determination. I cannot put into words the excitement I felt,” Junior Captain Alayna Johnson said. “On another note, we had a tremendous day as a team. I am so proud of the team and their growth over the season. Forensics is subjective and had there been different judges on a different day, the outcome could have been drastically different. Though it is hard, our team needs to keep in mind that there is so much more to forensics than winning.”