This past weekend Hays Speech and Debate brought home 2nd Place Sweepstakes from St. Mary’s Hall TFA tournament in San Antonio. In a competition pool of more than 400 students originating from 29 of the best programs in the state, Hays advanced 18 students to elimination rounds, brought home 14 finalist awards, rounded out four more state qualifications and earned two bids to the Tournament of Champions in May.
Hays Speech and Debate has an active competition squad of nearly 60 students this year; only the top 22 were permitted to attend the St. Mary’s Hall TFA tournament. The following students earned points toward their TFA State qualifications based on their final rankings. Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking: Matthew Boddy – 1st, Evan Ricke – 4th, Jakob Zertuche – 6th. Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking: Cameron Roberts (JHS) – 2nd. Lincoln Douglas Debate: Holden Bukowsky – 1st, Austin Wilson – Top Speaker and 2nd, Bella Estrada – Quarterfinalist. Original Oratory: Sheridan Smith – 6th, Clare Holland – Semifinalist, Sophia Sandoval (JHS) – Semifinalist. Informative Speaking: Zoe Puertas – 1st, Amelia Worrell – 2nd, Duet Acting: Amelia Worrell and Claire Holland – 4th, Student Congress: Victor Falcon – Finalist, Evan Ricke – Finalist, Drew Cook – 7th, Matthew Boddy – 5th. Humorous Interpretation: Catherine Porfirio – Semifinalist. The team’s performance in September and October suggests that Hays could advance over a dozen students to TFA State this year.
St. Mary’s Hall was just the third tournament Hays has attended this year, yet the team has already pinned down five state qualifications. Senior Holden Bukowsky finished first in LD Debate, securing his place at the Texas Forensic Association’s state tournament to be held in El Paso in March. Senior Matthew Boddy added a qualification in Student Congress to the one he earned last month in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. Senior Zoe Puertas will represent Hays at TFA State in Informative Speaking and Junior Evan Ricke, will join his fellow extemporaneous speaking team members for the second year in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking.
In addition, Johnson High School Sophomore Cameron Roberts fulfilled her state qualification in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking and will attend the Texas Forensic Association’s State Tournament along with her Hays contemporaries.
Besides rounding out their qualifications to the TFA State Tournament, Matthew Boddy and Zoe Puertas also earned bids to compete at the Tournament of Champions in their respective events. The Tournament of Champions is an exclusive tournament held in May that showcases the talents of the top 75 students in each event from across the nation. Last year nine Hays Speech and Debate students earned TOC qualification; the team is striving to break that record this year.