EVANSTON — The Evanston High School Speak of the Devil speech and debate team has gotten off to a strong start this season, including earning first place in the 4A division at the Green River Invitational Tournament held Friday-Saturday, Dec. 3-4. Nine teams, including Evanston and perennial 4A powerhouses Jackson and Natrona, competed in Green River; out of the 24 EHS students competing, 19 reached either the semifinal or final rounds.
Speech and debate meets during this early stage of the season include both novice and varsity divisions of each event, with EHS students entered in both divisions. The Red Devil team has grown this year, with a number of students competing in their first meets since competition began in early November.
Varsity students placing in Green River included Aidan McGuire finishing second in original oratory and third in congressional debate; Hannah Silvester finishing fourth in dramatic interpretation; and Dakota Simon taking second, Randie Odden third, Jessica Powell fifth, and Madajah Ries seventh in POI (program oral interpretation). Aubreyanna Jones and Addisen Maestas made it to the semifinal round in POI as well.
Novice students placing in Green River included Leisl Botts and Hannah Silvester placing second and third, respectively, in dramatic interpretation; Jack Vetos and Carter Stokes finishing fourth and sixth in extemporaneous speaking; Adalee May, Bree Murphy and Janet Salisbury taking first, third and fourth, respectively, in original oratory; and the team of Nate Nadeau and George Stephen finishing second in public forum debate. The Devils dominated the novice POI division, with May finishing second, Camilla Powell third, Rosa Echevarria fourth, Vetos fifth and Emily Cooke sixth.
The Devils also had a strong showing in November, despite missing a couple of senior competitors that weekend, when the team competed against 308 students from 19 schools in Rock Springs Nov. 19-20. Botts made it to the semifinal round in varsity dramatic interpretation.
Novice students doing well in Rock Springs included Silvester and Vetos finishing first in dramatic interpretation and extemporaneous speaking, respectively; Botts placing second in dramatic interpretation; Simon finshing third in POI; Echevarria and May taking fifth in impromptu speaking and POI, respectively; and Nadeau and Hanah Kolata finishing sixth in congressional debate and POI, respectively. Nadeau and Murphy made it to the semifinal rounds in impromptu and original oratory in Rock Springs as well.
The opening meet of the season was a novice-only virtual meet held Nov. 5-6. Maestas finished first, Kolata second, Simon third and Cooke sixth in POI; Botts finished second and Silvester fifth in dramatic interpretation; and Vetos finished fifth in extemporaneous speaking.
Head coach Brian Hill said it has been several years since the team placed first overall at a major tournament. Hill expressed his pride and gratitude by thanking parents for “the opportunity to work with such talented and hard-working teens.”
“A win like this is rare for our team,” said Hill, before adding, “the best is yet to come.”
This season has the Devils returning to in-person competition for the first time since March 2020, as the entirety of last season’s competitions were held virtually. This season will include a mix of in-person and virtual meets, with the Speak of the Devil team next scheduled to compete in a huge virtual tournament hosted by Cheyenne East the weekend of Dec. 17-18.