Speech Team Wins 34th Straight

WHEELING – The Wheeling Park High School Speech Team is continuing its streak by winning its 34th consecutive West Virginia State Speech and Debate Tournament this weekend.

Coach Bill Cornforth said the 20 students competed Friday and Saturday against 11 other schools during the tournament held at West Virginia University. He noted another local school, The Linsly School, captured fifth place in the competition.

The state speech team includes: Emily Anderson, Beverly Banks, Riley Bresnahan, Colleen Dorsey, Austin Gage, Maddie Hall, Alyson Hehr, Hannah Hlad, Lydia Holmstrand, Blake Humphrey, Annemarie Krall, Lizzie Kaniecki, Karen Laska, Stefanie Lemasters, Devyn Nickerson, London Orzolek, Gabby Payne, Aimee Schultz, Danielle Walter and Lauren West.

”They worked very hard and they knew they wanted it,” he said.

Throughout the year, the team competed in about eight other debates in West Virginia and Pennsylvania as part of its preparation.

They were first in those tournaments with the exception of one, placing second.

”It’s a pretty phenomenal streak of 34 years. It’s been upheld because of the county administrators support of the program. … It’s very, very much an Ohio County event. The kids feel the backing from everybody and that leads to team pride and school pride,” Cornforth said.

Other coaches include Josh Fromhart, Kayla Nelson and Lori Mathieu.