Feb. 2—The Libby High School speech and debate teams' performance in Columbia Falls last weekend saw one competitor crowned state champion and two others earn medals for placing in the top four.
Logger sophomore Max Grosch is a Montana state champion after winning in Dramatic Interpretation of Literature at the Class A State Tournament. Senior Baylie Ames and junior Cash Vaughn finished fourth in their respective disciplines.
Their coaches are Kim Lee and Morgan Bell.
Earlier this season at the Browning and Frenchtown meets, Grosch took second place in Dramatic Interpretation of Literature.
Grosch, a Libby resident who previously attended the public schools, has been a student at Bridges Academy, an online school based out of California for his high school career, according to Lee.
"This is Max's first year doing competitive public speaking. He has a lot of experience doing community theater here in Libby which has undoubtedly enhanced his acting talent and excellent diction," Lee said. "Dramatic Interpretation involves taking a work or literature and presenting it. It is acting without using costumes or props. His piece is about a person who is struggling with mental illness and the belief that parasites and wasps are controlling his reality. It is searing and not for the faint of heart. We are very excited to have him on our team and look forward to next year and beyond."
Vaughn took fourth place in Informative Speaking and Ames claimed fourth in Original Oratory.
Vaughn is a three-time state placewinner. In 2023, she was seventh in Duo Interpretation and in Informative Speaking.
"Cash has competed for three years and her main event has been Informative Speaking but she also has competed in Duo Oral Interpretation of Literature. Her winning speech was on the history of chocolate," Lee said.
Ames has been on the team for three years as well, mainly in Original Oratory.
"Her excellent speech this year was about the harms of Ableism which is the discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities," Lee said.
Lee was pleased with the way the season finished.
"This has been a good year for Logger Speech and Debate with students placing at every meet we attended," Lee said. "There are 11 members of our team. In addition to those listed above, Jasper Bowers completed in Original Oratory and Dramatic Interpretation, Daphne Johnson and Addison Skranak competed in Lincoln Douglas Debate, Bella Meyer and Layla Dagel competed in Informative Speaking, Julianna Shumate and Madison Brush competed in Original Oratory and Teague Thompson competed in Informative Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking."
Lee explained that Speech and Debate, also sometimes called Forensics, is a lesser known school extra curricular. It is a competitive activity governed by the Montana High School Association along with school sports. The season runs from October until the end of January and this year, Libby competed in nine meets.
"One of the highlights of this season was hosting our own meet for the first time in many years and the tremendous support we received from our team families and from the community. We also had a team that pulled together to support each other and was always eager to learn and improve," Lee said.