2019 Team & Results
2018-2019 Danville Forensics Team

DANVILLE:  Danville High School's forensics (competitive speech and debate) team is off to a strong start for the first two months of the competition season. DHS is the reigning state championship team (three straight years) and looks like a possible contender for a four-peat with outstanding performances in the fall meets.

Danville's seniors anchored the team at its three November tournaments as the Speaking Admirals began their seasons. Senior Captain Katie Critchfield as well as her senior teammates Natalie Grubbs, Charlie Hall, Haley Hopkins, Evey Kinkade, Emma Merryman, Claire Strysick, and Joseth Warner brought home the bulk of the Danville Awards. DHS took only two thirds of its team to each of the three November events due to conflicts with the state drama festival and a slower start for the team's rookies. Still, the team took second at the LaRue County Ruth Blair November 3 (behind Rowan County), third at Ryle November 10 behind Morristown West (TN) and Cooper, and third at Beechwood November 10 behind Morristown West and Dunbar (one point). 

DHS Award winners at the November meets were Taylor Ballard (1st Storytelling Ryle, 3rd Beechwood), Critchfield (2nd Extemporaneous LaRue, 2nd Beechwood; 4th Informative Beechwood), Caroline Graves (4th Humorous Ryle), Grubbs (6th Program Oral Interp LaRue), Jenna Haines (5th Humorous Beechwood), Hall (1st Humorous LaRue, 1st Storytelling LaRue), Hopkins and Warner (3rd Duo Interpretation LaRue, 2nd Beechwood), Hopkins (1st Humorous Ryle, 2nd Beechwood), Kinkade (3rd Storytelling LaRue, 2nd Beechwood; 3rd Broadcasting Ryle), Merryman (1st Broadcasting LaRue 2nd Ryle; 1st Impromptu LaRue, 2nd Ryle, 1st Beechwood, 1st Oratory LaRue, 1st Ryle, 4th Beechwood), Britton Minks (6th Humorous Ryle), Summer Quinn (5th Broadcasting LaRue and 4th Beechwood), Samantha Sallee (5th Dramatic LaRue), Strysick (1st Informative Ryle, 5th Beechwood), Warner (2nd Dramatic LaRue, 2nd Ryle, 1st Beechwood; 1st Prose LaRue, 1st Ryle, 2nd Beechwood). Additionally, at the Danville Tournament of Firsts DHS hosted November 17, Critchfield took third overall in Congressional Debate.

December 8, DHS took first of twenty-eight schools from six states at the Western Kentucky University Hilltopper Invitational for the second straight year. Rowan County, Bowling Green, Ravenwood (TN), and Cooper rounded out the top five teams. Seven entries from DHS advanced into the final round after three large preliminary rounds, and at the end of the contest DHS had three tournament champions: the team of Haley Hopkins and Joseth Warner in Duo Interpretation, Emma Merryman in Impromptu Speaking, and Charlie Hall in Storytelling. Natalie Grubbs advanced to two finals, placing third in Dramatic Interpretation and third in Informative Speaking . Additionally, junior Taylor Ballard placed third in Storytelling while freshman Abigail Anderson took fifth in Declamation.  

At the inaugural Dixie Heights High Infiniti and Beyond Tournament December 15, Danville swept the tournament, winning by a large margin. Twenty-six DHS entries advanced into the awards rounds, and DHS finished with the tournament champions in seven of the fourteen events. Winning honors at Dixie: Broadcasting: Summer Quinn, 4th; Declamation: Lauren Lucas, 2nd; Dramatic Interpretation: Joseth Warner 1st, Lauren Lucas 5th, Natalie Grubbs 6th; Duo Interpretation: Haley Hopkins and Joseth Warner 1st; Virginia Harp and Samantha Sallee, 3rd; Extemporaneous Speaking; Katie Critchfield 1st, Abigail Anderson 4th; Humorous Interpretation: Charlie Hall 1st, Caroline Graves 2nd, Haley Hopkins 3rd, Virginia Harp 4th; Impromptu Speaking: Emma Merryman 3rd, Alexis Weathers 5th; Improvisational Duo: Charlie Hall and Lina Morales 2nd; Informative Speaking: Natalie Grubbs 1st, Claire Strysick 2nd, Samantha Sallee 4th, Katie Critchfield 6th; Oratory: Emma Merryman 1st, Eleanor Tubb 2nd; Poetry: Summer Quinn 3rd; Prose: Joseth Warner 2nd; Storytelling: Charlie Hall 1st, Taylor Ballard 5th. 


Eight Danville High School students won awards at Emory University's 64th Annual Barkley Forum for High Schools January 27 after three days of competition. After five preliminary rounds of contests in seven speech events, eliminations were made to the quarterfinals (top 24) in each event with subsequent cuts to semifinals (top 12) and finals (top 6). 

Two DHS students advanced to the final rounds in their events. Claire Strysick placed third overall in Informative Speaking; Joseth Warner placed fourth overall in Dramatic Interpretation. Also winning awards were semifinalists Taylor Ballard (Humorous Interpretation), Charlie Hall (Humorous Interpretation), and Emma Merryman (Oratory) plus quarterfinalists Haley Hopkins (Humorous Interpretation) and the Duo Interpretation team of Libby Hale and Barrett Minks. The students were given trophy keys as unique awards in this contest -- keys cast from an antique brass key hidden in Georgia before Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864 and used as the model for the trophies each year. Barkley Forum is a national contest with 1500 students participating from around the country and sponsored by the university's debate society.

The  DHS forensics team also participated in the Bardstown Invitational on January 26. Freshman Lauren Lucas was third in Declamation; sophomore Alexis Weathers placed third in Oratory. The team placed seventh overall in the contest. 


Pictured below are the Barkley Forum participants and winners. The team, ready for Round 1, the Key winners, the Semifinalists, and the Finalists.


Danville High School placed first overall at the Kentucky High School Speech League's Senior Division Regional Speech Tournament held Saturday, February 9, in Lexington at SCAPA-Bluegrass Middle School. The Bluegrass Region consists of Fayette County and the 35 counties immediately south of it. Lexington's Dunbar High School was second overall; Lexington Henry Clay placed third. 

Students in the contest competed in fourteen speech events. In each event, a Regional Champion and a Regional Runner-Up was named. DHS won Regional Championships in four of the events and Runner-Up titles in six. DHS has won the state speech tournament the last three years and is now a contender to do so again after a strong showing at one of the state's toughest regions (Dunbar and Henry Clay were 2nd and 3rd at State last year behind Danville). 

Pictured are the 24 participating students from DHS at the Regional Speech tournament as well as the Regional award winners. In the Awards picture, students/awards are (top row) Charlie Hall / Regional Champion Storytelling, Regional Runner-Up Humorous Interpretation; Lauren Lucas / Regional Runner-Up Declamation; Haley Hopkins / Regional Runner-Up Duo Interpretation; Joseth Warner / Regional Champion Prose, Regional Runner-Up Dramatic Interpretation, Regional Runner-Up Duo Interpretation; (bottom row) Natalie Grubbs / Regional Champion Dramatic Interpretation; Evey Kinkade / Regional Runner-Up Broadcasting; Samantha Sallee and Virginia Harp / Regional Champions Duo Interpretation; Emma Merryman / Regional Runner-Up Oratory. 



LEXINGTON:  Danville High School’s forensics team placed second just behind Rowan County Senior High School at the Kentucky Educational Speech and Drama Association (KESDA) Senior Forum held February 21-23 in Lexington. Contests were held in fifteen speech events plus two debate events over three days with 800 entries overall in the tournament. Lexington Dunbar, Boone County, Cooper, and Murray High School rounded out the top six teams in the field. Danville placed first in Speech events with champions in seven of the events but scored just behind Rowan in overall sweepstakes points, 600-592, as Rowan outscored Danville in the two Debate events. Danville also earned the Margaret Greynolds Team Efficiency Traveling Trophy, custody a large silver cup awarded each year to the team with the highest average of points per student (designed to recognize the year’s outstanding team effort). KESDA celebrated its thirtieth year in 2019 with Danville participating in the last twenty-four (plus was registered for 2015, called off for snow). This was the ninth second-place finish for the Admirals, who have also won the contest five times.

Danville senior Charlie Hall was named the Pentathalon winner, the highest honor given at the contest, for his overall scores in five events – the maximum allowed with at least one event in each basic Speech area (Original Speech, Interpretation, and Limited Preparation). Danville senior Emma Merryman was second overall in Pentath with Danville’s Haley Hopkins (fourth), Samantha Sallee (eighth), and Claire Strysick (tenth) also recognized in Pentath.

Senior Joseth Warner led the Admirals with three first place finished in events (Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry, and Prose) with Hall winning two events (Broadcasting and Storytelling), Merryman winning Oratory, and senior Natalie Grubbs winning Informative Speaking. The Speaking Admirals placed twenty-four entries into finals in regular events with forty-six breaks out of the preliminary rounds (either in the top six – finals, the top twelve – semifinals, or the top twenty-four – quarterfinals). Full results are listed below. The Ads next compete at the tryouts for NCFL Nationals (held this year in Milwaukee) on March 9 before defending their state title at the Kentucky High School Speech League State Speech Tournament the following weekend.

Speech results for Danville HS at KESDA:  Broadcasting: Charlie Hall, first; Emma Merryman, Semis; Evey Kinkade and Summer Quinn and Claire Strysick – Quarters. Declamation: Lauren Lucas, fifth. Dramatic Interpretation: Joseth Warner, first; Samantha Sallee, second; Natalie Grubbs, fourth; Lina Morales, Semis. Duo Interpretation: Virginia Harp and Samantha Sallee, fourth; Abigail Anderson and Lauren Lucas, Semis; Haley Hopkins and Joseth Warner, Semis. Extemporaneous Speaking: Katie Critchfield, Semis. Group Interpretation: Claire Strysick, Emma Merryman, Summer Quinn, Evey Kinkade, and Joseth Warner, third; Caroline Graves, Britton Minks, Conner Tucker, Haley Hopkins, and Samantha Sallee, fifth. Humorous Interpretation: Haley Hopkins, third; Charlie Hall, fourth; Britton Minks, Semis. Impromptu Speaking: Emma Merryman, second; Ethan Reyna and Claire Strysick, Quarters. Improvisational Duo: Charlie Hall and Haley Hopkins, second; Caroline Graves and Ashley Rankin, Semis; Jenna Haines and Madelyn Mullins, Semis. Informative Speaking: Natalie Grubbs, first; Samantha Sallee, second; Haley Hopkins, sixth; Katie Critchfield and Evey Kinkade and Claire Strysick, Semis. Oratory: Emma Merryman, first; Claire Strysick, fourth; Virginia Harp, fifth; Charlie Hall, Semis. Poetry: Joseth Warner, first; Abigail Anderson and Taylor Ballard and Megan Goosey and Libby Hale, Quarters. Program Oral Interp: Emma Merryman, fourth; Taylor Ballard, sixth. Prose: Joseth Warner, first; Naomi Israel, Quarters. Storytelling: Charlie Hall, first; Taylor Ballard, third.

Danville also earned several other honors at the statewide meet. Taylor Ballard earned the outstanding novice award for Congress; Lauren Lucas earned it for Dramatic Interpretation. In Novice Speaker Finals, Abigail Anderson won first with Gabriel Harper sixth; senior Barrett Minks served as the Admirals’ judge for the Novice Interpretation Finals. Additionally, in a new improvisational interscholastic event, the Ad Game, six Admirals were among the game’s first participants and were divided among the six teams, earning medals with students from four other schools for working together to create and present an advertising campaign for an imaginary product in just five minutes; Abigail Anderson, Glynn Brown, Megan Goosey, Allison Lowry, Lauren Lucas, and Lina Morales all pioneered the Ad Games with Lowry’s team placing on top.

(pictured are the 2019 Admiral Forensics Team with their trophies and medals after the KESDA Forum).


Danville High School won the Kentucky High School Speech League's State Speech tournament for the fourth straight year Saturday at the University of Kentucky. Twenty-six DHS students competed in fourteen speech events over two days and six rounds of competition. DHS also won three of the events, with Charlie Hall named State Champion in two events (Humorous Interpretation and Storytelling) plus Emma Merryman State Champion in Oratory. Nine more DHS entries advanced to the final rounds (top six) in their events: Merryman in Impromptu (second), Joseth Warner in Dramatic Interpretation (second) and Prose (fourth), Claire Strysick in Informative Speaking (third) and Oratory (third), Lauren Lucas in Declamation (third), Taylor Ballard in Storytelling (third), Natalie Grubbs in Informative Speaking (fourth), and Barrett Minks in Prose (fifth).

DHS trailed in the first five rounds of the contest. After the first three rounds (preliminaries), Lexington Dunbar led by nine points over second-place Danville with Rowan County nine points back from Danville. After the Quarterfinal Rounds (top 24 in each event) were completed, Rowan County had nineteen semifinalists followed by eighteen each for Dunbar and Danville. The Admirals had strong showings in Semifinals, advancing twelve entries into the finals (compared to Dunbar's eight and Rowan's ten), and Danville's strong performance in Finals sealed the victory for the Admirals, who placed first overall by twenty-six points over second-place Dunbar with Rowan four points back from Dunbar. Also placing in the top ten were (in order) Cooper, Bethlehem, Henry Clay, Murray, Boone County, Bowling Green, and Knott County Central. 

Also winning honors for Danville were Semifinalists (top 12) Summer Quinn (Broadcasting), Samatha Sallee (Dramatic Interpretation and Informative Speaking), the Duo Interpretation team of Libby Hale and Barrett Minks, Libby Hale (Poetry), and Natalie Grubbs (Program Oral Interpretation). Quarterfinalists (top 24) were Megan Goosey (Declamation), Abigail Anderson (Extemporaneous Speaking), Katie Critchfield (Extemporaneous Speaking), the Improvisational Duo team of Jenna Haines and Madelyn Mullins, Virginia Harp (Oratory), Emma Merryman (Program Oral Interpretation), and Evey Kinkade (Storytelling). Additionally, at the KHSSL State Debate tournament the two days prior, DHS students Katie Critchfield and Libby Hale advanced past three preliminary sessions into the final (top 24) session of Congressional Debate.

5 Kids Headed to Milwaukee -- DHS WINS KCFL!

Congratulations to the DHS Forensics team! At the Kentucky CFL District Tournament held in Hodgenville on Saturday (3/9), the team placed first overall for the state, the team's 22nd win in 25 years at this contest. Five DHS entries advanced to the Grand Nationals, to be held in Milwaukee Memorial Day weekend. Advancing from Danville are (left to right in the photo) Lauren Lucas (Declamation), Joseth Warner (Dramatic Performance, Katie Critchfield (Extemporaneous Speaking), Natalie Grubbs (Dramatic Performance), and Claire Strysick (Oratory)!



BOWLING GREEN:   Six Danville High School students qualified to compete in the National Speech and Debate Association's Grand Nationals held in Dallas in June by advancing from the Kentucky District tournament at WKU over the weekend. Danville won the Speech portion of the contest by a large margin over second place Rowan County with Lexington Henry Clay winning Debate and Louisville Trinity taking Congress team honors. 

After as many as six elimination and preliminary rounds, six DHS seniors advanced to compete in Dallas, taking six of the sixteen Speech spots for Dallas from Kentucky. Representing Team Kentucky in Dallas will be Joseth Warner (Dramatic Interpretation), Charlie Hall (Humorous Interpretation), Natalie Grubbs (Informative Speaking), Emma Merryman and Claire Strysick (Oratory), and Katie Critchfield (United States Extemporaneous Speaking). Additionally, Critchfield was awarded the Susan Moore Scholarship, an award given in honor of the longtime Scott County High School coach.