Dane Hubert, Fredrik Hale Thorsteinson IV, Casey Knapp, Alexis Juergens and Finley Hightower, the Fedora Squad, pose for a photo during the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Dane Hubert, Fredrik Hale Thorsteinson IV, Casey Knapp, Alexis Juergens and Finley Hightower, the Fedora Squad, pose for a photo during the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Tournament brims with oratorical talent

On a busy Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School, there was room for debate.

This article has been updated to include additional information.

With wide brims, dark blazers and shades to match, you might think the quintet smiling in the Thunder Mountain High School commons were prepping for some sort of major heist or a divine blues-related mission.

But members of the Fedora Squad — a stickler group member noted that technically some members wear trilbies or Panama hats — were instead among the roughly 100 students from seven schools present for the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament that took place Friday and Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School.

All five members are TMHS students and said they were enjoying being the home team, but on the whole, preferred away meets and tournaments.

Squad member Casey Knapp said traveling allows more time spent with teammates.

“There’s more time for poker,” Knapp said, before quickly clarifying that money isn’t being bet in the card games.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire 
Hayden Loggy-Smith of Juneau describes a ferocious beast while performing Monty Python’s “Tim the Enchanter and the Killer Rabbit” during the humorous interpretation final in the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire Hayden Loggy-Smith of Juneau describes a ferocious beast while performing Monty Python’s “Tim the Enchanter and the Killer Rabbit” during the humorous interpretation final in the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament.

Joining the local team —both Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Thunder Mountain students compete under the TMHS umbrella — were teams of students from Sitka, Ketchikan, Skagway, Metlakatla, Mt. Edgecumbe and Kodiak. Haines, which was expected to be part of the tournament, was unable to travel due to weather, organizers said.

Down a hall and outside the classroom hosting the tournament’s humorous interpretation final, JDHS students — and twin siblings — Kyra and Rachel Wood said they were enjoying the tournament.

“It’s been great, we’ve been killing our events,” Kyra said. “And we get to make connections.”

A few minutes later, Rachel Wood performed several intentionally disastrous takes on Shakespeare during the humorous interpretation final, with her supportive sibling in the small audience. Humorous interpretation is an event that allows students to show off their comedy chops.

Rachel Wood pantomimes launching a rocket near the end of Ian McWethy’s “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors” during the humorous interpretation final. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Rachel Wood pantomimes launching a rocket near the end of Ian McWethy’s “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors” during the humorous interpretation final. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

In the same event, another Juneau student, Hayden Loggy-Smith performed a little over seven minutes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” cycling through a few accents as the Enchanter Tim and some imperiled knights.

Present for what was effectively the tournament’s grand finale was a panel of five distinguished guest judges for the tournament’s final debate, which took place in a full auditorium.

Judge Amy Mead, Mayor Beth Weldon, state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, state Rep. Sara Hannan and former University of Alaska Southeast professor Chip McMillan evaluate the final public forum debate between between Felix Myers and Jamison Dunn of Sitka and Killian Connolly and Kate Thomas of Ketchikan. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Judge Amy Mead, Mayor Beth Weldon, state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, state Rep. Sara Hannan and former University of Alaska Southeast professor Chip McMillan evaluate the final public forum debate between between Felix Myers and Jamison Dunn of Sitka and Killian Connolly and Kate Thomas of Ketchikan. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Judge Amy Mead, Mayor Beth Weldon, state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, state Rep. Sara Hannan and former University of Alaska Southeast professor Chip McMillan evaluated the public forum debate between Felix Myers and Jamison Dunn of Sitka and Killian Connolly and Kate Thomas of Ketchikan.

In a split 3-2 decision, the panel favored the Ketchikan team.

Afterward, a trio of Mead, Kiehl and Weldon said both teams had performed exceptionally well.

Killian Connolly and Kate Thomas of Ketchikan, who ultimately prevailed, take notes during the final debate at the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Killian Connolly and Kate Thomas of Ketchikan, who ultimately prevailed, take notes during the final debate at the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jamison Dunn of Sitka stands at the lectern during the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jamison Dunn of Sitka stands at the lectern during the Region V Drama, Debate and Forensics Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Not as simple as one, two, three

The top spots of the public forum debate results were a tight cluster.

Felix Myers of Sitka High School finished in the top spot with 143 points, which was a single-point advantage over the next closest finishers.

Second through fourth place were filled by students in a three-way tie with Killian Connolly of Ketchikan, Reese Bunten of TMHS and Francis Myers of Sitka High School each finishing with 142 points.

Sitka, which came in first in forensics, drama and debate events, finished as the overall top team in the tournament. The united Juneau team took second place, and Ketchikan came in third.

Juneau claimed second place in both forensics and drama events, and Skagway finished in third place in those categories. Ketchikan came in second place in debate events, and Mt. Edgecumbe finished third in that category.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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