Local Students Earn Title at National Speech and Debate Tournament


A group of 12 high school students represented the Ohio Valley on the National stage, claiming some very high honors.

Out of 2,500 kids from across the country, 12 students on the Wheeling Park Speech and Debate Team just put Wheeling on the map in a big, earning the title of the one of the top six speech and debate teams in the country.

The team won six awards at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Speech and Debate Tournament in Louisville.

About 250 kids competed in each event, and six Wheeling Park students reached rounds during the competition that narrowed down to the top 48, 24, 12 and six students in the country.

Pushaly Sau placed sixth in oral interpretation of literature and Adam Payne placed 3rd in dramatic interpretation.

Adam’s award is the highest honor since 2009.

Both students and their coach tell me they couldn’t believe it, but couldn’t have done it without their team and their hard work.

“My final my number was 7,730 and then I saw it up there and I was like this is not real, and then I cried to Mr. Cornforth, it was just such an exhilarating moment,” said Sau.

“I was completely blown away because I wasn’t even expecting to break into the top 48 and then third place it was just, surreal,” said Payne.

Coach Bill Cornforth said the team has participated in six national tournaments over the last nine years–but this team is the most successful.

“To know that their competitive with kids across the nation says something for them and the hard work that they’ve done and for the county who supports all this, who encourages us to do this and supports us along the way,” said Bill Cornforth.

The team is also the first ever to win the founders award for team achievement.

Congratulations to those outstanding students.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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