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Parks & Rec News

MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3057|HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm
MAIN OFFICE LOCATION:  620 Florida Street, Salem, VA 24153

Published on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

SHS Forensics Team Wins 15th VHSL State Title

The Salem High School Forensics program added another jewel to its crown on Saturday. The “COVID Communicators” won the school’s 15th straight Virginia High School League State Championship in grand, virtual fashion. Head Coach Mark Ingerson’s speech champs defeated Grafton High School 32-15 to earn another Class 4 championship. 

“This was my 19th year coaching Forensics and I’ve never had a team overcome so many obstacles in their path to success," says Ingerson. "Having to practice in masks while socially distanced, to competing virtually via pre-recorded videos or live on Zoom-like apps, this team has continued to remain focused and committed to each other and excellence."

The Spartans also won five of the ten individual state titles in the unusual online-style competition. Salem now has won 83 individual event championships since 2004.


Here Are This Year’s Individual Winners:

  • Senior Captain Sophia Gibson, Humorous Interpretation
  • Senior Captain Emily Snow, Serious Dramatic Interpretation
  • Seniors Annika Bryant/Riley Evans, Serious Duo
  • Juniors Nash Lakin/Graham Roudebush, Humorous Duo
  • Sophomore Taylor Berenbaum, Prose

Nine Other Students Placed in the Top Six in State Competition.

  • Runner-up: Junior Julia Vaughan, Storytelling
  • 3rd place: Junior Kelsey Ryan, Prose
  • 3rd place: Sophomore Zella Poarch, Humorous Interpretation
  • 3rd place: Sophomore Courtney Bowen, Poetry
  • 3rd place: Sophomore Rylan Long, Original Oratory
  • 4th place: Senior Zoe Lampros, Impromptu Speaking
  • 4th place: Senior Nathan Snow, Extemporaneous Speaking
  • 4th place: 8th grader, Connor Smythers, Storytelling
  • 5th place: Sophomore Inessa Everett, Poetry

Salem has now won 12 consecutive Humorous Interpretation event titles (2009-2021) and is now tied with Blacksburg for the most consecutive team titles in Forensics and just two behind the all-time VHSL mark in any type of high school activity. The record of 17 in a row is held by Christiansburg High School’s wrestling program.

"I’m extremely proud that this team is the group to tie Blacksburg’s record," says Ingerson. "They deserve the accolades and pride that comes with such an achievement!” 



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