COOS BAY — The Marshfield High School forensics team is dominating its competition again this year.
Over the weekend, the team went to Ashland for its third meet of the season and placed first overall and second in individual events.
Senior Jorda Harlow placed in all four of her events, landing first place in Varsity Dual Interpretation with her partner Bella Sperling.
“All season, our coach has told us that preparation breeds confidence and confidence breeds success,” Harlow said. “Before going into these tournaments, we talk about that being our goal and our coach gives us a pep talk beforehand.”
Harlow was proud that her team placed first overall with 1A through 6A schools because “it’s harder for smaller schools to do that, but it’s nice to see us dominate the competition because we had the accumulative points of second and third,” she said.
The Marshfield team had 116 points, while second place had 54 and third place had 52 points.
“These students have worked very hard on their speeches,” said Coach Kayla Crook, who earned her diamond award last year, which takes five years of coaching and 1,500 points. “This tournament in Ashland is our last for the fall and we won’t have another one again until January. Those will be the national and state qualifying tournaments.”
Last year, seven of Crook’s students qualified for the national tournament in Alabama, which took place over the summer. Of the experience, Crook said her students learned a lot.
“They performed with people from across the U.S. and with some international teams,” she said. “They learned skills that they can take with them on to college. One is back for her senior year and placed in all of her events this last tournament in Ashland.”
That student was Harlow, who placed first with Sperling in the Varsity Dual Interpretation event with a piece entitled “Good Kids.”
“It’s about what happens in a small town when there is an incident of sexual assault in a high school,” Crook said. “It’s a very powerful piece.”
Harlow was inspired to work on “Good Kids” after seeing the rape culture in high school and across the country through the news. She hoped that with a piece like this, she could educate people on what consent means.
“Consent is when someone gives you permission to do something and when you’re under the influence you can’t give that consent,” Harlow said. “In the piece, the girl goes to a party and gets really messed up. She finds a video online of boys sexually assaulting and raping her.”
According to Harlow, she and Sperling hope to use the piece in more tournaments this winter.
“We will keep practicing and working on it, but it’s going good so far,” she said.
Crook explained that her students do as well as they have year after year because she holds high standards, but Harlow said it’s not just that.
“She says if it doesn’t compel you to speak about it, then there’s no point for you to do it,” she said.