San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


The San Marcos High School Speech and Debate Team prevailed over 20 other schools last weekend at the La Vernia High School Invitational Tournament.

The team concludes their fall rounds at Hays High School this weekend. They will defend their three consecutive UIL district championship wins in the spring.

High school junior Johnathan Jaster, who took first place in Persuasive Speaking, led the team. Junior James Dix took second place, junior Risa Paredes-Juarez won fourth, and senior Paige Clayton took sixth.

“In Informative Speaking, a group of rookies to the team dominated the day, with four of the seven finalists being San Marcos students,” said C.J. Odam, SMHS speech & debate coach.

Sophomore Feun Robinson took second place in Informative Speaking, freshman Matthew Roarke won fifth, sophomores Sierra Rowe won sixth, and Samantha Govea took seventh, said Odam.

“In Lincoln Douglas Debate, the team was once again led by an impressive group of rookies,” Odam said. “Seven students posted records that could move them into elimination rounds, with three others advancing further into the tournament. Clayton and sophomore Dino Occhialini advanced to the quarter final round, while sophomore Gino Occhialini reached the semi final round and placed third overall.”

Senior Jonathon Flores placed fifth and senior Amber Navarette placed seventh in the poetry event. Senior Logan Nicks placed fourth in Impromptu Speaking.

While one portion of the team competed in La Vernia, other members competed in San Antonio at Stevens High School. In San Antonio, sophomore Jenny McGinty moved closer to her goal of securing an invitation to the Texas Forensic Association’s State Championship. She placed sixth overall in Congressional Debate, and thereby earned one more point toward the state qualification.

Bottom row (kneeling L-R): Samantha Govea (grade 10), Feun Robinson (10), Emmy Hale (10), Amber Navarette (12) Middle row (L-R): David Lane (11), James Dix (11), Rene Devorah-Robles (10), William Mayhew (9), Devon von Miller (10), Jenny McGinty (10), Sierra Rowe (10), Jonathon Flores (12), Emile Morris (11), Paige Clayton (12). Back row (L-R): Chris delaIglesia (12), Logan Nicks (12), Dino Occhialini (10), Michael Hoover (12), Matthew Roarke (9), Johnathan Jaster (11), Gino Occhialini (10). PHOTO via SMCISD

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