Forensics teams adapt to virtual competition

February 25, 2021


Central High School

The global pandemic has impacted practically every area of our lives over the last year, and Central High School Forensics has been no exception. A cloud of uncertainty has hung over the students who are navigating the uncharted waters of how or even if sporting events, recitals, concerts and competitions can be held.   

Enter Veteran Coach Jan Thompson, who has been coaching for 18 years, first wth J.J. Kelly and now at Central High School.  When Thompson first learned of the VHSL’s decision to host the 2021 Forensics tournaments using a virtual platform, she was forced to adapt to a completely new method of competition. She was not only tasked with preparing her team, but also the challenges of hosting the first ever virtual tournament for Region 2D.

If that weren’t enough, the Warriors Forensics team also found themselves in a rebuilding year, after graduating 14 of their star performers in 2020.  With a relatively young team and multiple first time competitors, Thompson’s goal was to put together a team that was capable of competing. Zoom meetings, practices in parking lots, and limited social distanced rehearsals added to the normal pressures any team would experience while preparing for a tournament.

Ashar Khan, who competed in extemporaneous speaking, had this to say about the challenges of this new format of competition.  “The virtual competition was definitely an experience that required me to adapt and adjust. Mrs.Thompson did a phenomenal job in guiding me and making sure that I could direct my focus on my category rather than have to worry about the technical aspects.”

Competition was fierce on Saturday, February 20, but the Warriors rose to the occasion and captured the Regional Title after strong performances in all their categories. “I’m so proud of each one of you,” Thompson told her team after their win. “You blew it out of the water today. We built a good team. Be proud of yourselves.  You got up this morning and did something that’s never been done.”

Maria Boggs, a Senior who was competing in humorous interpretation had this to say. “Forensics has been such an amazing opportunity for me to feel included and come out of my comfort zone in high school. I’m so grateful for the team and Mrs. Thompson who has been there for me through the years.”

Individual rankings were as follows:

Extemporaneous Speaking:

1st place - Ashar Khan

Humorous Duo:

3rd place - Jaylan Bowman and Jessica Cooke

Humorous Interpretation:

1st place - Maria Boggs


1st place - Zoey Barker

Original Oratory:

1st place - Izah Qureshi



1st place - Emily Hall

7th place - Caleb Adams


2nd place - Alex Vincer

4th place - Ava Elkins

Serious Dramatic Interpretation:

1st place - Lauren White

5th place - Andrew Mullins


Serious Duo:

1st Place - Emma Stallard and Draak Sutphin


2nd place - LilliAnna Dotson

4th place - Lindsay Flanary

The top 3 finishers in each category advance to the Super Regions round, where the team will have a chance to earn the opportunity to compete in the State Finals.

Brandon White