Ardmore High School’s speech and debate team, The Act, has done it again.
The team won their fourth consecutive 5A State Championship win and fifth Academic State Championship win for drama and debate last week. Coach Brian Gunter said the team may have secured another win, but this one was won by the skin of their teeth.
“Up to this year we have been dominating, but this was a struggle year for us,” Gunter said. “We only won by one point this year and we’re used to having a 20-point spread.”
Gunter said illnesses, the added challenge of the school’s first one act play in more than a decade, and the loss of several star seniors made the year a “rebuilding year” for the team.
“The kids learned how to be resilient and do it for themselves,” Gunter said. “I knew going into the state tournament, even though we had a decisive victory at regionals, I knew it would be close.”
Guymon High School and Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School tied for second.
“They’re nipping at our heels this year,” Gunter said. “I know what I have coming next year, and that won’t be the case next year.”
Gunter said the team’s many freshman competitors grew considerably as performers. Ivan Almaraz, a junior, said he competed his freshman year, but didn’t make it to finals. He said this year, the competition was so steep that he didn’t know what to expect.
“It was very, very competitive,” Almaraz said.
His scene partner for humorous interpretation, Linh Nguyen said this year proved challenging for the team for a variety of reasons. The added challenge of performing their one act play, Intimate Apparel, took up much of their attention and energy.
“At the end of the day, we all have each other’s backs,” Nguyen said. “We’ll always be here to support each other through the rounds.”
Nguyen said she gravitates more toward comedy and the over-the-top expressiveness it requires.
 Taujeeai Roberts, a junior, said dramatic acting is more her speed.  
“This will be my third year going to state,” Roberts said. “My first year, I went with [dramatic duet] and prose, and that was a really good experience because I’d never done anything like that before.”
She said this year, she actually felt more intimidated by the competition.
“The competition was so, so amazing,” Roberts said. “It was out of the park. Every round, I was like ‘Oh no, I’m going to fail,’ but when I made it to finals I was very happy.”
Next, the team will move on to two national competitions in as many months, the NIETOC and the NSDA national championships.
“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere in those tournaments,” Gunter said.