Royse City student is UIL state champ

Garrett Hammonds

Garrett Hammonds, a junior at Royse City High School, is the new 4A UIL State Champion in Prose Interpretation.

Hammonds won the championship, held annually at the University of Texas at Austin, May 22. His state title caps off a stellar year of competition for Hammonds and the entire Royse City Forensics Team.

“Garrett received all first place ratings from all six of his judges,” Coach Rory McKenzie said. “That is almost unheard of and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

The team will wrap up their season with a trip to Indianapolis, IN for the National Forensic League National Tournament June 9-16.

Speech & Debate Team members: Skylar Ward, Garrett Hammonds, Paige Brown, Travis Sanders

According to McKenzie, the four students qualified this year is more than Royse City has ever qualified before.

Earlier, Hammonds competed at the 3rd Annual National Individual Events Tournament of Champions May 10-13 held just outside San Francisco, CA. Hammonds is the first Royse City student to attend this tournament.

Only in its third year, the NIETOC was created to give students who compete in competitive oral interpretation events a national outlet and an opportunity to compete against the nation’s best. To qualify for this tournament, students must have a stellar resume of success from their competitive year.

“Garrett certainly has had an amazing year; one of the best years for a student I have ever coached,” McKenzie said. “But, it isn’t surprising if you’ve ever spent time around him. Garrett works so hard and is constantly honing his craft and perfecting his performances. It has been a privilege to coach him this year, and I have high hopes for his future.”

Hammonds was able to become Royse City’s first ever qualifier in Dramatic Interpretation and Humorous Interpretation by successfully competing at the Texas Forensics Association State Tournament held in March in Amarillo, and qualifying for the NFL national tournament.

At the NIETOC, held at James Logan High School in Union City, CA (located in the Bay Area), Hammonds finished among the top 50 in the nation in both Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation. Then, Hammonds moved on to compete in Prose and Poetry Interpretation, which are considered supplemental events. Hammonds navigated through the preliminary rounds and scored high enough to advance to the finals. He placed fifth overall, ranking him among the top five Prose competitors in the nation.

McKenzie is new to Royse City this year, but hopes that the new tradition of national tournaments will stay in the school’s future.

“Already, we have done some incredible things this year for Royse City,” McKenzie said. “We’ve attended TFA State and the NIETOC for the first time, qualified more students for NFL nationals that ever before, and the future is looking even brighter.”

Submitted by Rory McKenzie. Shared by Jo Nell Mellody, Royse City ISD.

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