UIL students compete at invitational



Senior Lindsey Hardin and junior Cylen Brown sort tests after returning from an invitational meet in Ennis last Saturday.

Nicollette Arabie, Editorial Team

On Saturday, members of UIL team attended an invitational meet in Ennis to practice academic, journalism, speech and debate contests. In the past, the Ennis meet had been made up of primarily similarly-sized schools from the area, but this year had exploded, with nearly three dozen teams, most of them 5A and 6A schools from the DFW metroplex. And although this was the first meet for most of the Buffalo students, they managed to hold their own against their bigger opponents.

“The school was so big I had to walk like ten minutes to get to my contests,” junior Ryan Brown said. “A few of my friends and I explored the school during our free time after contests had ended, and it was gigantic. I had a lot of fun especially in Editorial and News Writing because I love journalism.”

In academics, the Current Events team placed third as a team. Members of the team included senior Lindsey Hardin, juniors Cylen Brown and Mason Ayles and sophomores James Boetcher and Ethan Roberts. The team is coached by English teacher Lauren Rodriguez. The team placed first at district last year and is hoping to maintain its title for the third year in a row.

“The test had a lot of questions that I wasn’t 100% sure on,” Brown said. “We did the best with what we knew, but in the future, we’ll have to focus more on world news than just U.S. news since the test had a lot of that. I’m excited to improve and I can’t wait for the next meet. I’m sure we’ll place next time.”

Ayles also placed third as an individual in Spelling. He was joined in the contest by sophomore Raegyn Dennix. The team is coached by Taylor Lack, secretary and former Buffalo graduate.

Sophomores Bradyn Lack and Ashtyn Barzda competed in Literary Criticism. Both were beaten out by students from larger schools and did not have enough people to secure a top-three team spot either. This year’s contest covers Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder, and poems by Vincent St. Milay. The team is also coached by Lauren Rodriguez. 

Freshmen Evangeline Arabie and Alexa Sanchez stepped up to the plate as the only two competitors from Buffalo in the Accounting contest. Neither placed, but both are ready to continue to work in order to make waves at UIL district. The team is also coached by Taylor Lack.

“Alexa and I tried really hard and did as best we could,” Arabie said. “Now that we have some experience under our belt and a better idea of how the contest works, we’re going to be able to prepare a lot more and get better with every practice test. We might not have done well this week but we made some new friends with people from our own school and from others that were at the contest.” 

The journalism team has big shoes to fill. They have placed first in district for more years than coach Melonie Menefee can remember, but also face strong journalism competition in district 20-3A. They lost several strong seniors last year and so are bringing in new competitors to help keep their top spot. Senior Lindsey Hardin competed for the first time in feature writing, junior Cylen Brown competed in news writing and editorial writing, and sophomore Tristan Cole competed in editorial writing. Brown has the most experience out of the three members, having made it all the way to state in editorial writing and feature writing and placing fifth at state last year in feature. The students didn’t place Saturday but did get strong comments on their stories to use next time.

In speech events, two competed and both made it to finals. Freshman Yuliet Gonzalez competed in poetry for the first time, while sophomore Tristan Cole competed in Informative Extemp. 

In debate, the newest CX team junior Nicollette Arabie and freshman Kaylen Sanchez placed first in their division. This was their first meet this year and their first meet as a team; for Sanchez, it was her first real CX meet ever. The team debated in four rounds, each an hour and a half, and won all four. Both the speech and debate students are coached by Melonie Menefee.

“I was really proud of how all the students did,” Menefee said. “Most of the teams we were up against were much bigger than us, and none of the students from Buffalo let that scare them off. We have at least two more invitationals scheduled this year before district in March, and I am excited to see how much the students grow.”