Ryle High School Speech and Debate team reaches for fourth state title

UNION, KY (FOX19) -- At Ryle High School the State Championship team doesn't practice on the field...but in the classroom.

With back-to-back-to-back state titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the Ryle Speech and Debate team is practicing for a fourth.

"Everything is about enunciation, hand gestures and walking but walking is a lot harder than it sounds," says freshman Davis McNichol. McNichol is practicing his walk and speech up against a wall. He is trying to follow in the footsteps of seniors Renee Wilson and Jake Hart, who have both dedicated four years to speech and debate.

"Speaking is something everybody has to do, you have to take public speaking classes in college so why not get started early," says Wilson who wants to become a pharmacist after graduation.

"Just being able to use the gifts that I have. Though it's not like a sport where I go out every Friday night and play on the football field or go down and play on the gym floor, basketball, but it's something that I'm actually good at and use there," says Hart who wants to major in political science at the University of Kentucky and eventually work in politics.

Leading the team to the state competition in March is Eric Blankenship, known to the students as Mr. B. "He's really shown me a lot about speech in general and how to be a good person to everyone else," says Hart.

Mr. B says these kids work hard and deserve every trophy but going to state is about more than just winning.

"The greatest thing I take away from this is not when we win State as a team...just to watch their face because I know what's getting ready to happen. I know that they're going to see their name on this poster, I know their name is going to be called on stage and just to experience that," says Blankenship.

An experience newcomer McNichol is hoping will happen to him. "I'm trying to add a fourth straight year of championship trophies because well I don't want to disappoint anyone because we take a lot of pride in what we do here."