The Mercer High School speech team opened its forensics season Dec. 14 with a strong showing at the 39th Annual Pittsburgh North Catholic Invitational. The three-round competition attracted more than 165 speakers from 23 public and parochial high schools in western Pennsylvania.
Twelve of Mercer’s 29 students placed in the top 10 speakers/performers in their chosen individual speaking events. Mercer had five award winners in the seven speech events. Mercer students won first place honors in two of the events.
The day-long competition was attended by most of the large-school speech teams in the Pittsburgh area.
Mercer showcased its strength in dramatic and humorous interpretation with three place winners, including first-place finishes in both events. In dramatic interpretation, sophomore Janalyn Miklas dominated, placing first out of 14 performers. Janalyn was ranked first in all three of her rounds and earned 74 quality speaker points out of a possible 75. Teammate Kendra Walker, a junior, tied for second but placed third based on tiebreakers. She had two first place ranks and a second.
In humorous interpretation, junior Ian Ollila received first place rankings from all three of his judges to win by one point over three performers from Mount Lebanon. Ian was awarded 72 out of a possible 75 quality points in his three rounds.
Senior Ryan Micsky tied for fifth in poetry interpretation, ranking first, second and third in this three rounds.
In original oratory, Mercer freshman Elizabeth Ludwig took fifth in a competitive field of experienced orators. She was awarded two first-place rankings and a second in three rounds.
Seven other Mercer students placed in the top ten in their events. Senior Maddie Hessmann was sixth in impromptu speaking; senior Bradley Thompson was seventh in prose interpretation; sophomore Emily Kirila and freshman Rachel Bish tied for eighth in original oratory; eighth-grader Evan Daugherty was eighth in dramatic interpretation; sophomore Ryan Hamilton was ninth in impromptu; and eighth-grader Andrew Brinker was eighth in humorous interpretation.
On Dec. 11 Mercer hosted a two-round Catholic Forensic League tournament. Mercer had 12 top-three place-winners, including firsts in three of five speaking events.
Awarded ribbons and becoming eligible for $200 scholarships to Gannon University for placing first were Maddie Hessmann in extemporaneous speaking; eighth-grader Maddie Rowe in oral interpretation; and Ian Ollila in dramatic performance.