The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


April 4, 2014

11 speakers go to state tourney

MERCER — The Mercer High School Speech Team placed seven of its speakers into the elimination rounds of competition at the Pennsylvania High School Speech League’s 53rd Annual State Tournament at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove.

More than 750 students from 130-plus school districts took part in the two-day competition. Most of the participants were either first-, second- or third-place winners at qualifying tournaments held in late February. Competition was offered in nine qualifying events, plus three others that are held only at the state level. Eleven Mercer speakers qualified for the state tournament, seven advanced into elimination rounds and two placed in the finals.

Sophomore dramatic interper Janalyn Miklas recorded the top overall performance among Mercer speakers, placing fifth of 26 competitors in dramatic interpretation. .

Junior Kendra Walker, a five-year performer, was selected to compete in the tournament’s commonwealth house of student congress. As a first-time entrant in this event in which students present, defend and debate various bills and resolutions in a legislative format, Kendra was selected as one of 12 students to participate in the “super session” of congress. Kendra was awarded 21 overall points in the four sessions of congress.

These five other Mercer students placed as semifinalists or quarterfinalists:

• Senior Bradley Thompson, a top-10 place winner in prose interpretation, received first-, second- or third-place rankings from five of his nine judges. It was the second year he was a state semifinalist in interpretation.

• Junior Ian Ollila was a top-10 place winner in humorous interpretation, placing fourth overall heading into semifinals.

• Junior Adam Hoge was a top-12 place winner in radio announcing.  He was the top-ranking announcer out of 80 contestants heading into the quarterfinal round and was eliminated in semi-finals

• Sophomore Ryan Hamilton, a top-12 place winner in commentary, was named a top-three speaker by half of his preliminary round judges.

• Freshman Elizabeth Ludwig placed 19th out of 72 speakers in impromptu speaking. In preliminary rounds, Elizabeth was named the top ranking speaker on three of six ballots.

Two other Mercer speakers narrowly miss qualifying for semifinal rounds in their events. Senior Maddie Hessmann, finished in a tie for 12th place after preliminary rounds but missed by reciprocal fractions of qualifying for semifinals in extemporaneous speaking. Freshman Rachel Bish was one of three entrants who missed by one point of advancing to semifinals in informative speaking.

Seventeen Mercer speakers in grades 7 through 12 will travel to Keystone Oaks High School in Dormont Saturday to compete in that school’s annual Freshman-Sophomore Trophy Tournament.

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