The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

February 17, 2014

4 speakers get to finals at tournament

The Herald

MERCER — The Mercer High School Speech Team continued its string of strong performances Feb. 7-8 at the 27th Annual Bethel Park Blackhawk Invitational. The two-day event, which is annually the largest and most competitive tournament of the regular season, attracted more than 350 students from 30 high schools in a three-state area.

Mercer advanced speakers into the elimination rounds, beginning with quarterfinals, the top 24 performers in each of the seven events. Eleven Mercer entrants moved on to the semifinal round, which featured the top 12 in each event. Four Mercer speakers continued into final rounds, going head-to-head with five other top speakers.

Mercer brought home one tournament champion, a second, and two fifth-place winners.

During the weekend all speakers competed in five preliminary rounds. All those advancing to elimination rounds won awards, either quarterfinalist medals or trophies.

In poetry interpretation Mercer senior Ryan Micsky won the tournament championship, besting 37 others. In his five preliminary rounds, Micsky received one first place, two seconds, and a third. In elimination rounds, he received a first place in quarterfinals, two first places and a second in semifinals, and two firsts and a second in the final round to win the event by five points. Micsky has placed in the top six at five of six major invitationals this season.

Mercer’s performers in dramatic interpretation won two of the top five places.

Sophomore Janalyn Miklas won second place with three first-place rankings, a second, and a third in preliminary rounds, a third place in her quarterfinal round, two firsts and a third in semifinals, and a first place and two seconds in finals. Janalyn has been a top-five place winner at five of six invitationals this season, including first places at three awards tournaments.

Junior Kendra Walker brought home the fifth-place award in dramatic. She was given one first-place ranking, two seconds, and a third in prelims and she ranked third and second in quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. Kendra has been a top-six place winner at all six invitationals this season,

In humorous interpretation, junior Ian Ollila won the fifth-place award. He was ranked in the top three in four of five preliminary rounds and was given a second place overall ranking in semifinals. Ian has placed at five of six invitationals, including two firsts.

Seven Mercer speakers won trophies for placing in the semifinal rounds, the top 12, of their events. They were senior Maddie Hessmann in extemporaneous speaking; sophomore Emily Kirila and freshmen Elizabeth Ludwig and Rachel Bish, all in original oratory; senior Bradley Thompson and eighth-grader Maddie Rowe in prose interpretation; and junior Sarah Miller in dramatic interpretation.

These Mercer speakers won medals for advancing to the quarterfinal round: junior Sabrina Yassem in original oratory; sophomore Ryan Hamilton in extemporaneous; senior Rebecca Shaffer in poetry interpretation; eighth-graders Mason Borowicz and Andrew Brinker in humorous interpretation; and two duo interpretation teams, senior Mindy Brown and her partner junior Adam Hoge, and the senior team of Kira Chambers and Stephanie Suhrie.