The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

February 19, 2013

MHS team wins sweepstakes

The Herald

MERCER — The Mercer High School Speech Team made its final regular season trophy tournament appearance Saturday by capturing its second team sweepstakes championship of the 2012-13 forensics season at the second annual West Allegheny Invitational in Imperial, Pa.

With 18 of its speakers in the final round of competition, Mercer amassed 187 sweepstakes points to finish 53 points ahead of its nearest rival in the 22-team field. Mercer speakers won first place in five of the 10 individual speaking events, second place in two events, and third place in four events.

Four rounds of competition were held in the 10 individual speaking events. Awards were presented to the top three winners in each event.

Mercer was led by its trio of original orators who captured the top three places in their specialty. Senior Anna Conner recorded her first tournament championship of the year with four first-place rankings and two seconds. Eighth-grader Elizabeth Ludwig finished two ranks behind her teammate with three firsts, a pair of seconds, and a third. Senior Cole Handerhan completed the trifecta for Mercer by winning third place. Cole was awarded two firsts and a second in his three preliminary rounds.

The team duo in extemporaneous speaking – senior Teresa Morin and junior Maddie Hessmann – swept the two “current events” categories, mixed extemporaneous and commentary. Teresa won her fourth consecutive invitational tournament championship by taking top honors in commentary. Maddie captured her third tourney title of the year in extemporaneous, receiving first-place rankings from five of her six judges. Teresa and Maddie have teamed to lead Mercer to first-place wins in extemporaneous speaking events at every invitational tournament in which they competed this season.

After the final round of competition, three teams were tied for first. The tie was broken by seniors Orion Anderson and Andy Roseman with a first and two seconds in early rounds and two firsts and a fifth in the final round to capture their first tournament victory of the season.

Seventh-grader Madeline Rowe won first-place honors in poetry interpretation. Senior Mary Rudge was also a finalist in poetry, winning sixth-place honors.

In humorous interpretation, sophomore Ian Ollila was given two top rankings and a second in early rounds and a first, second and third in finals, good for second place overall. Fellow sophomore Adam Hoge advanced to finals where he garnered a fourth-place finish.

In the final round of prose interpretation, junior Bradley Thompson was ranked either first or second by four of his six judges on the way to a third-place finish. Senior Sarah Johnson was also a finalist in prose, placing fifth overall.

In declamation, an event open only to ninth- and 10th-graders, sophomore Sarah Miller won the third-place trophy, while sophomore Sabrina Yassem placed sixth.

Freshman Emily Kirila won third place in informative speaking.

In dramatic interpretation, freshman Janalyn Miklas finished in fourth place, while sophomore Kendra Walker, who was ranked the best performer in her first two rounds, placed sixth.

In six invitational competitions this season Mercer has placed first twice, and second at three other tournaments.

Eighteen Mercer speakers will travel to Pine-Richland High School this Saturday to compete in the first of two post-season qualifying tournaments, the Pennsylvania High School Speech League District 1 Tournament. First- and second-place winners in each of the nine individual speaking events there will qualify to compete at the PHSSL State Tournament scheduled for late March at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove.