Four Mercer High School Speech team members won awards as Pine-Richland High School, Gibsonia, hosted its annual invitational tournament with more than 275 speakers representing 28 high schools in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.
Three preliminary rounds of competition were held in eight different individual speaking events with the top five to seven speakers in each event after four rounds selected to compete in a final round, which was evaluated by a three-judge panel.
Mercer brought home one first-place award, two thirds and a sixth, highlighting a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
Wheeling (W.Va.) Park High School was first with Upper St. Clair and Mount Lebanon placing second and third, respectively.
Teresa Morin, a senior, won the tournament championship in extemporaneous speaking. She bested 34 other speakers as she received two first-place rankings and a second from her three preliminary-round judges and two first-place ranks and a second in the final round, winning the tournament by a three-point margin over a speaker from Pittsburgh’s North Allegheny High School. Teresa has placed in the top two at two of three trophy tournament competitions this year.
In the interpretation events, Kendra Walker recorded her second consecutive third-place finish as she was given a first place, four seconds, and a fourth in four rounds of interpretation. Fellow sophomore Ian Ollila won the third-place award in humorous interpretation with first-, second-, and third-place ranks in prelim rounds and a second, third, and fifth in the final round.
In original oratory, senior Cole Handerhan was given first-place rankings in two of three preliminary rounds on the way to a sixth-place finish. Cole has placed as a finalist at two of the three trophy tournaments on the young season.
Six other Mercer speakers narrowly missed qualifying for final rounds in their events. They included senior Anna Conner and eighth-grader Elizabeth Ludwig (both in original oratory); junior Maddie Hessmann (impromptu speaking); and seniors Andrew Roseman and Orion Anderson (duo interpretation). In addition, seventh-grader Madeline Rowe came within two points of advancing to finals in poetry interpretation.
On Saturday, Mercer will host its 39th Individual Events Trophy Tournament, which is annually sponsored by the Mercer Rotary Club. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and will feature competition in eight individual speaking categories plus student congress and public forum debate.
Three rounds of competition will be held in all events with the top five to seven speakers/performers in the eight individual speaking events advancing to a 2 p.m. final round. Mount Lebanon is the defending tournament champion.
The day-long competition, which is open to the public, will conclude with an awards assembly about 3:30 p.m.