The Mercer High School speech team continued its impressive string of successes at large awards tournaments last weekend by placing second out of 35 schools at the prestigious 26th 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 600 speakers and debaters from a three-state area.
Mercer placed second in the team sweepstakes with 205 points, trailing only Wheeling Park (W.Va.) High School. Individually Mercer advanced nine of its speakers into the tournament’s semifinal round after five preliminary rounds of speaking. Four Mercer speakers then advanced into the final rounds, where the top six performers in each event met head to head before three-judge panels.
Mercer’s solid team performance was again led by senior Teresa Morin who won her third consecutive tournament championship, besting 47 competitors in extemporaneous, which featured current events speaking on both foreign and domestic issues.
In preliminary rounds, Morin received two first place rankings and three seconds by her five judges. After receiving a first, second and third from the semifinals judges, she was awarded two firsts and a second in the final round.
Mercer junior Maddie Hessmann was awarded an eighth place overall semifinalist award in the same category.
In prose interpretation, senior Sarah Johnson recorded her top performance of the season, placing fourth.
The Mercer duo interpretation team of seniors Andy Roseman and Orion Anderson placed sixth in a highly competitive six-team final round.
In original oratory, senior Anna Conner and sophomore Anna Garner received awards for placing ninth and eighth overall in their events. Each was ranked either first or second in four of their five preliminary rounds. In poetry interpretation junior, Ryan Micsky recorded his best performance of the season, placing ninth overall. He placed first or second in three prelim rounds. Sophomore Kendra Walker maintained her consistently high-level performance at Bethel Park as she placed second in four of five prelim rounds on the way to a 12th-place finish in dramatic interpretation.
Quarterfinal awards were presented to five other Mercer speakers for placing in the top 24 in their events. Recipients included eighth-grader Rachel Bish in original oratory, seventh-grader Madeline Rowe in poetry, sophomore Ian Ollila in humorous interpretation, and sophomore Sarah Miller and freshman Janalyn Miklas, both in dramatic interpretation.