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State Speech Tournament preview

Five 2012 state speech champions return to defend their titles in the same category, while three other returning champions will seek gold in a new category at the 2013 State Speech Tournament that will be held at Blaine High School on Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20. Class AA competition will be conducted on Friday and Class A competition will be conducted on Saturday.

The material chosen by competitors ranges from the classics — One Third of a Nation by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Class AA Great Speeches — to the contemporary — Women at Ground Zero; Stories of Courage and Compassion by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba in Class A Serious Interpretation of Prose. The material written by the competitors themselves always evokes interest, often in titles alone, such as Zoe Roelfsema-Hummel’s 1,000 Ways to Die in High School in Class A Creative Expression, or Laura Shannon’s The Importance of Being Average in Class AA Original Oratory.

The tournament features the top three qualifiers from each of eight Class A sections and from each of eight Class AA sections in 13 different speech categories. The 2013 tournament qualifiers represent 156 high school teams — 90 Class A teams and 66 Class AA teams. Students from 318 Minnesota high schools participated in speech during the current school year on 192 Class A teams and 112 Class AA teams.

Class A Highlights

The Class A field features two returning gold medalists from 2012, both of whom are competing in the same categories. Aniket Naravane of Mounds Park Academy of St. Paul is looking for his second gold medal in Original Oratory and Stephanie Wolf of Mankato Loyola returns to defend her title in Serious Interpretation of Poetry.

One additional champion also returns in search of more hardware. Veronica Lesnar of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton took top honors in Extemporaneous Reading in 2010 and will compete with Jaret Cyr in Duo Interpretation this year. Lesnar placed fifth in Extemporaneous Reading last year.

The other returning 2012 medalists are: • in Creative Expression – Brian Howey of Perham, third, Shailagh Lannon of Mounds Park Academy, fifth in Duo Interpretation, and Zach Brown of Fairmont, sixth; • in Discussion – Brendon dos Santos of East Grand Forks, third, Austin Hovland of Jordan, fourth, and Zach Olson of Parkers Prairie, sixth; • in Duo Interpretation – the team of Cody Schwartz and Brian Thoreson of River Valley, runners-up, and Patrick Latcham of Eden Valley-Watkins, sixth in Humorous Interpretation; • in Extemporaneous Reading – Jonathan Suomi of Mountain Iron-Buhl, fourth, and Justice Redding of Adrian, sixth; • in Extemporaneous Speaking – Kathryn Kixmoeller of The Blake School of Minneapolis, runner-up, Sydney Erhardt of Cannon Falls, third, Zachary Ploeger of Pipestone Area, sixth, and Shane Price of Mankato Loyola, eighth; • in Great Speeches – Becca Gesme of Cannon Falls, seventh; • in Humorous Interpretation – Emma Stacy of Mounds Park Academy, runner-up; • in Informative Speaking – Kailee Stiles of Cannon Falls, third in Original Oratory, Tommy McCarthy of Adrian, fourth, Christie Visser of Ogilvie, sixth, and Sarah Anderson of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, eighth; • in Original Oratory – Caitlin Parsley of Fairmont, fifth; • in Serious Interpretation of Drama – Matthew Jedlicka of Blackduck, third, and Logan Bartholomew of Kimball Area, sixth; • in Serious Interpretation of Poetry –Mijah Murden of Windom Area, runner-up, Grace Steward of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, third, and Munira Khalif of Mounds Park Academy, sixth; • in Serious Interpretation of Prose – Kaleb Krengel of Maple River of Mapleton, fourth in Serious Interpretation of Drama, Matt Lockett of Cannon Falls, fifth in Serious Interpretation of Prose, and Angela Cole of Pequot Lakes, sixth; • in Storytelling – Cole Wintheiser of St. Cloud Cathedral, runner-up, Molly Dunn of River Valley, fourth, Mary Ninneman of Mankato Loyola, sixth, and Sarah Schultz of Park Rapids Area, eighth.

Class AA Highlights

The Class AA field features six gold medalists from the 2012 field. Of the six, three will compete in the same category and three will look for gold in a different category. Emma Erler of Roseville Area is looking for her second consecutive title in Duo Interpretation, Ashesh Rambachan of Eastview, Apple Valley, is looking to repeat in Extemporaneous Speaking, and Patricia Reeves of Apple Valley is in search of her second gold medal in Serious Interpretation of Poetry. Erler won with Syrah Sherwood in 2012 and will compete with Jordan Riebe this year. Riebe is also making a return appearance; he placed eighth in Duo Interpretation last year with Paige Mangan.

Syrah Sherwood of Roseville Area, Justin Wirsbinski of Eagan, and Emerald Egwim of Eagan are looking for gold in new categories. Sherwood won with Emma Erler in Duo Interpretation last year and will compete in Serious Interpretation of Drama this year. Wirsbinski, who won in Serious Interpretation of Prose, will also compete in Serious Interpretation of Drama. Egwim took top honors in Serious Interpretation of Drama in 2012 and will put her skills to the test in Serious Interpretation of Prose.

The other returning 2012 medalists are: • in Creative Expression – Annie Cameron of Moorhead, runner-up, and Jacob Guzior of Eagan, third in Humorous Interpretation; • in Discussion – Brian Kunz of Princeton, sixth; • in Duo Interpretation – Emma VanVactor-Lee of Duluth East, runner-up, the team of Noah Johnson and Jade Krsnak of Moorhead, fourth, Victor Dorobantu of Eden Prairie, seventh in Creative Expression, and Aletta Arndt of Marshall, seventh in Serious Interpretation of Prose; • in Extemporaneous Reading – Erica Floding of Eastview, runner-up, Zachary McDowell of Mound Westonka, sixth, and Aarushi Sarkari of Prior Lake, seventh; • in Extemporaneous Speaking – Dylan Adelman of Lakeville South, runner-up, Josh You of Lakeville North, third, and Haley Brahmbhatt of Chanhassen, seventh; • in Great Speeches – Mitchell Thomas Bermel of Lakeville North, fifth, and Erin Jones of Bemidji, eighth; • in Humorous Interpretation – Nina Grollman of Moorhead, runner-up, and Nick Furlong of Lakeville North, third in Creative Expression; • in Informative Speaking – Georgia Schmitt of Apple Valley, runner-up, and Ryan Sudo of Forest Lake, fourth; • in Original Oratory – Abby Surprenant of Marshall, runner-up, Aunika Schraw of St. Cloud Tech, third, Maddie Morris of Andover, fifth, Nader Helmy of Apple Valley, seventh, Katie Beedy of Moorhead, seventh in Informative Speaking, and Emily Haagenson of Moorhead, eighth in Informative Speaking; • in Serious Interpretation of Drama – Hailey Woolverton of Lakeville North, runner-up in Serious Interpretation of Poetry, and Adam Peterson of Cambridge-Isanti, eighth in Creative Expression; • in Serious Interpretation of Poetry – Matthew Wisenden of Moorhead, fourth, and Nyambura Muiruri of Lakeville North, seventh; • in Serious Interpretation of Prose – Kate Makowski of Lakeville North, third in Duo Interpretation, Bo Erickson of Marshall, fifth in Duo Interpretation, and Paige Mangan of Roseville Area, eighth in Duo Interpretation.


The schedule is the same each day with the first round at 10:15 a.m. The second and third rounds will begin at 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., followed by the finals at 3:30 p.m. Awards will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Provided by the Minnesota State High School League.