4/25/2013 3:47:00 PM Sydney Erhardt is state speech champion
Luckily, the snow storm of last Friday cleared in time for the Cannon Falls speech team to load the bus early Saturday morning for an easy drive to Blaine HS for the Minnesota State Speech Tournament. Cannon Falls arrived with the most competitors in the state with 17 entries followed by East Grand Forks (14) and Fairmont (12). Of the 192 Class A teams, 90 Minnesota schools earned spots among the best in the state. Of the 46 teams that had speakers in finals (top eight in the state), Cannon Falls was 4th by medal count with seven speakers in finals behind East Grand Forks, Fairmont and Mounds Park Academy with eight medals each.
Cannon Falls qualified seven speakers in six of the 13 MSHSL speech categories. Junior Josh Siebenaler and sophomore Sydney Erhart each won the right to speak in the finals of Extemporaneous Speaking (ES). ES is a category in which the speakers have 30 minutes to prepare a speech that answers a question about international politics. Earning his first medal at the state tournament, Josh was announced as the 7th place medalist. In final round, Josh spoke on "What are the prospects for controlling drug cartels in Mexico?" As the awards for ES continued, the team could barely contain themselves when second place was announced and it was apparent that Sydney had won the state title with her speech on "What are the prospects for the European economies in 2013?" Earning 3rd place in ES last year, this is Sydney's second state medal.
Three seniors were able to end their speech careers with a final round performance. In Great Speeches (GS), an event that analyzes the rhetorical elements of important speeches, Becca Gesme was able to improve upon last year's 7th place finish in GS by taking the 2nd place award with her analysis and performance of We Have No Alternative by Golda Meir. In prelims, Becca was rated first in each round and went into finals tied with the eventual state champion, missing the title in finals by one rank.
Next, Informative speaker Kailee Stiles was able to compete in finals with her speech entitled "The Quick Brown Fox." Her speech entertains through the history and impact of typefaces on our lives, especially the font Helvetica. Kailee earned a 3rd place medal, repeating her performance of last year in Original Oratory.
And, finally, Alex Traynor ended her career with a 4th place medal in Extemporaneous Reading (ER). In ER, students draw from 15 stories and have a half hour to prepare an interpretation of a selection from one of the pieces. In finals, Alex performed a portion of "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar."
Two sophomore speakers rounded out the Cannon Falls medalists. Hannah Brummund placed 6th in her first appearance in the Storytelling (ST) final round with her interpretation of "The Six Swans." Storytellers extemporize a retelling of children's stories from the book Grimm's Tales for Young and Old after 30 minutes of preparation.
Classmate Matt Lockett also made finals in Prose with his performance from the memoir The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon, earning an 8th place medal. Prose is an interpretation of a serious piece of prose literature like a novel or short story. His second medal at state, Matt earned 5th place in Poetry last season. Only at the end of the day did we notice that CF speakers had earned a medal for every place in finals except for 5th place.
In addition, a handful CF speakers were in the top 12 of speakers in the tournament and but just missed making the final round of eight speakers: Cole Gardner in Creative Expression, Alexa Ochocki in Drama, Madison Langdon in Discussion and Megan Bauer in Informative. Matt Breuer's performance in Great Speeches matched the rank needed for the last position going into finals but lost on a tiebreaker based on the strength of opponents faced during the prelim rounds.
With awards finishing earlier than the last few years, the team renewed a tradition of ice cream after State with a stop at Culver's on the way home. With many of the younger teammates coming along to Blaine to watch, the team enjoyed participating in the record setting day along with coaches Holly Winget, Cal Vande Hoef and John Fogarty.
Based on team records since 1969, the 2013 speech team earned the most entries to the state tournament in team history, matched last year's record setting medal count and added a 9th state champion to the CF ranks. A truly spectacular season has come to a close and all that is left is the team awards banquet-the Cupcake Extravaganza-on May 8th.