MERCER – The Mercer High School Speech Team competed with another strong field of schools representing western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia on Feb. 1 at the 3rd Annual Hampton Talbot Tournament held in Allison Park, Pa.
More than 240 speakers and debaters took part in the day-long competition which featured 10 individual speaking events plus student congress, public forum debate and Lincoln Douglas debate.
Speakers competed in three preliminary rounds with the top six ranking performers in preliminary rounds meeting in a final round. Trophies were awarded to all finalists. The race for team sweepstakes was dominated by large schools from a two-state area which compete in both speech and debate events: Wheeling (W.Va.) Park High School, Upper St. Clair, North Allegheny, and Pine-Richland. However, Mercer speakers made a strong showing against the “big boys” as 11 of their speakers/performers won awards for advancing into the final rounds of chosen events.
Mercer had multiple award winners in three events. In prose interpretation senior Megan Hogan placed second out of 20 entrants. In preliminary rounds Megan received two first-place rankings and a second from her three judges and a second, third, and fourth in the final round to win runner-up honors. Teammate Emma Taborek, a junior, won sixth-place honors in prose. She was awarded first, second, and third-place rankings in her preliminary rounds.
Three of the six final-round participants in dramatic interpretation division were Mercer performers. Freshman Abby Redmond placed fourth. She was awarded second place by two of her three final-round judges. Junior Savannah Bungar won the fifth-place trophy in dramatic with two first-place rankings out of six ballots, and eighth-grader Isabella Smith won her second dramatic award in as many weeks by winning the sixth place trophy on Saturday.
A pair of Mercer humorous interpreters, senior Christopher Wilms and freshman Alexander Hamilton, placed in the final round of humorous interpretation. Wilms claimed the fifth-place trophy while Hamilton won sixth place honors.
Mercer junior Madeline Laughlin placed in original oratory by winning the sixth place trophy. She advanced to the final round of six with a second-place ranking and a pair of third-places in preliminary rounds.
In a relatively new event, program oral interpretation, first-year senior Garrison Lutch won the sixth-place trophy. In preliminary rounds, Lutch was awarded first, second, and third-place rankings.
Mercer’s seventh-grade duo interpretation team of Alexie Cameron and Amanda Bachman won sixth-place honors in competition with upperclassmen. The tandem received second, third, and fourth-place rankings in preliminary rounds.
Ten other Mercer speakers placed in the top 10 of their events. They included: the duo interp team of freshmen Ainslee Konkle and Willow Myers (seventh-place); and eighth-grade duo interpreters Lily Erwin and Joey Michaels (eighth place); freshman James Kellar, eighth place in commentary; seventh-grader Haley Pears eighth in informative speaking; seventh-grader Maddie Finley, eighth place in humorous interp; freshman Bennett Grossman, ninth place in humorous; and eighth-graders Alexandra Schuster (original oratory) and Desire Blacksher (dramatic interp) were 10th in their events.