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Trojans host successful speech meet

WORTHINGTON -- Saturday's Trojan Speech Tournament brought out 291 competitors from 19 different area high schools. Students could choose from 13 categories to compete in, ranging from great speeches to dramatic interpretation to poetry reading. ...

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Members of the Worthington Trojan Speech team are all smiles after the awards ceremony Saturday. From Left: Samuel Van Weston, Mathias Johnson, Tad Stewart, Stephanie Lowry, Diana Rivera, Ashley Noerenberg, Sean Souksavath, Cynthis Souksavath, Jack Johnson, Mariel Castenada, Mike Martinez and Ben Lopez (Not Pictured: Anya Hartzler) (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Saturday’s Trojan Speech Tournament brought out 291 competitors from 19 different area high schools.

Students could choose from 13 categories to compete in, ranging from great speeches to dramatic interpretation to poetry reading.

Trophies were awarded for first, second and third in each category, while ribbons were awarded to fourth, fifth and sixth. Red and blue ribbons were awarded to those who just missed the cut.

During the awards ceremony, the packed WHS gym trembled with anticipation as finalists were called up in groups of six to receive their awards for respective categories. The entire gym clapped once in unison for each of the sixth through second place winners. After second place was awarded its trophy, the bleachers shook as the entire audience rose to show their appreciation for the winner.

Just like in Hogwarts, the school with the most combined points from its students takes home the team sweepstakes trophy.

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Worthington's longtime rival, St. Peter, dominated the competition. With St. Peter students taking home a trophy in eight of the 13 categories, they ended up with 102 points as a group, easily besting the second place Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (50 points). In third place was a two-way tie between Worthington High School and Murray County Central (47 points) and Minneota took home fourth (42 points).

However, Worthington coach Linda Neugebauer told the packed gym that the host team would not be taking home a trophy, so Murray County Central was awarded third.

“All these people paid a bus to get here, and we didn’t, so what I want for them to understand is we forfeit a trophy - we don’t take home our own hardware,” she explained later.

For Worthington, Ben Lopez was the sole first place finisher for his performance in Humorous Interpretation.

Other Worthington students honored include Theodore Stewart with a red ribbon in discussion, Stephanie Lowry with a blue ribbon in dramatic interpretation, Mariel Castenada with fifth place in extemporaneous reading, Samuel Van Westen with sixth place in humorous interpretation, Ashley Noeremberg with a blue ribbon and Mike Martinez with third place in poetry reading and Mathias Johnson with a blue ribbon in storytelling.

Neugebauer - who co-coaches the team with Brandon Caster - said she was impressed by how many points the team took home, despite losing many seniors who carried the team to victory last year.

“We’re a really young team,” she said. “We’ve got two juniors, one senior and a bunch of freshman and sophomores, so I think they did amazing.”

After the awards were presented and visiting teams boarded their yellow school busses, the day wasn’t over for Worthington High School students. Neugebauer gave her team instructions to help clean up the mess and get the building back into shape for the inevitable upcoming regular school day.

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First place finishers in each category were: Creative Assembly: Maygan Core, Blue Earth Area; Discussion: Connor Prafke, St. Peter Public Schools; Dramatic Interpretation: Peter Engels, Minneota; Duo Interpretation: Arianna VanMeveren and Trinity Grimord, Adrian; Extemporaneous Reading: Sarita Hook, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton; Extemporaneous Speaking: Dylan Thorson, Luverne; Great Speeches: Sydney Erickson, Windom Area High School; Humorous Interpretation: Ben Lopez, Worthington High School; Informative Speaking: Kaitlyn Vogel, River Valley; Original Oratory: Cameron Kresko, Murray County Central; Poetry Reading: Maritza Beltran, Adrian; Prose Reading: Maansi Bahkta, St. Peter Public Schools; Storytelling: McKenzie McCann, St. Peter Public Schools


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Worthington High School speech coach Brandon Caster announces the winners of the creative expression category. From left, Cecilia Rabaey of Minneota, Jade Rohrbauck of Fulda, Mikinley Prafke of St. Peter, Maygan Core of Blue Earth Area, Abigail Allen of New Ulm and Cole Davis of Murray County Central. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / Daily Globe)

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