Congratulations, champions!

MHS forensics team excels at state

By Walt Braun

Manhattan High School forensics coach Shawn Rafferty this morning called his 2012 team a “great group of kids who, led by talented and committed seniors, really wanted to do well this year.”

At the 6A state forensics tournament over the weekend, they were outstanding, winning the state championship that eluded them last year.

Among the seniors who set the example for teammates was Linda Pei; she won individual championships in international extemporaneous speaking and informative speech. She also won two individual titles last year, when MHS finished second.

Other top finishers for Manhattan were:

• Jake Seaton, who won the state title in oratorical speaking and finished second to Miss Pei in international extemporaneous speaking;

• Lucy Liu, who placed second in domestic extemporaneous speaking and fifth in impromptu speaking;

• Brodie Herrman, who finished third in informative speech and competed as well in domestic extemporaneous speaking;

• Augie Fitch, who was a semifinalist in international extemporaneous speaking;

• Naomi McClendon, who was a semifinalist in oratorical speaking, and

• Flora Riley, who was a semifinalist in dramatic interpretation.

As important as those contributions were, team championships require depth of talent, and Manhattan had it, with a number of other students scoring points for MHS. They included

• Macy Lanceta and Tristan Larson in duo acting; Miss Lanceta also competed in humorous interpretation;

• Mikaela Wefald, who performed in extemporaneous speaking and informative speech;

• Hana Hayden, who competed in dramatic interpretation.

In discussing his team, Mr. Rafferty said one of its characteristics was members’ unselfishness and their willingness to support one another. Each wanted to succeed individually, of course, but they worked together — well into the evenings on a number of occasions — to help one another improve. They recognized that doing so strengthened the entire team and increased their collective prospects for success.

The dedication, collaboration and competitiveness helped individual students enjoy the success during the regular season that prepared them for the state tournament.

The result was the 295 points they scored at Olathe Northwest High School, outscoring Shawnee Mission East, which finished second, and Blue Valley North and Topeka High, which tied for third.

We offer Mr. Rafferty, who led another MHS team to the state title in 2008, and the entire 2012 forensics team our congratulations for a season worthy of a standing ovation. Bravo!

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