It isn’t often that we have the pleasure on consecutive days to recognize state champions from local high schools.
So it is today that we congratulate members of the Rock Creek High School forensics team. They were winning the 3A state championship in Wichita at about the same time that their peers at Manhattan High School were claiming the 6A state title in Olathe.
As a story in Monday’s Mercury noted, Rock Creek won the 3A tournament handily, finishing with 360 points — 90 points ahead of second-place Moundridge. And as was the case with MHS, Rock Creek combined talent and depth, claiming three individual state championships and three seconds, along with a slew of other placings.
Sara Nider won the state championship in dramatic solo acting; Jessi Snapp won the state title in humorous solo acting, and Aaron Kuecker won the state championship in poetry interpretation.
Finishing second were Dylan Meyer in extemporaneous speaking, Jacob Miller in humorous solo acting and Trey Basa in prose interpretation.
Also, Shannon Oakley placed fourth in informative speaking, Crystal Chitwood placed fifth in informative speaking, Chance Maginness finished fourth in extemporaneous speaking and Isaac Camacho placed seventh in poetry interpretation.
There’s more. Trey Basa and Justin Ward reached the semifinals in duet acting, as did Jacob Miller in prose interpretation and Paige Nickell in oration. Rock Creek earned additional points from William Henry in poetry interpretation, Chance Maginness in informative speaking, and Sara Nider and Jackson Meyer in duet acting. This was indeed a team effort.
No wonder Rock Creek forensic coach Keith Miller was delighted. “It was a great way to end a great season… Coaching this group is easily one of the highlights of my life.”
Any state championship is an impressive feat. Mostly when folks discuss high school state titles, however, athletic achievements come to mind. Area schools have won their share of athletic championships — in wrestling, basketball, track and other sports.
The attention sports teams get from students, families, schools, communities — and newspapers — is understandable. But it’s too easy to overlook activities and competitions such as music, journalism, forensics and others.
Yet as is the case with athletics, success in those pursuits involves overcoming obstacles and requires talent, commitment, sacrifice, teamwork, poise, and, of course, superb coaching.
Yes, the Flint Hills boasts strong athletics programs. More important, it boasts strong academic interscholastic activities as well, as the state championships in forensics won by Rock Creek and Manhattan high schools in recent days demonstrate.