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Potsdam, Colton-Pierrepont set pace at latest speech and debate competition

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MALONE - The Forensics League of Northern New York descended upon Franklin Academy to complete the first semester of speech and debate events.

This was the Regional Qualifier for Oral Interpretation, Declamation, Duo-Performance, Public Forum. The winners of these categories on this day would receive a full invitation to the New York State Speech and Debate Tournament to be held in Oneonta on the weekend of April 5-6, 2014. Each of the participants viewed the winner’s podium as the goal for the day.

There were also the categories for the seventh and eighth graders, although there is no state tournament for this age. Each tournament seems to attract more and more middle schoolers.

In Prose Interpretation, the top four finishers were separated by a mere three points. Colton-Pierrepont had the most participants and flexed their collective muscles in this event. Parishville-Hopkinton’s Kaitlyn Wells placed seventh. She was followed by Colton’s Madeline Rousell and Grace Rousell who earned sixth and fifth respectively. Then, Colton’s Ben Mckinley finished just two points out of the medals, but earned the fourth place for his efforts. Madrid-Waddington’s Emily Bracy and Colton-Pierrepont’s Cole Richards duked it out to end up in a tie for second place. At the top of the heap was Colton-Pierrepont’s Brooke Wilson, who took home the gold medal.

The arena for Modified Poetry interpretation was buzzing with anticipation as the 10 contestants squared off. Again, Colton-Pierrepont came armed and dangerous fielding a group of eight students in this category. In the end, the top six contestants were separated by a mere three points.

Madeline Rousell again finished in the top six; she earned sixth place. Her teammate, Brooke Wilson, followed her in fifth place. Fourth went to Grace Rousell from Colton. Madrid-Waddington’s Emily Bracy grabbed the bronze medal for her third place performance. Second place, and the silver medal, went to Colton’s Cole Richards. Parishville-Hopkinton’s Kaitlyn Wells took home the gold in this category.

They hope to be able to attract more and more seventh and eighth graders going into the second semester of competition and let them see how much fun they can have as well as learning about speaking in public.

Turning to the high school component, the competition was no less intense. In Oratorical Declamation, five brave students showed up to present their rendition of a speech originally delivered by someone else, like a politician, actor, humanitarian, etc.

When the final round was called, two contestants had separated themselves from the rest of the group. Katie Johnson, Colton-Pierrepont, started slowly and came on strong. She took the ultimate prize, eking out the victory over Sandstoner Anna DeRosa. Malone’s Cassie Florio and Madrid-Waddington’s James Miller tied for third. Madrid-Waddongton’s Wade Lawrence placed fifth. Ms. Johnson, for her efforts, earned an invitation to the New York State Tournament.

Turning to one of the most popular events, Oral Interpretation, 12 students pitted their talents in interpretative reading against their colleagues. Franklin Academy’s Donovan Connolly placed seventh among the contestants. Madrid’s Kathryn Travis followed in sixth place. Fifth place through second place were awarded to Potsdam students - MJ Weirich grabbed fifth, fourth went to Dominic Frascatore, Lucas Bird accepted the third place medal and Anna DeRosa earned second place, bowing to the winner, Clare Jenkins from Colton-Perrepont through the use of a tie breaker. The final results automatically awarded invitations to the State Tournament to the top three finishers: Clare Jenkins, Anna DeRosa, and Lucas Bird.

The aforementioned category involved only ninth and 10th graders.

The Varsity Oral Interpretation garnered as much attention as the previous one. All six schools were represented by a contingent from their individual institutions. When the dust settled there was a sixth place tie between Parishville-Hopkinon’s Nicole Ellis and Malone’s Jenna Murtagh. Fifth was awarded to Colton’s Andrew Jenkins. Brushton-Moira’s Mikayla Foster grabbed fourth. Then, there was a tie for second place, including Malone’s Jordyn Black and Colton’s Alyssa Santa Agueda. And first place and the gold medal went to Brushton-Moira’s Corinne Leduc. The top four finishers ultimately earned their invitation to the State Tournament: Corinne Leduc, Jordyn Black, Alyssa Santa Agueda, and Mikayla Foster.

In the same vein of interpretative performances, the tournament then turned to Duo-Dramatic Interpretation, a two-student performance of a conversation between two characters in a play or book. Sixth place went to Colton’s Vaccaro and Burns. The two Potsdam teams were tied for fourth place, Gwen Deuel / Brian Timmerman and Daniel Chichester/Elijah Adams. Third was earned by Madrid’s Alyssa Ryan and partner, Kathryn Travis. Second went to Malone’s Taylor Shanty and Madeline Crow. The top prize in Duo went to Colton-Pierrepont’s team of Reed and Alyssa Santa Agueda.

At this point in the competition all focus was directed to the debate venue. There were six pairs vying for one of the two state invitations. After the first two rounds the Potsdam team of Gwen Deuel / Brian Timmerman held a light lead over teammates Marko Jukic / Dominic Frascatore. So, the final round was actually the determining factor in the competition because the two aforementioned teams went head to head.

In the end the judge believed that Con side, Jukic and Frascatore, outdueled their friends and teammates, Deuel/ Timmerman in one whale of a verbal argument. In the end, the points awarded by the various judges who had scored each of the preliminary rounds totaled the same for both teams. However, given the fact that in the head to head battle was won by Jukic and Frascatore, that team was declared the winning team. Both teams received invitations for the state tournament. Listening to these young people argue logically, cohesively and assertively makes me wonder what supper conversations are like in each of their homes.

With all the competitions done and the invitations to the state tournament awarded, the students turned their collective attention to the final score for the day. In the category, Master Speaker, that student who accumulated the most points for the day from the two events they engaged in.

The top prize was shared between Alyssa Santa Agueda (Colton) and Anna DeRosa (Potsdam) , each of who earned 26 of a possible 30 points. Third, fourth and fifth Master Speakers included Dominic Frascatore, Brian Timmerman and Gwen Deuel, all from Potsdam. The actual score of the tournament went Potsdam’s way. The team earned 118 points followed by Colton, Franklin Academy, and Madrid-Waddington. Next tourney is at Potsdam’s Middle School on Dec. 7.

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