Manistee forensics team qualifies for state finals in 10 categories

MANISTEE — There are occasions in high school competition where even the coaches are pleasantly surprised at the efforts their teams turn in at a crucial point of a season.

Manistee High School Forensics coach Eric Theummel and assistant coach Kirsten Bish knew some of their players had the potential to do well in the District 3 Regional competition at Lake City. However, there is always that tiny speck of unknowing at how a student will respond at the big moment when everything was on the line at the regional competition. Both Theummel and Bish couldn’t have been prouder of the way their team responded to the challenge.

Members of the Manistee High School Forensics team qualified in 10 areas for the state tournament on May 4 and 5 in Kalamazoo. Shown in the front row left to right are Jesse Switalski, Heather Hansen, Nicole Howard, Petra Probst, Maggie Perkins, Savanna Weber, and Callahan DeCillis. Back row left to right Natalie fisk, LeAnna engwall, Michael Stypa, Min Koo Heo, Dong Woo Lee, dylan Malma and Graham fischer. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

“We are an individual events Forensics team, and there also is debate and theater competition as well,” said Theummel. “There are 14 speaking events, and the top four from the regional advance to the state finals. The state finals this year will be on May 4 and 4 on the campus of Western Michigan University at Kalamazoo.”

Manistee earned three first place medals at the regional tournament with Bradley Madsen taking one for broadcasting and Michael Stypa getting another for impromptu. A third place medal went to freshmen Callahan DeCillis, Graham Fischer and Dylan Malma for multiple interpretation.

Theummel expected good things from the freshmen trio heading into the regional competition. They seemed to grow stronger as the year progressed.

“They took first at a tournament we competed in at Gaylord and have been improving all year long,” said Theummel. “The team they beat at Gaylord had beaten them earlier this year.”

Second place medals went to LeAnna Engwall for dramatic interpretation (9/10 division) and Heather Hansen for the dramatic interpretation open division. Theummel expected big things from both students after strong efforts throughout the year.

“LeAnna has been consistent for us and Heather Hansen has done well all year,” said Theummel.

Another bright spot for the Chippewas came in the poetry interpretation where Jesse Switalski earned her way into another state championship round by earning a third place medal. Switalski is no stranger to the state finals after having qualified three times in poetry.

Natalie Fisk will also be heading to Kalamazoo on May 4 after taking a third place medal in prose interpretation. Fourth place medals that allowed them to qualify for state went to Dong-Woo Lee, Min Koo Heo for duo interpretation and to Petra Probst for story telling and Nicole Howard for poetry interpretation.

Maggie Perkins and Savanna Weber did a duo interpretation that earned them a fifth place effort in interpretation. By finishing in fifth place they will be an alternate at the state finals.

Prior to going to the regional tournament, the Chippewas prepared with a good effort at the Mason County Invitational where they finished in second place as a team.

Michael Stypa had a first place effort for impromptu speaking, while Heather Hansen finished second in dramatic interpretation as did the team of DeCillis, Fischer and Malma in multiple interpretation. LeAnna Engwall had a third place effort in dramatic interpretation.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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