Forensics team preparing for regional, state tournaments

MANISTEE — When the 2018 Forensics season began, Manistee High School coaches Eric Thuemmel, Kirsten Bish, Bree Miller and Sharon Gates realized that the team needed to gain some experience.

The Manistee High School Forensics team made a good showing at the Best of the West Invitational at Portage Central last weekend and are preparing for the upcoming regional and state tournament.

The Manistee High School Forensics team made a good showing at the Best of the West Invitational at Portage Central last weekend and are preparing for the upcoming regional and state tournament.

Over the past several years the Forensics program at Manistee High School has been growing stronger every year, but graduation last year took away several key players. The Manistee coaches knew that it would take some time and experience to get this year’s team up to speed, but what they didn’t realize was how quickly that would take place.

“The kids have been working hard and spending lots of time practicing their selections,” said Thuemmel. “We finished an ambitious seven meet invitational season this past weekend at the Best of the West Invitational at Portage Central with a first place finish out of 14 schools in the small school division.”

Overall Manistee finished ninth out of 25 teams at the Best of the West Invitational which included Class A powerhouses like Portage Central, Grand Rapids Christian and Bloomfield Hills.

“We placed quite well against some very tough competition,” said Thuemmel.

It was the type of strong finish the coaches wanted to see leading up to the Regional competition on April 14. What was also impressive is that several players were missing from the invitational because of illness and spring break.

“We are setting our sights on that Regional that we will host on April 14 and hopefully that will send us to the state tournament at Oakland Community College April 27 and 28,” said Thuemmel.

Two of the Chippewa competitors came home with finalist trophies at the Best of the West Invitational. Emily Thomas was very strong with a third place effort in Sales, and Haley Johnson had a fourth place finish in Extemporaneous.

“Emily Thomas showed nice improvement this past weekend,” said Thuemmel. “That is going to give her some confidence heading into the regional and state meets.”

Thuemmel also praised Johnson for her steady performances over the season.

“Haley has had a very solid season and has been consistently at the top of each tournament that we have been to this year,” said Thuemmel. “She has held her own against the best competitors in the state.”

Blade Gates who has turned in some high finishes during the year was a semifinalist by placing 11th in Storytelling.

“This year Blade has tried some less traditional material,” said Thuemmel. “Although he is not winning all the awards he did last year at this point, I think his new material has really stretched him as a performer. He keeps getting better and better.”

Other students who competed at the invitational for Manistee were Kyle Carter who was 15th in Prose, while Sarah Sheathelm was 16th in Informational. Zach Weber finished 20th in Dramatic Interpretation and Macie Goodspeed was 21st in Poetry.

The week before that competition the Manistee team made its first ever visit to the Walled Lake Western Warrior Tournament. Manistee brought home a second place trophy from that tournament.

“Over 30 schools competed in this tournament and some events had 45 students competing, so this was a big tournament, but it was a great way for our kids to improve,” said Thuemmel. “We actually tied for first place in the small school division, but took second on the team tiebreaker.”

Haley Johnson was a finalist and finished in fifth place in the Extemporaneous, while Angelina Sam finished 13th in Storytelling 9/10.

Also competing were Emily Thomas who was 13th in Sales, while Macie Goodspeed finished 17th in Poetry and Sarah Sheathelm was 22nd in Informative. Zach Weber took 24th in Dramatic Interpretation, Hope MIller was 24th in Broadcasting and Kyle Carter was 30th in Prose.

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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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