Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Three qualify for national speech contest

Swedes win sweepstakes, leading chapter award

Sara Picci, an exchange student from Italy, arrived in Gothenburg in July to stay with Brad and Lisa Jorgenson.


Picci claims she didn’t know English well.


After joining the Gothenburg High School speech team as a novice (first-year competitor), Picci won nearly every meet in her events which were extemporaneous and persuasive speaking.

That talent culminated Saturday at a three-day “Hole in the Wall” tournament in Cheyenne, WY, a regional qualifying tourney for the National Forensic League national tournament in June in Kansas City.

There, Picci joined teammates Carlin Daharsh and Abbie Mazour in being chosen to compete in the national meet.

Picci and Daharsh will compete in original oratory and Mazour in dramatic interpretation.

“I couldn’t imagine I’d compete at that level,” Picci said about first joining speech.

Once her name was announced as a national competitor, she said she thought: “Oh my gosh, they said my name in the right way.”

With the win, Picci (pronounced “Peachy”) said she now gets to stay in the United States another month before returning home to Italy.

“I can go to the lake,” she said excitedly.

On Saturday, the Swedes were also the sweepstakes team champion and received a plaque.

Gothenburg was also recognized as the leading chapter, for accumulated points, based on each year’s membership and degrees given during the speech season. They received another plaque.

Degrees are advancements in NFL competition.

Speech coach Dan Jensen said NFL members receive points for how well they do at regular-season meets.

“This accumulates over the years until our chapter has the highest number of points in the district,” Jensen said. “ It’s kind of a longevity award but the more active and large a chapter is, the more often they reach the top. “

The plaque recognizes the time span from 1934, the start of the NFL, to 2014.

However the Swedes have only been part of the NFL for 11 years, since 2003.

Jensen said he was pleased with the team’s performance at the three-day meet.

“This contest is a marathon,” he said. “Over the three days, the kids remained focused and energized and the ones who were eliminated from contest stayed involved and supported the team.”

Swedes who competed, their events and how they ranked in each round follows:

Duo interpretation

Kayla Trevino and Drake Langley— 4, 3, 1, 2 (finals)

Drake Brand and Brett Mann—3, 5 , 4

Rachel Rice and Betsy Potter—4, 4

Sara Picci and Alayna Collins—5, 5

Dramatic interpretation

Abbie Mazour—1, 1, 2, 1, 1 (finals, national qualifier)

Carlin Daharsh—1, 2, 1, 1, 2 (finals)

Ashley Wilkerson—5, 3, 1, 2, 4 (semifinals)

Betsy Potter—1, 1, 4, 5

Humorous interpretation

Abbie Mazour—4, 1, 3, 2, 4 (semifinals)

Rachel Rice—3, 2, 3, 5, 4 (semifinals)

Dylan France—4, 2, 2, 4

Brett Mann—1, 4, 5

U.S. extemporaneous speaking

Ashley Wilkerson—2, 1, 1, 3, 1, 3 (finals)

International extemporaneous speaking

Kayla Trevino—2, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1 (finals)

Roman Schmidt—4, 3, 3, 2, 3, 4 (semifinals)

Original Oratory

Carlin Daharsh—1, 1, 1, 2, 2 (finals, national qualifier)

Sara Picci—2, 2, 3, 2, 3 (finals, national qualifier)

Alayna Collins— 2, 4, 1, 5

Dylan France—3, 3, 4, 5

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