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Hillsdale’s speech team saw some sur­prising results at the Michigan Inter­col­le­giate Speech League’s state cham­pi­onship this past weekend.
The team failed to put finalists in several events in which Hillsdale stu­dents have usually suc­ceeded.

“Our really strong suits — per­suasion, after dinner speaking, and impromptu — weren’t rep­re­sented, and then tra­di­tionally what we’ve not been as strong in, we had a strong showing in,” said Matthew Warner, the team’s coach and assistant director of forensics and debate.
Junior Anna Wun­derlich, a novice on the team, made it to finals in prose inter­pre­tation for the first time, where she took sixth place, also winning top novice in the event.
By breaking into finals, Wun­derlich qual­ified to compete in the national tour­nament. Warner said this was the last tour­nament where she would have had a chance to qualify and was the
hardest.
“She had never been a finalist in prose until this weekend, and this is the most com­pet­itive tour­nament yet,” he said.

Wun­derlich said prose inter­pre­tation involves selecting a piece of lit­er­ature and pre­senting it in a dra­matic way.
“It’s not quite like acting it out, but it’s similar,” she said.
Warner said Wun­derlich has made a con­tinued effort over the season to improve her piece until it was good enough to qualify.

“She kept working and working and working,” he said. “She didn’t give up.”
Freshman Erin Graham took sixth in poetry inter­pre­tation, also winning top novice. The pre­vious weekend, Graham had won first in poetry at another tour­nament.
Junior Ian Fury won third place in extem­po­ra­neous. Wun­derlich also won top novice in extem­po­ra­neous, and freshman Keyona Shabazz won top novice in impromptu.
Because this tour­nament was one of the most dif­ficult so far, Warner said he was thrilled at the novices’ success, despite being sur­prised that nobody made it to finals in per­suasion, impromptu, or after dinner speaking.
“Did we do as well as we expected? Not really. Are we really happy with how we did? Yes,” he said.