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
“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.