After placing first at Hillsboro, second at Moundridge, and winning the Heart of America League tournament at Centre, a troupe of Marion High School forensics students will compete against students from 46 3A schools Saturday at the state speech and drama championships in Wichita.
Each student will perform in three rounds. The top 12 students will progress to the semifinals in each event, and only six of the highest-rated students progress to finals.
With Marion students ranking in the top six for the past 19 years, Coach Janet Killough said her team expectations are high.
“I ask them to give 100 percent — the best they have,” Killough said. “I can’t ask them for anything more, and I won’t accept anything less. I couldn’t ask for better students.”
She said she is proud of the way the team represents Marion, and how they support each other with heartwarming enthusiasm.
“After working with seniors for four years, I always know what their talents and capabilities are, but with freshmen, it is always a surprise,” Killough said. “We are losing some good seniors this year, but we have gained some amazing freshmen.”
Logging eight tournaments and hosting a 20-team tournament, Killough said the largest difficulty the team has faced this year has been scheduling, she said.
“In a school the size of MHS, the students are involved in so many different activities,” she said. “We have 25 on the team, and it takes everyone to win a tournament. It’s difficult to find a tournament they are available. We simply do the best we can when sharing students.”
She said the state competition is unlike any sports competitions in the way that it is officiated.
“It sometimes comes down to whether the judge is a fan of a certain author or just doesn’t like the cutting or piece,” Killough said.
Seniors Elizabeth Meyer and Adam Kjellin will perform in improvised duet acting (IDA).
Meyer also will perform a solo humorous piece called “I’m Mean to My Kids.”
Other IDA entrants are juniors Nathan Baldwin and Mason Pedersen; Cade Harms, a junior and Grant Leffler, a sophomore; and Jeremy Hett, a junior, and Colin Williams, a sophomore.
Shyla Harris, a senior, will perform a prose piece called “Junie B. Jones and That Meanie.”
Junior Tori Boyd and Williams will perform a duet called “Sure Thing,” and Boyd will perform a poetry piece called “Madam La Marquise.”
Aiden Cairns will perform an informative speech titled “The Effects of an EMP Attack.”
Freshmen Luisa Junqueira and Sam Kelsey will team up for a duet called “Ditzies.” Junqueira also will contend in humorous solo acting with a piece called “Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth,” while Kelsey will perform a serious prose piece titled “Speak.”
Jarred Rahe will perform a prose piece.
The tournament starts at 8 a.m. at Wichita-East High School, 2301 E. Douglas Ave.