R-P Speech Team competes at John Marshall Invite


The Rushford-Peterson Speech Team at the John Marshall Invite last Saturday. Front row (L-R): Leah Himlie, Zenessa Anderson, Ayla McNeill, and Avalon Jacobson. Back row: Cora Bauer, Lauren Lawston, Isabelle Olson, Skye Church, Breena Pehler, Cole Knutson.

It is that time of year for speech teams to start competing, and Rushford-Peterson’s Speech Team season has officially started.  On Saturday, Feb. 9, 10 members of the speech team traveled to John Marshall High School in Rochester to compete. Only a few of the members competed due to the other activities taking place the same day, as well as the One Act Play just recently ending.

This was a large contest with 22 schools competing from Class A to Class AAA size schools. There were 372 students competing in the 13 different categories. This was a nice contest for novice competitors as well as those who have been on the team since it is early in the season, and for most teams this was anywhere from their first, second, or third contest of the year. Many students were on the same level, especially with all the weather issues interfering with practice schedules. It was a great tournament for novice members since they competed with all levels, but these students received their own awards and recognition, so it was the same as having two contests at the same time.

The members of the Rushford-Peterson Speech Team participating consisted of Cora Bauer, Skye Church, Cole Knutson, Lauren Lawston, Leah Himlie, Avalon Jacobson, Ayla McNeill, Isabelle Olson, Zenessa Anderson, and Breena Pehler. For some of these members, it was also a first for them to compete in different categories than normal or even to be double entered to try new categories. Many of these participants are members of Mrs. Michel’s College Speech class who are required to attend two speech contests as a part of the class. Some competitors were both regular speech team members as well college speech members, so they were participating in different categories than their normal category. That was what was great about the contest; it was for many novice individuals as well as those who wanted to try something new.

Even with most categories having anywhere from 30-40 competitors, R-P did well. Three members placed in the medals for their various events. The top three medal results are as follows: In the novice category, Cora Bauer placed sixth in Original Oratory, which is a persuasive category. In the varsity level, Zenessa Anderson placed sixth in storytelling, and Leah Himlie placed sixth in Great Speeches. All of the members received some good feedback on how to make improvements for future tournaments.

They gave out team sweepstake awards for both large schools and small schools, which was decided on how many students each team brought to compete. Large school winners were Winona Cotter, first; Cannon Falls, second; and Northfield, third. Small school winners were Rochester John Marshall, first; Rochester Century, second; and Red Wing, third. Rushford-Peterson tied for 15th place out of the 22 schools. 

The speech team will have contests every Saturday through April 13. The next tournament is at Wabasha-Kellogg on Saturday, Feb. 23. All tournaments are free and open to the public. Rushford-Peterson will be hosting its own tournament on Saturday, March 9.