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Perrysburg Schools News Article

Speech & Debate Team Season ends with State Champion and 8 National Qualifiers

The 2020-21 Speech and Debate “Quaranteam" has excelled more than any other team in the Chapter’s 21-year history while under these challenging circumstances. They have competed from their bedrooms and basements with no trips to the stage for trophies or applause. They have not seen their coaches in person or experienced the exhilaration that comes with daylong competitions with hundreds of other students. What they have had is countless grueling hours online, battling technology that did not always comply and performing to a camera instead of an audience.

This season has been one like no other, completely virtual but more competitive due to the ability of the team to now “travel” anywhere in the state and beyond. This gave team members the ability to compete in 17 virtual tournaments from October to March. The result was a record-breaking season, 11 students advancing to quarters at the State Finals, 7 in semi-finals and 2 to the final round, which ultimately earned Hanan Sjah a state championship with a first-place score from judges representing each of the 7 districts in the state. Due to this outstanding performance by the entire team at the virtual Ohio State Speech and Debate Finals, Perrysburg was recognized for the first time as a “School of Excellence in Rhetoric.”

This season will conclude at the National Speech and Debate tournament to be held virtually June 13-19, 2021. The Perrysburg team will advance 8 students representing Western Ohio in the National Speech and Debate tournament. Perrysburg’s previous record for National Qualifiers was 4 students 2006 and 4 students in 2009.

Senior Hanan Sjah: Team Co-President, 4-year State Qualifier, National Qualifier 2020 in Original Oratory, NSDA Academic All American, Declamation State Champion 2021 and Phyllis Barton Award for most 1’s in a state category. During the season, Hanan earned seven tournament championships and two second places. Hanan’s performance is a speech written by Nora McInerny: “We don’t move on from grief. We move forward with it.”

Senior Linzy Taylor: Team Co-President, 3-year State Qualifier, First Alternate to Nationals in 2021 in Program of Oral Interpretation and 2021 National Tournament Supplemental Qualifier in Prose. Linzy was 8th in the 2021 State Finals with her Program of Oral Interpretation titled “Dear America.”

Junior Bella Aromas: Incoming Team President for 2021-22 season, 3-year State Qualifier, National Qualifier in Congressional Debate representing Western Ohio in the House and 11th in the State in United States Extemporaneous Speaking.

Junior Merritt Backus: Incoming Team Vice President for the 2021-2022 season, NSDA Academic All American, 3-year State Qualifier, National Qualifier in Duo Interpretation in 2019, National Qualifier in Humorous Interpretation in 2021 and 11th in the State in Humorous Interpretation performing “Regina Fletcher wins the Science Fair” by Marco Ramirez.

Junior Dakota Bach: 3-year State Qualifier and National Qualifier in Duo Interpretation in 2019 and in 2021. Dakota along with partner Max Baca were 8th in the State with their performance with the dramatic duo “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Junior Yasmine Maklad: 3-year State Qualifier and 2021 National Tournament Supplemental Qualifier in Expository.

Junior Rowan Creps: first year State Qualifier, 2021 National Qualifier in Drama Interpretation and Quarter Finalist at State Tournament with her performance “Desert Grace” by Stacy Parshall.

Junior Sydney Rettig: 3-year State Qualifier and Quarter Finalist in Declamation at the 2021 State Tournament with her performance of “Crossing the Fine Line” by Melissa Gerber.

Sophomore Max Baca: 2-year State Qualifier and National Qualifier in Duo Interpretation. Max along with partner Dakota Bach were 8th in the State with their performance with the dramatic duo “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Sophomore Andy Chung: 2-year State Qualifier, National Qualifier in International Extemporaneous Speaking and 7th at the State Tournament Final Round making him the youngest state finalist in the Perrysburg chapter history.

Sophomore Nikhil Methi: 2-year State Qualifier and Quarter-Finalist at the State Tournament with his performance of “What I learned from 100 days of rejections” by Jia Jiang.

Sophomore Anna Dawley: 2-year State Qualifier and Quarter-Finalist in Congressional Debate at the State Tournament.

Sophomore James Xiao: 2-year State Qualifier. James Dramatic Interpretation was entitled “Special” by Jake Barton.

Also competing in tournaments this season were Jerrick Ban, Andy Engelhart, Evan Leong and Mason Reisinger.

The team is coached by Debra Kemp and assistant debate coach Alex Leong. Jennifer Lake, Rick Rettig and Dr. Melissa Miller bring their talents and expertise to the team as parent coaches and tournament judges.

Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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