New Castle High School speech team members who participated in the 56th annual home tournament Saturday at NCHS are (from left) Corwin Marcum, Samantha Hittson, Emily Ferrell, Lilly Hopkins, Jamie Cooper, Nadia Thurman, Alexa Helms, Nicholas Taylor and Jaclyn Mixell. (Lisa Perry / C-T photo)
New Castle High School took fifth place Saturday at its own 56th annual speech tournament. Nearly 400 students from 18 high schools attended.
Placing for New Castle were junior Samantha Hittson, third in Versatility; junior Emily Ferrell, fourth in Poetry; junior Jamie Cooper, sixth in Prose; senior Alexa Helms, second in Prose; sophomore Nicholas Taylor, fifth in U.S. Extemporaneous; and sophomore Corwin Marcum, third in U.S. Extemporaneous. Also, in Original Performance, sophomore Lilly Hopkins placed fifth and junior Nadia Thurman placed third.
Despite finishing third in U.S. Extemp, Taylor said his first round "wasn't so great today."
"We got momentum as the day went on," he said.
Coach Susan Delay said the Versatility event made a comeback after years of not being offered. Versatility is advantageous because each participant performs four separate events during the day, driving up team point totals. Versatility participants are also scrutinized more intensely, with three judges per round rather than the traditional one judge. Team member Hittson, also National Forensic League president, placed third overall in the event, with interpretation, impromptu, poetry, and declamation presentations.
Rounding out other top team sweepstakes were (in order from first place), Noblesville, Canterbury Ft. Wayne, Middletown Ohio, Perry Meridian, Connersville, Richmond, Muncie Burris, Shelbyville, Rushville and Homestead. Though New Castle placed fifth, tradition dictates the hosting team decline its trophy, Delay said.