Speech Team Competes At State Tournament


Angela Hugunin, Emily Albert-Stauning, Tram Nguyen, Jonathan David, Josh Drucker, Jenna Herbrand, Brianna Sexton, Elsie Goren, and Atulya Reddy were this year’s state speech finalists.

Kendra Held, Sports Editor

On Friday, April 21st, while most students were relaxing at home on their day off, 22 Eagan speech team members competed at the state tournament at Apple Valley High School.

Coach Ben Anderson explains, ‘’Only three kids from each section can go. So ideally it’s the best three in each category.” This limitation on how many students can compete at state brings out the best of the best. Captain Jenna Herbrand elaborates, “You know everybody who’s there works really hard, and they all enjoy what they’re doing.”

In order to prepare for the state tournament, students spend hours practicing by themselves and with their coaches in order to make their speeches just right. Both Jenna Herbrand and junior Tram Nguyen agree that practice is key. Nguyen confides, “The state tournament this year was really rough for me. I rewrote a ton because I wasn’t feeling it, and I really wanted to do well. […] The week leading up to the state tournament, I stayed after school until 6 p.m. every single day, practicing and practicing. That’s not just me though. Other people put in extra effort as well, and it shows, especially for Eagan.” Between sections and state, it’s common for competitors to add something new to their piece, even changing up gestures, jokes, or wording in order to keep the speech fresh and engaging.

At state, each competitor competes in three preliminary rounds where they are critiqued and ranked by judges. These rankings determine which competitors advance to the final round, where they then perform their speech a fourth time for five judges.

Eagan had an impressive showing in the final rounds at state. Brianna Sexton placed 4th in storytelling, Emily Albert-Stauning placed 3rd in prose reading, Josh Drucker and Jenna Herbrand placed 3rd in duo interpretation, and Angela Hugunin placed 2nd in extemporaneous reading. Atulya Reddy placed 6th in great speeches, Elsie Goren placed 6th and Jonathan David placed 2nd in informative speaking, and Tram Nguyen placed 3rd in original oratory. Eagan tied for third place with Lakeville North in the team sweepstakes.

Coach Anderson reflects, “It’s bittersweet because for some kids it’s their last tournament ever, but when those kids succeed, it’s really nice to end the season […] on a really positive note.”