The Onamia High speech team’s season came to an end in early April after competing at the sectionals and having three speakers earn a trip to the state tournament.

Of the seven Onamia speakers who competed at the Section 7A tournament, six advanced to the final round with juniors David Jacobson, Rachel Praught and Ember Brandon qualifying for the state tournament.

As a team, Onamia finished sixth among the 19 schools who competed at sections.

Onamia’s three state qualifiers competed in the Class A State Speech Meet staged at Wayzata High on Friday, April 12.

Jacobson, taking part in his second state tournament, finished ninth in the category of Story Telling.

Praught finished 19th in her category of Drama, and Brandon was 21st in Original Oratory.

Six boys and girls on the OHS speech team traveled to the Twin Cities early and stayed in a hotel in Plymouth because of an impending snowstorm scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Asked about that staying-overnight experience, Brandon said, “It was like family bonding. We all got together and had fun.”

As for Jacobson’s experience, there was a slight lack of fun since he had dealt with a bad cold and cough and in his words had to “suck it up” when it was time for him to perform at State.

Praught mentioned how she could tell as soon as she heard some of the others give their speeches that she was among the best of the best in the state. “The competition was very fierce,” she said.

As for the high school speech experience as a whole, Brandon said, “I look at it as an opportunity to learn great life skills. We are going to have to speak in public sometime in our life after high school, and being in speech has given us the opportunity to do just that.”

Onamia speech coach Alicia Laughery said her team was a real pleasure to work with this season, and she was proud of the many prizes her team brought home throughout the year. “We had so many individuals do well at our meets,” she said.

Laughery mentioned in particular the only senior on team, Elizabeth Dickson. “Elizabeth was a conference champion in Creative Expression and placed first in four meets during the year. She was sick as she entered sub-sections and sections, so that hampered her performances, but she went on to perform like a real trouper.”

Top OHS speech finishes:

David Jacobson (Junior)

• First place in storytelling at seven meets throughout the season.

• Placed in storytelling, poetry and extemporaneous reading.

• Conference champion in storytelling.

• Subsection champion in storytelling.

• Second place at sections.

• Ninth place at state (second year at state)

Rachel Praught (Junior)

• Six first-place finishes in drama throughout the season.

• Conference champion in drama.

• Sub-section champion in drama.

• Section champion.

• State participant (second year at state)

Ember Brandon (Junior)

• GRC Champion in Original Oratory.

• Fourth at sub-sections in Original Oratory.

• Third at sections.

• State participant.

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