Seniors Cody Schwartz and Brian Thoreson were crowned state champions in duo interpretation at Saturday’s Minnesota State High School League State Speech Contest held in Blaine.
The River Valley duo earned top honors from a field of 24 pairs representing each of eight sections. Prior to the final round featuring the category’s top eight performances, Schwartz and Thoreson were tied for first place, and after the final round, they received ranks of 1, 3 and 1, which allowed them to earn the top honors by one point over an excellent Fairmont duo who also represented our section in the tournament.
Two other River Valley speakers earned medalist honors.
Molly Dunn received her second medal in three state appearances finishing in fifth place. Prior to the final round, she was tied for first with prelim scores of 2, 1 and 1, and during the second preliminary round ranked higher than the ultimate state champion with whom she competed. As a sophomore, Molly can look forward to two more years of speech competition. Section 2A was well-represented in storytelling with Mankato Loyola providing a second-place finisher.
Senior Isaac Kirschstein scored first place in each of his preliminary rounds of original oratory, placing eighth after the final round of competition.
Rounding out the River Valley entries in the tournament were senior Brandon Roiger in informative speaking and senior Becky Roiger in original oratory.
Following the welcome home Saturday evening, the group of six medalists and state participants received warm greetings from several local classmates, parents, teaching staff, and other speech team members.
All state qualifiers had a chance to speak and credited the powerful relationships with team members and coaching staff that have been built throughout the past season.
Becky Roiger credited her speech team experience as an opportunity to grow in developing the ability to speak more confidently in a public situation.
Head coach Brianna Jensen and assistant coaches Darcy Hoyt and Cheryl Neidt congratulated an outstanding group of team-oriented seniors whose focus was on persistence and polish throughout the season, and they thanked the community and students for their support.