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Paynesville Press - April 9, 2003

Three PAHS speech students advance to state

By Michael Jacobson

Three students at Paynesville Area High School qualified for the state speech meet by placing in the top three in their respective events at the Section 5A speech meet on Saturday at Annandale.

Junior Peter Schreifels took first in serious interpretation of prose, junior Sami Tierney took first place in creative expression, and ninth grader Courtney Colbert took third place in serious interpretation of poetry.

Sami Tierney, Peter Schreifels, & Courtney Colbert They will compete at the state meet on Friday at Centennial High School in Circle Pines. Each of the 13 categories at state will include 24 students (the top three finishers from eight sections). They will compete in three preliminary rounds at state (being rated by three judges). The top eight in each category will advance to the finals (where three new judges rate each finalist).

Junior Sami Tierney, junior Peter Schreifels, and ninth grader Courtney Colbert have qualified for the state speech meet this week. Tierney and Schreifels took first place in their events at sections last weekend, while Colbert was third. The Class A meet will be held on Friday at Centennial High School in Circle Pines.

This same format was used at sections, to the benefit of Schreifels and Tierney, who both barely advanced to the finals and then took first place based on their final performance.

Schreifels - the son of Sandy and Randy Spanier and Bryan and Glory Schreifels - said his performance in the finals was his best of the day. "I love the finals," he explained, noting that it gives him extra confidence to reach that stage of the competition. "It's such a rush to be up there (among the final eight)."

A larger audience in the finals helped Tierney - the daughter of Charon Tierney and Dean Hanson. A large group of spectators entered just before she gave her final speech, which prompted her to be even more dramatic. "I love performing for people," she explained.

Tierney wrote her speech, which she describes as a humorous review of a school year as discussed by four students. She uses different voices for each of the four characters in her speech, titled "What's New with the Bailey Crew?"

Schreifels performs a piece of prose from a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Called "The Most Mature Thing I've Ever Seen," his speech details how a new girl breaks the cliques in a high school cafeteria.

Both Schreifels and Tierney were especially pleased to have beaten year-long rivals at the section tournament.

While Schreifels and Tierney benefited from the final round, Colbert performed better in the preliminary rounds. She was in first after these rounds but slipped to third in the finals. She said she was slightly disappointed about that but still pleased to qualify for state. She also said that she was nervous in the finals, partly because several family members were in the audience.

Colbert - the daughter of Cheryl and Roy Colbert - uses an excerpt from "Don Juan," an extremely long poem by Lord Byron. While many students in poetry perform more modern pieces, Colbert really uses a classical poem, said coach Joan Nevitt.

The finals were also disappointing for junior Melissa Andrie, who was trying to earn a second consecutive trip to the state speech meet. Andrie was first in discussion in all three preliminary rounds but finished sixth in the finals.

Ninth grader Amanda Kern also made the finals for PAHS at sections and placed seventh in extemporaneous reading.

The Bulldogs had ten students qualify for sections in speech. As a team, Paynesville finished sixth out of 24 schools. St. Cloud Cathedral was first, Milaca was second, and Buffalo Lake-Hector was third.

"I'm proud of the whole team," said Nevitt.

This is the second consecutive year that PAHS has sent students to compete at the state speech meet. Last year, junior Hannah Felling in discussion and Andrie in original oratory competed at the state meet. Felling took seventh, becoming the first PAHS student to place at state since 1983 when senior Andy Schuch was first in prose and senior Doug Jensen was fifth.

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