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Ashland High School takes state speech championship

Team sets a new record for points
 Posted: 8:45 PM April 27, 2010

Ashland High School won the State Speech Championship on April 24 at Western Oregon University.

Third year Coach Wendy Werthaiser cited a strong team effort for the victory.

"I am so proud of how our kids represent a city that supports them in so many different ways," Werthaiser said. "They represent Ashland with grace, humility and professionalism, which is not an easy task for adolescents that are as successful as they are."

Individual champions were Mack Conroy and Brandon Scheirman in Public Debate and Dante Toppo in Prose Reading.

Ashland won 5A and all divisions with a "tremendous number of sweepstakes points," according to Mike Walmark of the Oregon State Activities Association. Ashland earned 93 points topping 5A second place Silverton with 36 points, 6A champion Tigard with 56 points and small school champion North Valley with 43 points.

Ashland broke the record for the most points by any team since the six divisions were implemented. The previous record was held by Ashland's 2007 team with 83 points. That was the most recent team from Southern Oregon to win the State Speech Championship.

Conroy and Scheirman won the final round of public debate arguing that Oregon needs a sales tax to stabilize revenue. Toppo won prose with a selection from "Lord of the Flies."

Also of note was Alexander Barnes who advanced to elimination rounds in three events, poetry reading, original oratory and Lincoln Douglas debate, as a freshman.

Ashland students were in the finals of ten different events.

Seven novices joined 14 returning students at State.

Werthaiser brought in former Ashland standout and debate state champion Mat Marr as assistant coach this year.

"It was a pleasure to support Wendy's team-based approach this year," Marr said.

Werthaiser said the whole city earned this championship. "We are so grateful to the Ashland community and the school board for continued support for our program," she said. "Your support allows students to focus on excellence."

Celebrations of Ashland's victory will be announced soon.

Full AHS results

Listed below are the individual successes:

State Champions, Parli Debate — Brandon Scheirman/Mack Conroy

State Champion, Prose — Dante Toppo

2nd Place, Duo Interp — Emily Curty/Jeremy Huard

2nd Place, Policy Debate — Dante Toppo, Ryan Mills

3rd Place, Poetry — Tenaya Kenner

3rd Place, Radio — Elise Chow

3rd Place, After Dinner Speaking — Eli Youngs

Quarter-Finalist, LD Debate — Alexander Barnes

Finalist, After Dinner Speaking — Brandon Scheirman

Finalist, Expository Speaking — Maureen Page

Finalist, Dramatic Interp — Dante Toppo

Finalist, Poetry — Alexander Barnes

Finalist, Congress — Jericho Walker-Roberts

Best Speaker Nominee, Congress — Matthew Knudsen

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