Apple Valley High School speech and debate team poses with their trophies.
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For the fifth year in a row, Eagan High School was named one of the top-10 Schools of Outstanding Distinction and Apple Valley and Eastview high schools were two of the top-20 Speech Schools of Excellence at the National Speech and Debate Tournament June 16-21 in Dallas. Apple Valley students and coaches (pictured) also brought home the tournament’s top trophy, the Bruno E. Jacob Award, for winning the greatest number of cumulative rounds in main events at the national tournament.

Eagan earned the School of Outstanding Distinction honor based on the number of rounds of competition their students completed in both speech and debate events, while the Speech Schools of Excellence were recognized for the rounds of competition completed by their students in just the speech events.

Each event started with approximately 250 competitors. Of the 20 Eagan students who qualified for the national tournament, two were semifinalists (top 14), eight were quarterfinalists (top 30) and five were octofinalists (top 60). Eastview had 13 students qualify for the national tournament and four were finalists (top six), one was a quarterfinalist and three were octofinalists. Of the nine Apple Valley students who qualified for the national tournament, five were finalists, two were semifinalists and one was an octofinalist.

Uzo Ngwu of Apple Valley was the top finisher from District 196, finishing runner-up in oral interpretation. The other four finalists from Apple Valley all took third place: Halima Badriin original oratory, Semaj Lee in dramatic interpretation, Liza Rotty in oral interpretation and Ceceilia Voss in informative speaking. Apple Valley’s Jessica Connors took 10thplace in humorous interpretation, Laurel Carter took 13thplace in dramatic interpretation and Abigail Brachio was an octofinalist in informative speaking.

Finalists from Eastview were the teams of Jordan Adams and Joseph Mayer, and Campbell Bernstein and Jake Lieder, who finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in duo interpretation. Other top finishers from Eastview were Allison Hering, a quarterfinalist in U.S. extemporaneous speaking, and octofinalists Mai Matsuhashi in original oratory, Veeravikash Giritharan in U.S. extemporaneous speaking and Maxwell Schaefer in international extemporaneous speaking.

The Eagan team of Ayush Patel and Jason Scheller finished eighth in public forum debate. Eagan students who earned quarterfinalist finishes were Grant Davis and Madeline Bergh in congressional debate (House), Nathan LoPresto and Chayla Velander in duo interpretation, Audrey Parker and Claire Nelson in humorous interpretation, Julia Sexton in informative speaking and Sourish Kundu in international extemporaneous speaking. The five octofinalists from Eagan were Trinh Nguyen in dramatic interpretation, John Flanagan in humorous interpretation, Isabelle Hopewell in oral interpretation, Carter Starkey in informative speaking and Sanjana Krishnamurthy in original oratory.

Of the 43 District 196 students who qualified for the national tournament, 31 had top-60 finishes, including nine finalists, four semifinalists, nine quarterfinalists and nine octofinalists.

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