Free State wins second consecutive state speech championship; Lawrence High takes 6th

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Free State and Lawrence high school speech students have big reasons to celebrate: Both teams had students crowned state champions in events Saturday.

The Free State Firebirds won the overall Class 6A State Speech Championship for the second year in a row.


With a team total of 415 points, they bested the second-place finishers’ score of 280 by 135 points, according to coach Kelly Thompson.

The Lawrence High School team came in sixth place overall, even without a full state entry, coach Jeff Plinsky tweeted.

Lawrence High’s Gretchen Bannwarth is state champion in Prose Interpretation and second in Poetry Interpretation. Connor Ireland took sixth in Dramatic Interpretation.

Jeff Plinsky/@LHS_DB8_4N6 The Lawrence High Lions took sixth place overall in the Class 6A State Speech Championship on May 1, 2021.

Thompson said via email Saturday that Free State had 18 events competing, and all Firebirds finished in the top 10 of their events.

“In the Speech events, Free State broke all 16 events to the semifinals – the first time in more than a decade that any 6A school has done so,” Thompson wrote. “12 of those events made it to the final round (Top 6); a school record!”

Thompson provided this list of Free State finalists:
Senior Timothy Huffman, STATE CHAMPION, Domestic Extemp
Senior Emily Bial, STATE CHAMPION, Program of Oral Interp
Junior Molly Roecker, STATE CHAMPION, Poetry
Sophomore Kady Bischman, 2nd Place, Domestic Extemp
Freshman Cella Allison, 2nd Place, Dramatic Interp
Freshman Sophie Racy, 2nd Place, Informative
Junior Ezra Joseph, 3rd Place, International Extemp
Senior Anton Santangelo, 3rd Place, Poetry
Sophomore Cici Hunter, 3rd Place, Program of Oral Interp
Senior Audri Gutierrez and Junior Abbey Hossler, 4th Place, Duo Interp
Sophomore Emma Hefty, 4th, Informative 
Senior Emily Bial, 5th Place, Humorous Interp

Semifinalists included: senior Timothy Huffman in Informative, sophomore Julia Ruddy in Dramatic Interp, sophomore Emma Hefty in Oratory, and freshman Cella Allison in Prose. In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, junior John Marshall finished in 2nd place, and senior Jacob Wilkus finished in 5th place. John is the first Firebird to ever compete in the state finals in LD Debate, Thompson wrote.

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