Tyrone Wins Spring Speech Competition to Cap Undefeated Season

Central PA Speech League members

The Tyrone Speech Team earned the overall team trophy at the annual spring speech tournament on Wednesday, April 13. The win completed Tyrone’s sweep of the Central PA Speech League for the second year in a row.

Tyrone also came home with six of the eight personal awards.

Tyrone senior Mario Grugan came in first place winning Best Overall Speech for his recitation of William Matthews’ poem “Mingus at the Showplace”.

Grugan chose the poem he did as he had much success with it during Poetry Out Loud.

“It’s been a while since I’ve pulled off a win [for speech team],” said Grugan. “But, it’s nice to be back on top.”

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled off a win [for speech team] but it’s nice to be back on top”

— Mario Grugan

Sophomore Alysa Wheland won Best Senior High Speech for her oration of an excerpt from Ellen DeGenres’ book, Seriously… I’m Kidding titled “What Would Jesus Do?”

“I have won this award in all three speech team meets this year, and this is my fourth-second place finish of the year. It’s a bit disappointing to continuously be so close to winning, yet not win,” said Wheland. “At least I’m consistent.”

Junior Marley Grazier won Best Senior High Poetic Oration for her interpretation of “Totally Like Whatever, You Know?” by Taylor Mali.

“I took some time off because of covid and other activities, but I really enjoyed being back,” said Grazier. “Winning was a great perk especially since I felt so strongly about the topic.”

Junior Lydia Seltzer won Best Senior High Humorous Speech for her speech titled, “Facts Everyone Should Know.” Seltzer’s speech included a list of 29 fun facts about various topics.

“I was at a loss for what to present at the Spring Meet. The idea of fun facts randomly popped in my head and I ran with it,” said Seltzer. “After giving my speech, I received so many compliments on how interesting it was, and a lot of people really enjoyed it.”

Juniors Gabriella Hoffman and Ashlynn McKinney tied for the Best Senior High Serious Speech. Hoffman performed “Explaining My Depression To My Mother” by Sabrina Benaim, while McKinney performed “Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth.

On the junior high side, Freshman Lily Whited won the Best Junior High Serious Speech for her oration of “One Day It Will Be Over” by Fearless Motivation.

TAHS speech team adviser and former English teacher, Leah Deskevich, was very proud of her team’s success.

“We’ve got a good group of great speakers. I’m not surprised they’ve done so well,” said Deskevich.

Not only did the team compete well as individuals, with six out of nine members winning an award, but the team competed well as a whole, winning the team trophy for having an average score of 56.4 out of 64 total possible points.

Tyrone’s competing members for this meet included: Freshman Lily Whited, Sophomore Alysa Wheland, Juniors Lydia Seltzer, Gabriella Hoffman, Marley Grazier, and Ashlynn McKinney, and Seniors Arianna Reader and Mario Grugan.

The spring meet was co-advisor Ms. Gabby McLaren’s last meet with the team, as she left the district for a new job.

I took some time off because of covid and other activities, but I really enjoyed being back. “Winning was a great perk especially since I felt so strongly about the topic”

— Marley Grazier

“I will miss Miss McLarren’s perspective and assistance next year, and I wish her well in her future endeavors,” said Deskevich.

The Central PA Speech League consists of three schools: Tyrone, Williamsburg, and Juniata Valley.

At the actual competition, competitors are broken up into random groups of four or five students and are placed in a room with a judge, typically a teacher or facility member from the hosting school.

The judges for this competition were Tyrone’s Dean of Students Lucas Rhoades, public speaking teacher Rebecca Barlett, social studies teacher Todd Cammarata, and criminal justice professor at Mount Aloysius College and Tyrone Alum, Dr. Nathan Kruis.

Participants are judged based on the following categories: their introduction, volume, expression, speed, pronunciation, eye contact, poise, and appearance

In most competitions, whether athletic or academic, coaches are able to see all participants perform, but this is not the case for the speech team. The coaches do not see any of the speeches, with the exception of the top three winning speeches, two of which were from Tyrone speakers.

Anyone who is interested in joining the speech team next year should talk to a current member or contact the speech team advisor, Mrs. Leah Deskevich.