MARSHALL - For the Marshall High School speech team, 13 was a lucky number this weekend.
The Marshall High School speech team had 13 members qualify for state at the Section 2AA speech tournament at Mankato West High School on Saturday.
Heading to state are Billie Miller and Luke Schroeder and Josh Kerkaert and Danny West in duo, Bo Erickson in drama, Eric Deutz and Jeff Paskach in creative expression, Abby Surprenant in oratory, Jessica Oaxaca in extemporaneous reading, Daniel Merna in discussion, Cassaundra Krogen in great speeches, Aletta Arndt in prose and Nick Evans in extemporaneous speaking. State competition will be this Saturday at Chanhassen High School.
Pictured are the Marshall High School speech team members heading to state Saturday. Back row: Jeff Paskach, Daniel Merna, Eric Deutz, Bo Erickson, Luke Schroeder, Billie Miller, Nick Evans. Front row: Josh Kerkaert, Danny West, Cassaundra Krogen, Aletta Arndt, Jessica Oaxaca, Abby Surprenant.
Marshall also took second place in team sweepstakes, following behind Chanhassen.
Rick Purrington, MHS speech head coach, said that last year, Marshall only had four qualify for state.
"So we're really happy," Purrington said. "Our section is very tough, there's a number of metro schools in our section, such as Chanhassen, Chaska and Shakopee." Purrington said his team tries to see the metro schools as much as it can during the regular season, and to face them and hold its own is a "good feeling."
Several of the finalists are making a return trip to state, including Erickson, who is also a team captain. Erickson agreed with Purrington that the competition was tough.
"The final rounds in every category were just packed," he said. "We were all just confident in our speeches, so it helped."
Erickson's drama piece titled "Touch," tries to figure out the theory of religion versus science and put some meaning to it.
Purrington said it was great to see Surprenant, Erickson and Paskach qualify for state again as 2010 was the last time the three made the trip.
"It's also exciting to have a number of juniors and sophomores qualify, that bodes well for the future too," Purrington said.
Erickson said Marshall just came together as a team and traveled a lot longer this year, which paid off.
"This year was just fun again because we worked really hard," Erickson said, comparing this season to his freshman year when he last qualified for state.
Other MHS section finalists were: Meghan Carmody, informative, fourth place; Melissa Stassen, drama, fourth place; Taylor Besse, prose, fourth place; Taylor Moede, prose, sixth place, Grace Stewart, prose, eighth place; Dani Crowell, extemporaneous reading, fifth place; Meghan Lozinski, great speeches, sixth place, Jenny Homan, humorous, seventh place; Meghan Harmening, oratory, seventh place; Emily Mortier, storytelling, eighth place.