After working hard all season long, the time finally came for the Knight’s forensics team to head to the final States tournament. After coming in the top groups at regionals, the qualifying group consisted of six alternates and 23 competitors. The team left Thursday afternoon and spent the day at coach Paige Carrow’s old high school preparing for the tournament ahead. Bright and early on Friday morning, the team headed to Oakland Community College to compete. They all performed in three preliminary rounds to begin determining who would advance, and after a short night’s sleep, competed in the final preliminary round at 8:30 am Saturday morning. From there, there was a long, drawn out hour of stress in which the team awaited the much feared, yet anticipated, postings of the semifinalists. As each event was announced, cheers and screams were heard around the building as competitors learned their fate.
For some, postings was a relief as they moved on to the next round, but for others, their season ended there. “It’s always disappointing to not break, but Joey [my duo partner] and I were excited to have made it to state anyways and were happy with how we did,” said sophomore Riley Dominianni.
Among the Norrix semifinalists were sophomores Michaela Martin and Caila Chapman. Martin was a second year competitor in sales. “I learned a lot from my experience in Sales 9/10 my freshman year, which allowed me to perfect my piece for this year. I felt really great about making it to semis because my style is different than a lot of the other competitors, so I wasn’t sure how the judges would take it. I was happy that I was allowed to do it my way, and still break,” said Martin. Chapman was competing in Impromptu 9/10, one of the two 9/10 events of the year, meaning she only competed against underclassmen like herself. This is a great way for beginners to get some experience without being forced to compete against seniors who had been practicing for years.
There was a stampede of people as the semifinalists rushed off to their rounds and disappointed competitors split off to watch them perform. After the round, everyone regrouped and once again awaited postings, this time for finals. As the first two scrolls of yellow paper containing the list of finalists was walked up to the balcony, a rush of people ran to gather below and see what it was. A scream and a chant was heard from the Loy Norrix team as senior Anna Kushner was revealed as a finalist in oratory.
After waiting in angst and anxiety, the only posting left was multiple. Both multiples had already made it through semi-finals, and huddled together hoping they’d both make it. Finally, the fateful yellow paper was brought to the balcony and rolled over the edge. Both Knights’ multiples qualified. The Family Stone, who had won their regional, consisted of seniors Amarra Lyons, Grace Erway, Joseph Michael, Abby Guimond, sophomore Ella Ledbetter-Newton and freshmen Keegan Cameron and Kamryn Kimbrough. Blast from the Past, a regional finalist, contained seniors Drew Strand, Victor Moss, Henry Muscara and juniors Abby Hauke and Rebecca Thompson. In a first ever outcome, both Loy Norrix multiples beat out all competitors from Portage and Bloomfield schools, the past two years state champions, to make it to finals. Both teams ran to their room and began to file in to the lecture hall where they were performed, and were startled to find it full with over a hundred audience members. Blast from the Past performed first, and were greeted with tons of laughs, cheers and a standing ovation from their energetic, polished and overall incredible piece.
“Finals was really cool for me because we all knew it was the last time we’d be performing our piece in a competitive environment, so I feel like it was one of our best performances because we all gave it our all,” said captain Victor Moss.
After another multiple performed and the clapping died down, The Family Stone performed and left the audience in tears from their emotional piece, and were also greeted with a standing ovation. For some of the members on these two multiples, it was their last ever forensics round so the moment was bittersweet.
“The thought of leaving the friends I had just met and the sport I had just spent four years perfecting kind of crushed me, but looking forward I’m so excited to see what the next generation of captains and team members can do. Forensics really helped me develop as a person and I suggest it to anyone who’s interested,” said Family Stone captain Grace Erway.
A few hours later, awards began. Kushner, an incredibly talented public speaker, received second in the state, and was seen crying with joy. “After not placing in finals last year I felt I had some unfinished business at states. I didn’t have the strongest season so I felt my dream to make finals again was already dying. So I was ecstatic getting to semis and finals and second place is more than I could ever have hoped for. My speech this year is so personal to me and I just wanted to do it justice, ” said Kushner.
Then it was time for multiples. Holding hands, they all filed to the front of the gym, where The Family Stone was presented with a fourth place trophy, and Blast from the Past was given third. It was an overall accomplishment for the Knights, who as a whole won seventh place in the state out of twenty-eight schools.