Students qualify to states

By Emily Vossen, Entertainment Editor — The Speech and Debate team has much to celebrate after receiving their best scores of the year at the Canton Ohio High School Speech League (OHSSL) District.

“This year we currently have 14 students competing at the State Finals to be held in March in Youngstown,” Speech and Debate coach Tom Mosberger said.

Senior, Sarah Yannone, has been a member of Speech and Debate for four years and is one of 14 state qualifiers.

“Being a state qualifier to me means that I am that much closer to reach my ultimate goal: placing in the top six at the state tournament,” Yannone said.

Yannone’s Speech and Debate category is Original Oratory with her teammate, junior Maria Vonortas.

Yannone has also qualified for states her freshman and junior years. Last year at the state tournament, she finished as a quarter finalist and was placed in the top 24 in the state.

“It is so rewarding to know that practice had paid off and will hopefully continue to pay off as I finish my final season of high school speech,” Yannone said.

Seniors, Malcolm Guy and Megan Lee, partners in there category Public Forum Debate, made states as well.

“Being a state qualifier allows me to represent my hard work, my school, my team and myself in a professional and respected manner,” Lee said.

Guy is equally proud of making states.

“I’m proud to say that we were the first Public Forum Debate team in the Canton area to pre-qualify to states,” Guy said.

The OHSSL instituted a new bid system this year where competitors are rewarded with a bid toward the State tournaments every time one finishes a tournament in the top few places. Once a student earns four bids, they were pre-qualified to the state tournament. Lee and Guy received four bids and were pre-qualified which meant they did not have to compete at the District Tournament.

“Megan and I qualified on Jan. 3 after earning second place at the Canfield Kiwanis Speech and Debate tournament, which was our fourth bid,” Guy said.

Lee and Guy have been placed in the top 10 Public Forum Debate teams at 24 different Speech and Debate teams over the last four years, including winning Canton District Champions twice. They also received five bids this season in Public Forum Debate.

The OHSSL State Finals will be held in Youngstown on March 6 and March 7.

[Updated Aug. 10, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]