Jul 28, 2014
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Millburn Forensics Team Excels at State, District Comps

Team finishes fourth overall.

Millburn Forensics Team Excels at State, District Comps Millburn Forensics Team Excels at State, District Comps Millburn Forensics Team Excels at State, District Comps

The Millburn High School Forensics team traveled to The College of New Jersey to participate in the New Jersey Forensics League State Championships last month and had a stellar performance.

Out of the 400-plus competitors from 29 schools to have participated, the team had a finals closeout in one event, a champion in another, and breaks in many others. These achievements boosted Millburn to fourth place in overall team sweepstakes.

The team enjoyed its greatest victory in the Varsity Public Forum event, where the finals round was closed out by two Millburn teams: seniors Nathaniel Schwamm and Luke Tolman, and seniors Eli Schechner and Matt Goodman.

“It was very exciting to win the Public Forum State Championship and it was also really amazing to win alongside my fellow teammates,” said Tolman. “I look forward to competing at the Tournament of Champions next month.”

After having eluded them last year when Schwamm and Tolman lost in the finals, they enjoyed a personal victory at finally winning the States Championship title.

"I had a great time competing," said Schechner. "We were extremely happy to have advanced from semis, and when we learned that we broke into finals with Schwamm and Tolman it really completed the tournament for us."

Also winning first place was senior Tiffany Li, who was crowned champion in the Varsity Lincoln Douglas event after a tough finals round, where she won by a 2-1 decision

With three champions in two events, Millburn ended as the second place debate team, overall.

The speech category also met with enormous success.

In the lead was Senior Chase Harrison, who not only ended as the Champion in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, but also finished third in Original Oratory.

Fellow Senior Original Orator Lily Blumkin finished sixth place in the same event.

“The state title has eluded MHS extempers for 10 years now,” reflected Champion Chase Harrison. “I had gotten 2nd place three times, so finally winning gave me the perfect closure to my NJ extemp career. It was also amazing to appear in the Oratory final with my teammate and friend Lily Blumkin.”

The Millburn Forensics Team also had two Declamation Speakers break into semifinals: freshmen Isabella Waung and sophomore Elizabeth Gray.

“I’m pretty happy that I made it to the semi-finals because the competition was very tough,” said Waung. “I was going up against some of the best Declamation speakers in the state, so I’m pleased that I made it so far.”

“I’m extremely excited to have gotten into semi-finals,” added fellow semifinalist Elizabeth Gray. “The speakers I was competing against were amazing, so I accomplished more than I expected. I’m glad to have ended my year on a good note.”

Finally, Senior Anish Naik finished as a finalist in Congressional Debate, successfully representing Millburn in that event.

"I'm really glad to have been part of States," said Naik. "I made it pretty far, and had a great time getting there. Personally, I'd like to have advanced a bit further, but I had a great experience, nonetheless."

"With states it was a good experience." reflected Head Coach Edison Sanon. "It was the first time we had our full squad in one place competing and it showed me that had they done this through the year we could be a real force. Before this team I had not had a state champion, yet that day I had four, including the co-champs in PF. The co champs in PF was something I was following all weekend, since I was the first to see the results. Luke Nathaniel Matt and Eli worked hard to reach the top and it was great to see them close their state careers this way.

"I was very happy for Chase," added Sanon. "I was in Millburn for his first three runner up finishes, and I knew he was not going to be denied his senior year. He even considered moving to International Extemp before finally making the right choice. Tiffany Li was a big surprise since she had not competed much, but things fell into place, and she is down in history as a State Champion."

Many competitors at States also went on to participate at Districts. Moving on from the first day of eliminations included Lincoln Douglas competitors Andrew Ahn, Public Forum teams Luke Tolman and Nathaniel Schwamm, Cole Bond and Ben Dantowitz, and Dylan Boyd and Zach Vinik. The speech contingent included Senior Andrew Singer, Duo Interpretation partners Jake Gluckman and Jen Jacobs, and Extemporaneous Speaker Sophia Deng. All competitors had successful results, but Sophia Deng, who ended third in International Extemporaneous Speaking, will compete at the national tournament in Kansas .

"Districts was another surprise with Sophia," said Sanon. "She has been so up and down all year but finally seemed to figure it out in the last month or so. The results finally went her way and in the finals, she had to fend off three other Ridge kids to get the final spot. I am very proud of her fight to get to the top."

Submitted by Millburn Township Public Schools

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