Speech and Debate Students Qualify for PHSSL State Tournament

Eighteen members of the Shady Side Academy Senior School Speech and Debate Team competed in the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL) District Qualifier competition at Pine-Richland High School on Saturday, Feb. 22.

The SSA team ranked third in District 2 for accumulating points in the entire event, and seven students qualified to compete in five events at the PHSSL State Tournament, held at Bloomsburg University on March 13-14:

  • Senior Akshay Amesur (Informative Speaking)
  • Freshman Nichole Poltinnikov (Lincoln Douglas Debate)
  • Senior Max Minard (Humorous Interpretation)
  • Senior Giri Viswanathan (Senate)
  • Senior Jack Thornton, senior Alison Linares and sophomore Anish Kushumanchi (Parliamentary Debate)

Sophomore Crystal Ma qualified as the first alternate for Prose, and senior Ahmer Shaikh is the first alternate for Senate. Sophomores Karen Linares Mendoza and Maura Offstein competed in the final round of Poetry and sophomore Riley Doyle competed in the final round of Humorous Interpretation but did not advance to states.

Additionally, three SSA teams contributed to the Sweepstakes win: freshmen Thea Conomikes and Morgan Golden (Duo Interpretation), sophomores Emmie Jordan and Vanessa Han (Public Forum debate) and sophomore Anker Zhao and junior Qingqing Zhao.

Thank you to SSA parents Rong Cao, Julie Golden, Vidya Krishnaswamy, Ken Ma, Elizabeth Mendoza, Diane Minard and Igor Poltinnikov for their help judging this event.

Congratulations to the students and to Speech and Debate coaches Mary Krauland and Jacki Weaver! Good luck at the state tournament!

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