By ABBY SLANKER
Channeling the London Olympics, the Canfield High School Speech and Debate Team hosted its annual tournament Jan. 5, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Western Mahoning County.
Coach Jeremy Hamilton led a high-energy awards ceremony, while sticking with the Olympics theme. Each school was introduced during a video which likened the Opening Ceremonies.
On stage was a podium with first, second and third-place spots for the winners where they stood while receiving their trophies. Each top winner was awarded a medal and a bouquet of flowers. The top six students in each of the 12 events were recognized for their outstanding performances.
Sixteen schools participated in this year’s tournament, including Austintown-Fitch, Boardman, Canfield, Cardinal Mooney, Champion, Columbiana, Howland, Jackson-Milton, John F. Kennedy High School, Liberty, Lordstown, Niles McKinley, Poland Seminary, South Range, Ursuline and Youngstown Christian.
Canfield team members earning recognition included Oratorical Interpretation, Madeleine Gebacz, (sixth place); Original Oratory, Hayley Ward (sixth place); Humor, Tim Nesnidol (second place) and Dominique Favre (fifth place); Drama, Lydia Scheel (second place) and Nathan Pecchia (fifth place); United States Extemp, Arjun Subramanian (fourth place) and Maria Kenner (fifth place); International Extemp, Cooper Johnson (third place) and Richie Abel (fifth place); Prose & Poetry Reading, Amanda Benson (fifth place); Duo, Rosie Jo Neddy and Mary Elizabeth Monda (second place); Impromptu, Gary Zamary (first place); Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Andrik Massaro (first place), Alyssa Kerensky (fourth place) and Lindsay Heldreth (sixth place); Public Forum Debate, Stephen Gant and Maleck Saleh (first place), Kareem Soliman and Kevin Min (third place) and Will Brown and Billy Quirk (sixth place) and Student Congress, Jaedon Tseng (second place).
Canfield (129 points) won the Power Sweepstakes, which includes state tournament scoring/all placing students. Howland (60) was second, Niles McKinley (57) was third, Cardinal Mooney (52) finished fourth and Columbiana (43) took fifth.
Canfield also won the Team Sweepstakes (regular-season scoring of top 10 students) with 76 points. Mooney (73.25) was second, Howland (72.5) took third, followed by Niles McKinley (70) and Austintown-Fitch (63).
“Our team has participated in eight tournaments so far this season and have won each one. We are having a really great run. We have an excellent chance to win the state tournament, which has been our collective goal this entire season,” said Hamilton. Hamilton’s coaching staff includes assistant coaches Sami Nesnidol, Susan Schiraldi, Jacob Schriner-Briggs, Jillian Smith and Janet Vagas.