Members of the BPHS Speech Team

Members of the BPHS Speech Team who participated in the final round of the Section 4A Tournament were Griffin Ruud, Kadence Bran de Leon, Emily Rajendrall, Riley Wagner, Hanna Tharaldson, Paul Hillstrom, and Isaiah Trimbo. Not pictured was Jamie Rand.

The 29 members of Belle Plaine’s speech team all got to leave school a little earlier than usual last Friday, April 5. At 1:15 p.m. the swarm of competitors filled a school bus and started their trek to St. Paul. They were destined to arrive at Mounds Park Academy, the host of their sixth and most important competition of the year, the section 4A tournament.

Upon arriving at the site of what would be the final speech meet of the season for most competitors, the Belle Plaine team received a short pep talk before entering into the chaos of the section 4A tournament.

“As we walked into the school, we were surrounded by noise. It was pretty hectic, but we all walked with our heads held high, ready to do our absolute best,” stated Kadence Bran de Leon.

That was only the beginning though. As the meet proceeded and the day grew longer, stress levels continued to climb.

By the end of the night, eight members of Belle Plaine’s team had survived the competition, earning their way into the coveted “final” round. Only one more round stood between them and the Class A State Tournament, where the top three competitors from each section would face off in each category. After what seemed like a century, the “final” round concluded, and all the competitors could do was wait for the results.

The Belle Plaine speech team had a fantastic showing, with five of their eight competitors in the “final” round placing in the  top three in their respective categories and earning spots in the state speech tournament.

Of these five students, Hanna Tharaldson earned first place in drama. In second place were Griffin Ruud and Kadence Bran de Leon in duo interpretation, Paul Hillstrom in drama, and Isaiah Trimbo in discussion.

“It was very surprising that I won. I really wasn’t expecting it at the time. I was so tired from the meet that I couldn’t really fathom what had happened. It really was an honor to win,” stated Hanna Tharaldson.  

After a full day of competition, five of Belle Plaine’s finest speakers made their mark on the contest, earning their place in the Class A State Tournament on Friday, April 12, at Wayzata High School.

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