BPHS Sophomore to Compete in State Speech Competition

Belle Plaine High School sophomore Merrik Giesen will be the only student on his 10-person speech team competing in the virtual state competition on Saturday, April 24.

Giesen earned the chance to compete at the state level after taking second place at the MSHSL Section 4A Tournament in the Dramatic Interpretation category on Saturday, April 10.

First place went to Madelyn Tax from Watertown-Mayer High School.

Going into that competition, Giesen was ranked sixth out of six competitors. His performance that day was so strong that he was able to climb up to a second place finish with his execution of one section of the three-part play, “Bright. Apple. Crush.”

The dark-comedy chronicles the driving forces behind three different murders.

Giesen performs one monologue about a man who set his house on fire.

In previous years, other students read the other two sections of the play and also took those pieces to state.

“I wanted to finish it off and be the trifecta,” said Giesen. “I felt really proud of myself to bring it state.”

The state competition for speech will be virtual this year.

Giesen will give his speech in front of an iPad at the Belle Plaine High School.

“I’m very proud of him. With the challenges that we faced this year, being able to actually go is such a big deal. He’s definitely worked hard,” said Coach Maija Johnson.

Giesen said he is ready to push through the nerves and do his best at state.

“When you really just put your mind to it and do it, it’s not as bad as it seems. For anybody who is waiting to do something because they are nervous, just do it,” he said. 

New Country School Freshman Will Compete at State in Speech

Freshman Savannah Berg will compete at the Minnesota State Speech Competition in the Humorous Interpretation category on Saturday, April 24.

“It’s a big accomplishment for me. I started out the year in the novice section and then I moved up to varsity. I’ve just gotten a lot better with consistency and better performing skills,” Berg said.

This is her third year on the speech team at the Minnesota New Country School in Henderson. Her family lives in Belle Plaine.

“It’s exciting to see her do so great this year,” said her mother Amanda Berg.

Savannah took second place at the section tournament with her performance about a 20-something woman who discovers the letters she wrote to herself as a child. Her speech is adapted from passages in the book “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh.

She will compete virtually this year from the New Country High School. Three other students on her team will also compete at state.

“I’m just looking forward to having the experience and getting to go. It’s not as much about placing for me, especially because it's just my ninth grade year,” she said. 

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