A speaking sensation heads to state

By Brenda Erdahl 

Michael Miller’s friends knew he would be a talented addition to the Maple Lake High School Speech team when they persuaded him to join this winter, but they couldn’t have known just how successful he would be.

On Saturday, April 7, Miller, a junior at MLHS, qualified for the Minnesota State High School League State Speech Meet, surprising his friends and himself.

“State was not even on the radar,” said Miller who kicked off his first season on the team doing “pretty well” in his opinion. He consistently placed fourth and fifth during Irish outings and wasn’t at all discouraged to not be winning, instead he enjoyed the friendly competition with his friends. That all changed midway through the season at a meet in Fridley where, “out of no-where I took first,” he said.

“Something clicked at that meet and then the next meet at DC I took second, then it was sections,” he said.

It was his third-place finish at the Section 4A Tournament at Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul that punched his ticket to the state speech meet in Apple Valley on Saturday, April 21. In qualifying he joins a growing group of Irish speakers to attend the prestigious event. In fact, since 2012, Maple Lake has sent an individual to state almost every year, coach Eric Meyer said. In 2014, the Irish even had a state meet champion in Maddie Nelson.

Other Irish finalists at this season’s section event were Kianna Johnson, fifth place, serious drama; Lucy Greenhagen, fifth place, extemporaneous speaking; Anna Becker, fifth place, creative expression, and Jacob Fynboh, sixth place, extemporaneous speaking.

Miller competes in extemporaneous speaking, which is one of the most challenging categories in all of speech. Made up of two sections, domestic and international, students must keep on top of current events throughout the season because they never know what they are going to be asked to speak on at a given meet.

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