Source: Sherman Publications

Fourth Forensics State Champion in LOHS History

May 14, 2014

By Katie Winkler

Review Staff Writer

After a successful season, five members of the LOHS Forensics team, Shayda Soraya, Elizabeth Boss, Josh Johr, Charlie Ross and alternate Owen Woityra, headed to Western Michigan University to compete in the state championships.

For Woityra to compete as an alternate it would have required that someone in his category was unable to compete at the finals.

Because coaches Cathy Srock and Lindsay Finkbeiner felt that he deserved a chance to compete for his own title, an at-large bid was submitted on Woityra’s behalf.

In order to qualify as an at-large competitor, coaches needed to compile his places taken at each regular season competition and any additional comments into a document and send it to a board that would decide if Woityra would be granted a spot on the state finals team.

“It’s always so rare that a student gets to go in as an alternate. We didn’t want to leave it up to that so that’s why we did an at-large bid on him. We felt that he had all the success that showed he should be [at states],” Srock said. “After his at-large bid was accepted, we found out that one qualifier from regionals dropped out. No matter what, Owen was meant to be there.”

Woityra’s piece was a compilation of poems by Leslea Newman, told from many perspectives.

He went on to win the state championship for poetry.

It was the fourth time in LOHS history that a student won a state title in Forensics. Three of the four state champions have been a result of an at-large bid: William Mason in Informative, Parisa Soraya in Sales, and Woityra this year.

“I was glad I was able to come back and prove myself, not only to the competitors, but also the friends that I’ve made,” Woityra said. “It was a really good feeling. It’s almost better that I had to go through with an at-large, rather that quality, because it shows how far I’ve come.”

After being recruited by Coach Srock during speech class, Rose joined the forensics team and went on to a sixth place finish in Informative 9/10. Rose’s piece informed about cravings, complemented by visual boards.

“Every time I would talk to [Charlie] after a round, no matter how well it went, he would already be talking about what he wanted to fix. He was constantly trying to change his speech to make it that much better. He has come a long way,” Coach Finkbeiner said.

The other members of the LOHS Forensics state team placed as following: Soraya placed 12th in Sales, Johr 11th in Storytelling and Boss 19th in Oratory.

“They work so hard and they choose to do [Forensics]. Some of them are researching and writing speeches on their topics, while others are reading different pieces and taking them and analyzing and developing them as their own to act them out dramatically,” Srock said. “They’re energetic, passionate, driven, dedicated and they make my day so much better.”