MUNSTER | The Munster High School Speech Team continued its sweep through 2012 competitions with wins at two national tournaments this summer.
Nine students competed in the National Catholic Forensic League finals in Baltimore, Md., during the Memorial Day weekend.
“The top teams from around the country attend this national tournament. There were over 900 high schools and over 3,000 students competing at the NCFL nationals,” said Jordan Mayer, an English teacher who directs the Munster speech team with Don Fortner, a social studies teacher. “There was No Team Sweepstakes Award, but we had the second most finalists.”
Five of the nine Munster High School contestants broke into the top 48 in the country, and four of those students ranked in the top 24 nationwide.
Tatiana Padilla, 17, placed ninth in the nation at that tournament. Last year she was 13th in the country.
Padilla, who will be a junior in the fall, competed in both prose and poetry interpretation contests.
The 13th spot in the nation went to Rohan Chatterjee for his dramatic performance of “Thomas Brady’s First Day of Kindergarten." He will be a sophomore next school year.
London Borom, 18, and Zaria Suggs, 16, competed in the scripted duo interpretation category and ranked 14th in the nation. Borom is a new Munster graduate, and Suggs will be a junior in the fall.
Alison Reba and Hailey Estes also placed in various rounds.
The team did even better at the National Forensic League's National Tournament in Indianapolis from June 10 to 15, Mayer said.
"We brought 16 students to the NFL, which is the largest team we’ve ever brought to nationals,” Mayer said.
More than 400 students started the competition, and Munster took 50 percent of the national awards.
“We qualified 11 out of 12 spots on the speech side. That has never been done in the history of Indiana,” he said.
Six Munster speech competitors broke into the top 60 in the nation, which is called the “octo-finals,” Mayer said. The quarter finals saw three of the six Munster students rank in the top 24 in the nation.
Four individuals from Munster made it to the final round, which was the second most finalists from any school in the nation, Mayer said.
“We also set a record by placing three students in the national round in prose interpretation,” he said.
Christian Fary was named the national champion in the National Forensic League contest. Padilla was the national runner-up and Borom took sixth in the nation. This is the third time Borom was in among the national finalists.
Others who participated in the NFL competition included Padilla, Reba, Chatterjee, Josh Shalen, Nick Siano, Jabree Ellis, Sidarth Singh, Rathnam Venkat, Michael Peters, Fareesa Siddiqui, Jessica Reddy, Sameer Chintamani and Calvin Sanders.
Munster High School’s team also earned the National School of Excellence Award in Speech, one of 13 won by schools in the U.S. That award is based on the cumulative rounds of competition won by the team. This was the first time Munster High has won this award since 2002.
“This is Munster High School’s second national championship since 1990,” Mayer said.
The school’s speech team is coached by Helen Engstrom, Don Fortner, Tanya Galloway, Peg Matanic and Mayer.
The Munster High debate team is coached by Tammy Daugherty, Steven Kennedy, Kathy Kennedy and Glen Percifeld.