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Winning Forensics
Biggest group of qualifiers in seven years attending State
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Forensics students in Marion Obornys class at Hoisington High School learn practice makes perfect when it comes to preparing for state. The team travels to Wichita to compete Saturday, bringing with it the largest number of qualifiers since Oborny began teaching and coaching forensics seven years ago. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Cardinal Forensics heads to State

HOISINGTON — Twelve Hoisington High School students have qualified 17 events for 3A State Forensics at Wichita-East.
Garrett Dykes qualified in humorous solo acting, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, and improvised duet acting. He is limited to two, so he will compete in humorous solo and impromptu.
Logan Hammeke qualified in informative speaking, improvised duet acting, and impromptu. He will compete in informative and improvised duet acting.
Joannna Lockwood qualified in prose and informative speaking. Daphne Copp qualified in improvised duet acting and serious solo acting. Payton Dykes qualified in impromptu and improvised duet acting.
Chandler Blackwell qualifed in humorous solo acting. Kirk Reisner qualified in oration. Trey Byers, Xavier Robinson, and Brayden Copp qualified in improvised duet acting.
Sage Martinz qualified in serious solo acting. Taylor Schwartz qualified in extemporaneous speaking, but she will be unable to attend because of a schedule conflict.
In recent action at the Central Kansas League Tournament at Larned, Payton Dykes placed second in impromptu speaking, qualifying for State. Payton also placed sixth in oration. Joanna Lockwood placed fourth in prose, and Garrett Dykes placed fourth in humorous solo. Chandler Blackwell and Brayden Copp placed sixth in improvised duet acting.
Several Hoisington High School forensics team members did well at Pratt recently, and the team finished fifth out of fifteen schools. Garrett Dykes placed first in humorous solo acting, again qualifying for State. Garrett Dykes and Payton Dykes placed third in improvised duet acting, qualifying for State. Joanna Lockwood placed fifth in informative speaking and sixth in prose. In oration, Taylor Schwartz placed fifth and Payton Dykes placed sixth.
In earlier action at Ellinwood, Garrett Dykes placed second in impromptu speaking and second in humorous solo acting. Garrett has qualified for State in both events. Logan Hammeke placed second in informative, again qualifying for State. Kyle Miller placed sixth in informative. Chandler Blackwell placed sixth in impromptu speaking. Josh Ball and Kylie Miller placed fourth in duet acting. In extemporaneous speaking, Bryce Hopkins placed fourth, Kelsi Dalton placed fifth, and Josh Ball placed sixth.
State is Saturday, May 5. The team will have their annual awards banquet on Monday, May 7, at the H.H.S. cafeteria. All are invited. The covered dish supper will be followed by brief awards presentations and forensics performances.

HOISINGTON — In the seven years since Marion Oborny began teaching and coaching Cardinals Forensics at Hoisington High School, the program has grown steadily. The class roster this year has grown to 26 students in two classes, a few of whom participated outside of class. And this year, more students have qualified and are planning to compete in 17 events at the 3A State Forensics at Wichita-East on Saturday, May 5. One key to the success of the program is Oborny’s insistence on attending tournaments, and its made for a banner year for Hoisington.
Even if a student hasn’t qualified to participate, attendance exposes them to competition, allowing them to see where the bar is set so they can gear their practice towards winning.
“You learn on the job,” Oborny said. “You work hard to get into finals, and if you don’t get into finals, you go and watch what the winners are doing.”
Students see they may need to take it up a notch when competing against larger schools, as compared to some of the smaller tournaments they may attend close to home. There are eleven schools in Hoisington’s league, and they Hoisington sits in the center of the pack, he said.
Students practice a lot with partners and in front of the class. Suggestions and critiques are offered, both by students and Oborny. But, when there is a disagreement, what Oborny says goes.
“I’m a benevolent king,” he said. It’s clear the students admire and respect him all the while having a great experience in his class. They are encouraged to try new events too, allowing them to learn their niche. Students took time out from practice to share their secrets to success.

Determination is key
Dylan Yott will perform in the serious solo acting event. As a fourth year student, he is participating outside of his actual course load as a student aid. This means he has to practice outside of class, so it’s not unusual to find him rehearsing his act during quiet times at work, and even performing for his coworkers, he said.
Yott joined forensics his freshman year with a friend. They were improvisational duet acting (IDA) partners, but he’s gone on to participate in several other events over the years. Prose and poetry, humorous solo acting, and extemporaneous speaking have been some of the more memorable events, he said.
The secret of his success is determination.
“So many students early on feel two or three practices on their piece is enough, and they arrive at tournament to find the competition is more prepared,” he said. Complete commitment is essential. “You have to learn you piece like the back of your hand.”
Forensics has helped him with public speaking, During his freshman year, he felt like an awkward kid.
“Forensics helped me to come out of my shell and put my fear on the line,” he said. “You have to determine how you are going to do it and you need the advice of your coach on how to perform it. You have to completely master your piece. You have to find a piece that really speaks to you, and you have to make it speak to other people through your actions.”

Becoming the character
Daphne Copp and her partner, Logan Hammeke, will perform IDA together at state.
“I think IDA is one of the easiest things you can do in forensics if you aren’t good at memorizing things and giving speeches but you’re good at acting and making things up as you go,” she said. “It’s fun because you never know what will happen.”
Copp explains how it works: Partners go to a drawing room and pick a situation, a location, and characters. You can’t play more than one character. You can do whatever you want and have 30 minutes to prepare. They can practice in order to train their creativity. They determine their general plot, and work from there.
“The first time was hard,” she said. “It helps to be a creative writer.”
Practice and hard work is what Copp credits for her success. Taking on the persona of her character is also key to pulling off a winning performance. You can’t be embarrassed, she said,because if you really get into your character, you can draw out the judge’s emotions.
“Logan is the only person I need to care about or interact with at that moment, and that is how we get through our tournaments,” she said.
Her first year, Copp also tried debate, but found she doesn’t like arguing current events. Instead, she focuses on what she knows and loves.

Making the judges cry
Sage Martinz is finishing her first year in forensics, and will perform serious solo acting at state. Her decision to get serious came more from eliminating the events she knew she wouldn’t enjoy. She doubted she could buiild enough skill in humorous acting, and writing and memorizing a speech didn’t appeal. What she likes about the serious solo acting is the opportunity to become the character.
“A lot of the time there are people screaming and crying and rolling around on the ground,” Martinz said. “It just kind of depends on what your piece is about.”
When Martinz qualified, she made both of her judges cry, she said. In serious solo, that’s how you know you did a good job. She is prepared to meet some tough competition, but she’s feeling confident.