MHHS Talkin' Tigers take silver at state speech events

Friday, April 18, 2014
Members of Mountain Home High School's Talkin' Tigers speech and debate team pose for a photo before they left for this year's state finals in Boise.

Mountain Home High School's Talkin' Tigers finished second overall with one student earning his second championship title during this year's state-level speech competition.

Jeremy Cruz was the state champion in the salesmanship competition, where students create a sales presentation on a product. His was for Poo-Pourri.

Cruz became the first student from Mountain Home to win state titles in both debate and speech in the same year, according to John Petti, who coaches the Talkin' Tigers speech and debate team.

It's possible that he's is also the only student from Idaho to hold that distinction, the coach added. Earlier this year Cruz and partner Tim Menhart, the team captain, won the Idaho high school state championship in public forum debate.

Cruz, a senior on the high school team, was also an alternate in the broadcast journalism category.

Menhart qualified for the semi-finals in two events at the state speech competition, retold story and humorous interpretation. He moved on to the finals in humorous interpretation, where he finished fifth.

The Talkin' Tigers sent 18 of its students to the state event, which began Friday at Columbia High School in Boise.

"Our Talkin' Tigers did an excellent job last weekend at state speech... and earned us a nice, red state trophy," Petti said.

Freshman Zach Baker also made it to the final round where he placed sixth in extemporaneous speaking, which Petti said is considered to be one of the toughest events.

Senior Scott Crighton, who earlier in the year qualified for the national tournament in the congress competition, finished in sixth place in the event at state.

In total The Talkin' Tigers had 11 students advance to semi-final rounds, including Alicia Clark (broadcast journalism), Mario Garduno and Macy Holland (duo interpretation) Tim Menhart (retold story), Aubree Ogaard (dramatic interpretation), Emily Rhoads (expository speaking) and Nigel Whitfield (panel discussion).

In addition Matt McLean (congress), Logan Potter (congress), Rose Baker (expository speaking) Kris Packer (impromptu speaking) Lydia Shearman (impromptu speaking), speech captain Dez Ruiz (duo interpretation and original oratory) and Natalee Garduno (duo interpretation) represented Mountain Home High School in the state tournament.

The team's alternates were Devin Cooper, Jenna Crowe and Tawnie Lord.

The team's appearance at the state speech finals followed its performance at this year's district tournament. Overall, the Talkin' Tigers finished second among the smaller schools at district and third versus all 16 schools with Aubree Ogaard and Emily Rhoads earning district champion honors.

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