by Dave Boehler
for The Beacon
Sheboygan South’s forensics team recently finished as Division 2 state runner-up, and three students brought home individual championships.
The school, which last won state in 1990, claimed its second runner-up trophy since coach Ben Kroll was hired in 2004.
“It’s a representation of the hard work the students have put in and taking advantage of every opportunity that they had to compete and grow throughout the season,” he said.
South, which is also coached by Malyssa Gabrielson, competed in the online state tournament April 9 and were led by champions Mason McWherter, Abby Wetzel and Raine Xiong.
“We’ve had students that have been very dedicated and they’ve been on the team for a couple of years,” Kroll said. “Having to compete entirely virtually last season, that gave them a lot of good skills for making recordings.”
McWherter, a senior, took first place in Oral Interpretation of Literature.
In the finals, he used a series of poems to bring awareness to issues surrounding suicide.
“He was able to put in a lot of passion, and helped bring awareness to such a serious issue in the world,” Kroll said.
Xiong, a junior, placed first in Farrago as a result of her collection of poetry and prose mixed together about growing up an Asian-American student split between two different cultures.
“She was able to help the audience, help the judges really feel what her life is like,” Kroll said, “and helped them to understand the trials, difficulties, and the triumphs that many may not personally be aware of.”
Another junior, Abby Wetzel, won state in Storytelling thanks to children’s story President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.
“She was able to add a lot of physical aspects to the performance and really bring the story to life, and develop a lot of interesting character voices,” Krill said.
Wetzel’s performance also won the in-person state title the previous weekend in Eau Claire.
Other team members include senior Ainsley Schwalbe, junior Emma Gosse, sophomores Lucy Thoresen, Lily Wamser, Paige Benish and Erin Peterson, and freshmen Krissah Hopkins, Juliana Wetzel and Jordan Culp.