July 9, 2021
USC grad places eighth at national speech competition
Maddie Nolen, a 2021 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, placed eighth in Original Spoken Word Poetry at the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) Nationals. The virtual event, which included hundreds of teams and thousands of competitors from across the country, was held June 14-19, 2021.
In addition to breaking the top 10 in Original Spoken Word Poetry, Maddie finished 42nd in Humorous Interpretation, 32nd in Prepared Prompt Speaking, and 62nd in Poetry.
“She was the top-scoring Pennsylvania student in each event except Prepared Prompt Speaking, where she was second,” Ben Edwards, USCHS Speech & Debate Team coach, said. “This is the second straight year Maddie advanced in at least three events at nationals.”
Students advanced in Debate with an 8-4 record or better in six preliminary rounds. The top 100 in Speech events made Double Octofinals, Top 60 made Octofinals, Top 24 quarterfinals, Top 12 Semifinals, and Top 6 Finals.
Other top Upper St. Clair High School performers include:
- Rising seniors Ammar Kethavath & Will Bacdayan 30th in Public Forum Debate (top-score in Pennsylvania). Advanced to Round 11.
- Rising senior Rushikesh Kulkarni 65th in International Extemporaneous Speaking and advanced in Commentary (second highest score in Pennsylvania)
- Rising junior Jack Miller 73rd in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking (fourth high score in Pennsylvania)
Also qualifying to Nationals were:
- 2021 graduates Bryce Keating and Joe Phillips(Duo Interpretation)
- Rising seniors Saif bin Hammad (International Extemporaneous Speaking) and Henry Rainone (Humorous Interpretation)
- Rising juniors Cameron Weber (International Extemporaneous Speaking) and Matthew Hrehocik (International Extemporaneous Speaking)
- Rising sophomore Aarav Patil (Informative Speaking)
The Upper St. Clair High School Speech & Debate Team is coached by Mr. Edwards, social studies teacher, and Mr. Dave Watson, English teacher.