Tonganoxie High pair preparing for national forensics tournament; team having major success overall
Tonganoxie High School students Michael Christensen and Hunter Cook got to know each other through forensics.
The common interest blossomed into a relationship and now the couple is preparing for a national forensics event.
Christensen, a THS senior, and Cook, a THS sophomore, recently qualified for the National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament, which will be May 25-27 in Baltimore.
Christensen placed third in dramatic performance and Cook sixth in extemporaneous speech at the national qualifier March 10 at Seaman High School in Topeka.
Christensen said it’s a rarity to qualify for the national tournament and he hoped to emulate the performance of a THS alum.
“Austin Baragary went a few years ago and did really well, so we want to do well,” Christensen said, referring to the 2010 Tonganoxie High School graduate who advanced to nationals his senior year. Baragary placed in the top 24 in oral interpretation of literature that year.
Christensen and Cook’s successes have been a microcosm of the forensics team’s year overall.
The team has placed individually in the top 10 300 times this season and placed second at Ottawa, third at Bishop Miege and fourth at Santa Fe Trail and Gardner-Edgerton.
“We’ve had a really successful year as a team for sure,” Cook said.
Christensen are two of several students to qualify for state forensics as well. State is May 5.
As Christensen and Cook prepare for the trip to Baltimore, they also are doing fundraisers for the trip, including working at the concession stand at Tonganoxie track meets this spring.
“I’ve never been to the East Coast, so I’m really excited,” Cook said.
Though Christensen has been in that region multiple times, this will be his first trip to the Maryland city.
And though this is Christensen’s fourth year in forensics, Cook is in her second.
“I’m ready to show that a sophomore can do it just as well as a senior can,” Cook said about competing at the national tournament.
Results from March 31 tournaments
• Brady Field: second in prose, fourth in serious solo, fifth in poetry.
• Mallory Harrell: third in poetry, seventh in informative.
• Natasha Sudac, second in informative, second in oration.
• Parker Osborne: third in informative, fifth in oration.
• Emily Bell: sixth in oration.
• Celeste Bartels, fourth in extemporaneous, fifth in informative.
• Mike Fare, fifth in humorous solo.
• Phoenixx Cartwright, third in IDA, sixth in prose.
• Hannah Pray, sixth in poetry.
• Halston Field, first in poetry, second in prose.
• Jacob Casselman, third in serious solo, third in poetry.
• Lauren Harrell second in poetry, third in IDA, fifth in humorous solo.
• Taylar Morgan, fifth in informative.
• Shelby Fatherley, sixth in informative.
• Brett Bolon, fourth in IDA.
• Tyler Wehmeyer, fourth in IDA.
Santa Fe Trail
• Zak Edwards, fifth in prose.
• Aly Bartholomew, second in poetry.
• Josh Hunter, sixth in informative.
• Mara Bigge, fifth in extemporaneous.
• Richard Black, fourth in serious solo.
• Michael Christensen, third in humorous solo, fourth in prose.
• Rachel Woods, fourth in duet, sixth in prose.
• Beth Jobst, first in poetry.
• Hunter Cook, first in informative.
• Austin Harris, third in extemporaneous.
• Alysia Gonzales, fourth in duet.
• Christopher Tiner, third in duet.
• Tyler O’Briant, third in duet.