Park Rapids High School speech team sends four to state meet

Emma Ravnaas, Nadia Yliniemi, Desi Kohrs and Brenna Behrens are slated to represent their school on April 24.

Emma Ravnaas, Nadia Yliniemi, Desarae Kohrs and Brenna Behrens represented Park Rapids Area High School at the state speech tournament on April 24. (submitted photo)

Four members of the Park Rapids varsity speech team are heading to state.

The Park Rapids Area High School speech team placed second overall at the Subsection 23 meet on April 10, and six team members advanced to the finals at the Section 6A meet on April 17.

The six section finalists were Maeve Bolton, fifth place in creative expression; Emma Ravnaas, second place in poetry; Nadia Yliniemi, first place in poetry; Desi Kohrs, second place in storytelling; Brenna Behrens, third place in extemporaneous reading; and Jack Worner, sixth place in extemporaneous reading.

Ravnaas, Yliniemi, Kohrs and Behrens will compete at the state speech tournament on Saturday, April 24.

“In the beginning of the year, I set a goal for us to take our entire team to sections, and that's exactly what we did,” said speech coach Tanya Miller. “Eleven out of 11 students made it to sections.”


Besides the six finalists, the team’s section participants were Mackenzie LaFerriere, Abigail Marsden, Vivian Harju, Allele Edelman and Kiergon Wilkins.

“I couldn't be more proud,” Miller said. “This has been a difficult year, with students having to adjust their performances to compete virtually.

“Instead of getting on a bus on a Saturday to head to a speech meet, where they could mingle with like-minded friends from other towns, the kids met at the high school. Each went to a room by themselves, and performed in front of a computer screen.

“They were good sports, though, and never complained. Just kept on working hard. I am thrilled that we have had such a successful season! We couldn't have done it without the help of our assistant coaches, Leandra Craigmile and Emily Schueller, and volunteer coaches Sandy Aldrich, Robby Henderson Cole, Katie Winters and Amber Schroeder,” said Miller.

Craigmile commented, “I am so proud of all our team has accomplished this year. This was an unusual season and I am thrilled that our students decided to stick it out, work hard and win.”

“I’m so excited to be going to state and very thankful it is virtual, so we can also attend prom,” said team co-captain Behrens, a senior. “It has been a challenge doing things virtually, but I’m so excited all our hard work has paid off.”

“I cannot express how thrilled I am to be going back to state,” fellow senior and co-captain Kohrs added. “I am also so proud of our team, because of all the hard work they put in, especially with how well we did this year despite the circumstances.”

"I’m over the moon with the success this season has brought me," said Yliniemi. "I feel especially grateful that I have the opportunity to compete at the state tournament, considering how our season was cut short last year. I’m super excited and hopeful for what’s to come!”

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