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Selinsgrove High School students win state forensics title

Mar. 21—SELINSGROVE — A team of two Selinsgrove Area High School students won the state title for news broadcasting in the Pennsylvania High School Speech League state championships Saturday.

High school junior Quinn Stanford and senior Aaron Mann said they decided to think outside the box when it came to the topics they would present to judges over the weekend.

"We talked about things like the longest tug of war game in Wales and a calf born in Louisiana with two heads," Stanford said.

These unique stories stood out in rooms full of other competitions who chose to present more hard-hitting news.

"They were entertaining stories for the judges," Mann said. "Some of the other stories people chose ended up being repeated."

Following a day full of preliminary rounds Friday, Mann said the duo was feeling pretty confident that they would break to the semifinals. "We felt like we were really well prepared," he said.

The starting total of 24 news broadcasting teams was broken into a semifinal of 12. Stanford and Mann said they saw new competitors in the semis before finally breaking into the final round where they competed against the top six teams in the state.

"In semis and finals, everyone is given the same script and you have limited time to prepare," Stanford said.

The duo said they thought their humorous approach gave them an edge. "Some other teams took a very serious approach," Mann said. "We did get some criticism from judges for being overexcited, but we kept them engaged."

Stanford has competed in the state forensics tournament for three years. For Mann, this year's state tournament was his first experience with competitive speech and debate, he said.

Mann said he enjoyed the competition and meeting speakers from other schools. "Everyone was very supportive and friendly," he said.