The Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Speech students placing in the top six at the Section 8A Meet were (front row from left) Jayda Dickson, Geo Morris, Willow Damar, Dylan Johnson, (back) Logan Wales, Katelyn DeLost, Lily Pedersen and Molly Massar.

The 16 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley speakers who advanced out of the Subsection 29A speech tournament traveled to Fosston Friday to compete in the Section 8A Tournament.

This tournament marks the last stage of elimination, determining which speakers will advance to the state tournament. The team, with competitors spread across 10 of the 13 categories, advanced nine speakers into the final round. Of these nine speakers, five placed within the top three of their categories and earned spots in the state competition.

Each category hosts 12 speakers comprised from the three individual subsections. These speakers compete in two preliminary rounds. The top six speakers then advance to the final round.

Speakers placing within the top three who will compete at the State Tournament are Jayda Dickson third in Informative, Katelyn DeLost third in Creative, Dylan Johnson second in Extemp Reading, Molly Massar second in Storytelling and Willow Damar first in Drama.

The following speakers placed within the top six of their categories and advanced to the final round. Logan Wales was fifth in Drama, Lily Pedersen fourth in Humor, Lily Burns seventh in Humor and Geo Morris fifth in Prose.

Out of the 17 schools in competition, WHA placed fourth overall. East Grand Forks took first, with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Hawley second and third respectively.

Now that invitational and advancing tournaments have passed, the focus will be on the upcoming state tournament. The state tournament, hosted this year by Wayzata High School Friday and Saturday is comprised of the top 24 speakers in each category from the eight separate sections. These speakers will compete in three preliminary rounds, and the top eight speakers will then advance to the final round.

WHA currently holds the record for the most Class A state medals. With five talented speakers heading to the tournament this weekend, they hope to support that record by adding more medals to the list.

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