Maddie Nolen, a 2021 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, placed eighth in Original Spoken Word Poetry at the National Speech and Debate Association Nationals.
The virtual event, which included hundreds of teams and thousands of competitors from across the country, was held June 14-19.
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, high school speech and debate team coach, said. “This is the second straight year Maddie advanced in at least three events at nationals.”
Other top Upper St. Clair High School performers were:
- Rising seniors Ammar Kethavath and 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-highest 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.
- Coaching the team along with social study teacher Edwards is Dave Watson, English teacher.