After 5 Years at the Helm, Holloway Resigns

posted Apr 18, 2018, 10:50 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 18, 2018, 11:03 AM ]

Thanks to everyone who made the last five years special: parents, students, and alumni. I will never forget the day I stood in front of eight kids, as a new teacher in the district, and promised them that Hamilton would soon be a forensics powerhouse. Many didn't believe me, but most were excited to hear some optimism in what was at the time a beleaguered program. I am really proud of what we accomplished together at Hamilton, and I am going to miss spending Saturday mornings with this team.

While it has been a great run, the coaching staff needs to step aside for a variety of reasons. Coach Kowalske is having a baby! Congrats, Coach K! Coach Starrett is taking on some new leadership roles within the district, and I am getting married this summer and looking to finish my master's degree. 

I am happy to say the coaches will be leaving this team better than they found it. We are currently the reigning back-to-back-to-back champions in the Greater Metro Conference, winners of 24 individual conference championships, winners of four individual state championships in the last five years, and have recently finished the season with back-to-back top-6 finishes at the WFCA State Tournament.

For me, it has been a lot of fun watching this program grow over the last five years, and I have loved every minute if it. We have not begun the search for a new coach yet because I wanted you to hear it from us first. We have created a transition team of students who will manage the team into this new era until a coach is found, and I am excited to see who will take over this program in the next couple of months. I know they will bring with them fresh, new, and exciting ideas that will make this change a step forward and not a step backward. I trust that you will all carry on the great forensics tradition that this school has built over the last couple of years. While our coaches have helped create that, this team is more than one person or a few coaches, and I fully expect you to add to our great legacy next season.

--Coach Holloway

Hamilton Finished Top-6 at WFCA State

posted Apr 18, 2018, 9:17 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 18, 2018, 11:01 AM ]

by Nicole Hentzell

Hamilton competed in the 2018 WFCA State Tournament and placed 6th, scoring 233 points. The Chargers set a team record by advancing 13 students out of preliminaries. They had three state finalists, which is tied for the second most in team history. This is also the first time the team has finished as one of the state's top-6 in back-to-back seasons. “It was so much fun--,” said Manola Intavong. “ just seeing everyone else who also powered was really worth it [but] I’m going to miss the seniors who have been motivating me and helping me improve the past three years.” For many members, this was the very last meet in their high school forensics careers. “I’m going to miss the people the most,” said Emma O'Neil, “Everybody's hard work throughout the season, I don’t think we would do half as well without everyone's effort.”

4th Place

Elise Rades (Farrago)  ​

6th Place

Matt Gnanadass (Extemporaneous Speaking)

Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, and Manola Inthavong (Group Interpretive)

--Matt Gnanadass ties a team record set by Dani Kallis ('16) by advancing to finals at state for the 3rd time in his career. Matt was the 2016 Impromptu Speaking Champion and took 4th in Extemporaneous Speaking in 2017. He is performing in the Extemp finals today.

--Elise Rades (Farrago) advanced to finals for the first time in her career. She did not advance out of preliminaries last year, her first trip to state.

--Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, and Manola Inthavong have a combined five trips to state without ever advancing out of preliminaries. Today they advanced to finals as an entry in Group Interp.

--Hamilton's 233 points was the second-most points at this tournament in team history.

--All three members of the draw team (Matt Gnanadass, Abhi Prui, and Shiva Senthil) advanced to semi-finals. 

--Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, Manola Inthavong, Mehak Oberoi, Swathi Prasad, Elise Rades, and Shiva Senthil advanced to semi-finals for the first time in their forensics career.

--Sophia Detweiler, Rashmi Majjigapu, Madison Ruplinger, Mindy Yadev advanced to semi-finals in their first trip to state. 

--Emma Stokman advanced to semi-finals for the first time since the first meet of the season (Port Washington). 

--Eleven of the Chargers' twenty-five entries were performing at state for the first time: Ashley Bissen, Sophia Detweiler, Eric Doese, Sharan Gill, Matthew Lehner, Cheyenne Lewis, Rashmi Majjigapu, Chloe Miller, Jada Nieves, Madison Ruplinger, and Mindy Yadev.

--Madison Memorial was crowned Division-1 State Champion for the 11th straight year, and 14th time by scoring  323 points.

-- Waunakee was the Division-2 State Champion for the second straight year. 

--Wrightstown was the Division-3 State Champion for the first time in school history.

--There were 76 schools and 825 entries at the tournament today.

Hamilton Hosts First Home Tournament in Decades

posted Apr 7, 2018, 10:29 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 10:39 AM ]

Sussex, WI-
-For the first time in decades, Hamilton hosted their own tournament. Attended by 11 teams from around the state, Hamilton didn't take a team trophy, but they would have taken 2nd behind 14-time state champion James Madison Memorial. Information about the tournament can be found at

1st Place
Rachel Betters (Radio)

2nd Place 
Mindy Yadev (Demonstration Speaking)
Elise Rades (Farrago)
Fedie/Hentzell/Inthavong (Group Interp)
Jada Nieves (Novice Poetry)
Mallory Remm & Ritika Patel (Play Acting)
Maanya Kashyap (Prose)
Shiva Senthil (Radio)

3rd Place
Matt Gnanadass (Extemporaneous Speaking)
Amy Yadev (Informative Speaking)
Jon Lucero, Sean Seraphine, & Dorie Palmer (Play Acting)
Abhi Puri (Radio Speaking)
Emma O'Neill (Special Occasion Speaking)

--Hamilton tied a school record for most power round entries (21) and entries placing in the top-3 (13) at an invite. 
--Hamilton finished with 283, well short of Madison Memorial's 322.
--Hamilton swept the top three places in Radio Speaking.
--In her last performance of her career, Rachel Betters was the tournament champion in a category, Radio, that she finished as a finalist as a freshman at state.
--Hamilton will be releasing their state roster on 3/26, and they will attend state on 4/7. They are projected to finish between 5th and 7th place at the tournament. 

Shorthanded Chargers Find a Way to Win at Arrowhead

posted Apr 7, 2018, 10:25 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 10:25 AM ]

Article by Nicole Hentzell

Hartland, WI--Despite losing a bunch of entries to Solo/Ensemble, Hamilton High School's forensics team received first place at the Arrowhead tournament for the first time in team history, making this the team's third win of the season, the most in team history. Sixteen students advanced to finals and half of these members finished in the top three.

For the first time in their forensics career, Cheyenne Lewis and Kai Warden advanced to finals, as well as Madison Ripplinger finished 1st place for the first time in her forensics career.

Rachel Betters was awarded tournament champion in radio for the second meet in a row. Betters, Matt Gnanadass, Rachel Betters, and Amy Yadev doubled powered at the tournament.

1st Place

Rachel Betters (Radio)

Eric Doese (Extemporaneous)

​Madison Ruplinger (Informative)

2nd Place

Matt Gnanadass (Extempaneous)

Amy Yadev (Informative)

3rd Place

Rachel Betters (Special Occasion)

Elise Rades (Farrago)

Shiva Senthil (Radio)

--Hamilton has now finished 1st for the third time this season, the most invite championships in team history.

--This is the second tournament in a row that Rachel Betters placed 1st in radio.

--Matt Gnanadass, Rachel Betters, and Amy Yadev doubled powered.

--Last year, only 13 Hamilton students advanced to finals and 6 were top-3 finalists. 

--Swathi Prasad performed in prose for the first time in her career.

Hamilton Has Day To Remember at Madison Memorial

posted Apr 7, 2018, 9:07 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 9:24 AM ]

Article By Nicole Hentzell

Madison, WI--On Saturday March 3rd Hamilton took second place, scoring a record breaking 287 points, at the Madison Memorial tournament, one of the hardest tournaments in the state,  defeating Sun Prairie for the first time. The team had nine students finish in the top-three, the most Hamilton has ever had power at this tournament.

Maanya Kashyap won the invites prestigious triathlon award. To win the award, a student has to perform four speeches in four rounds for a total of twelve performances over the course of the day. Students must perform in at least one speech and one interpretive category. Kashyap took 1st in 7 of her twelve rounds. She became the only Charger in team history to triple-power, and score 42 of the possible 45 points,Kashyap competed in prose, impromptu, and solo serious.

Manola Inthavong took 7th in the triathlon standings, scoring 33 points, the second most points scored by a Charger at an invite.

“If you’re in forensics to win,” said Hang Yin. “ I don’t think that’s a great reason… but if you’re in it to better yourself, I think you have a better opportunity to get an award because you’re just constantly improving on yourself.”

“It’s important to just not give up on yourself,” said Gwen Watson. “Sometimes there's a lot of good competition, but it’s just important to stay confident.”

1st Place

Maanya Kashyap (Triathlon)

Maanya Kashyap (Prose)

Matt Gnanadass (Extemp)

Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, and Manola Inthavong (Group)

2nd Place

Rachel Betters (Radio)

3rd Place

Mehak Oberoi and Swathi Prasad (Play Acting)

Elise Rades (Farrago)

Amy Yadev (Informative)

Amy Yadev (Impromptu)

--Hamilton's group interp team (Fedie, Hentzell, Inthavong) have taken 1st at all three of the tournaments they've attended this season.
--Hamilton finished one point ahead of Sun Prairie
--Last year, 13 Hamilton students advanced to finals. This year 12 advanced to finals.
--Previously, the record for most Hamilton entries that finished in the top-3 at JMM was three, and Hamilton has only had one tournament champion in the history of the tournament.
--Maanya Kashyap finished 5th in the triathlon last year; the same year she and Emily Berger became the first Chargers to win a title at the JMM invite. 
--Manola Inthavong took 7th in the triathlon standings, scoring 33 points...the 3rd most points scored by a Charger at any invite.
--After finishing 6th in radio during her freshman year, senior Rachel Betters has only finished in top-3 in radio one time and hasn't competed in the category in almost a year, but that didn't stop her from taking 2nd in her return to the category. 
--Matt Gnanadass placed first in the honor round of impromptu.  

Hamilton Shows Improvement at Whitewater

posted Apr 7, 2018, 9:07 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 9:21 AM ]

Article by Nicole Hentzell

Whitewater, WI--Hamilton took third place at UW-Whitewater for the second year in a row-- only thirteen points shorter than the top finisher-- the team scored a total of 297 points, the most in team history.

A hundred of these points were earned in the informative and impromptu categories. A total of sixteen Chargers advanced to finals, a team record at this invite.

Dorie Palmer, Matt Gnanadass, and Ritika Patel became the only three students to power in two categories.  

Matt Gnanadass entered in impromptu and extemp, becoming the first Hamilton student to record 1,1,1 in the preliminary rounds in two categories at the same invite.

Dorie Palmer powered for the first time this season. “It was kind of strange,” Said Palmer. “Because [I] never powered before, and suddenly I double powered.”

“This past week everyone worked hard,” said Emma Stokman (Duo), “staying late after school and put in their full effort at school.”  

2nd Place

Matt Gnanadass (Extemporaneous Speaking)

Jon Lucero, Dorie Palmer, and Sean Seraphine (Play Acting)

Madison Ruplinger (Informative Speaking)

Shiva Senthil (Radio Speaking)

--Last year Hamilton missed out on 1st by 17 points and 2nd by 13 points. This year they closed the gap. They were short of first place by 13 points and short of second place by only 4 points.
--Hamilton was bested by Sun Prairie (2nd at state in 2017) and Madison West (5th at state in 2017).
--The 297 points scored by Hamilton was their third most points scored at a tournament in team history.
--Matt Gnanadass became the first Hamilton student to record 1, 1, 1 preliminary round scores in two categories at the same invite. He did it in impromptu and extemp.
--In bad news, no Charger finished 1st in a category for the first time at any tournament since March of 2016.
--Hamilton earned 50 points in both the informative and impromptu categories. No other teams scored more than 50 points in a single category. 
--Dorie Palmer joins her teammate Emma O'Neill and alum Samantha Moore ('16) as the only Hamilton students to advance to powers in  three different categories at invites throughout their career. 
--Dorie Palmer, Matt Gnanadass, and Ritika Patel double-powered.
--Michelle Wehrman, Hayden Hotchkiss, and Rushmi Ranasaria made their forensics debuts.
--Maanya Kashyap was one place shy of advancing to powers in solo serious. 
--Sharan Gill posted his best scores, going 2, 3, 5. 

THREE-PEAT: Hamilton Wins Third Straight GMC Title

posted Feb 27, 2018, 9:21 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Feb 27, 2018, 9:21 AM ]

By Nicole Hentzell

Brookfield, WI--Hamilton’s forensics team took 25 entries to compete at the Greater Metro Conference (GMC) tournament. The team scored 258 points-- the second most in team history, winning the conference title for the third time in as many years. Eight of the 18 individual categories where won by
Chargers. That is the most conference champions at one tournament in team history. Brookfield East had the next most conference champions (4).

The conference gives out two team awards: sweepstakes and quality points. Hamilton obtained the highest points in both categories but the team that wins the sweepstakes award is not allowed to win the quality points award. This is the second year-in-a-row that the Chargers scored highest in both categories.

19 out of 25 entries finished in the top-three, with Abby Meihsner and Molly Coady finishing fourth.

Conference Champs:

Rachel Betters (Special Occasion Speaking)

Eric Doese (Impromptu  Speaking)

Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, Manola Inthavong (Group Interpretive)

Matt Gnanadass (Extemporaneous Speaking)

Chloe Miller (Solo Humorous Speaking)

Rashelle Pershman (Prose)

Elise Rades (Farrago)

Amy Yadev (Informative Speaking)

2nd Place

Ashley Bissen (Solo Serious Speaking)

Abhi Puri (Radio)

Madison Ruplinger (Informative Speaking)

Mindy Yadev (Demonstration Speaking)

3rd Place

Jordan Koeller (Informative Speaking)

Matt Lehner (Impromptu Speaking)

Rashmi Majjigapu (Solo Serious Speaking)

Emma O'Neill (Storytelling)

Jada Nieves (Poetry)

Ritika Patel & Mallory Remm (Play Acting)

Shiva Senthil (Radio)

--Scored 258 points (2nd most in team history). Next closest team had 208 (Wauwatosa East).

--Matt Gnanadass and Rashelle Pershman repeat, winning their second-straight conference championship in Extemp and Prose, respectfully.

--Amy Yadev won her second conference championship in Informative Speaking. She has now finished in the top-3 at the last three conference tournaments.

--The Chargers swept the Informative Speaking category, placing in the top-4 spots.

Hamilton Strikes Back at Slinger

posted Feb 10, 2018, 7:29 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Feb 10, 2018, 7:29 AM ]

By Nicole Hentzell

Slinger, WI--The Forensics team made an outstanding comeback, taking first place at Slinger on February 3rd. The team scored a total of 278 points, the most Hamilton has scored this season. Hamilton defeated Ronald Reagan High school by a difference of just a single point.

Genevieve DeVeau credits this victory to “All the hard work everyone has been putting in, especially Mr. Holloway talking to all of us.”

Hamilton had sixteen students advance to power rounds, four of which were from informative. A total of eight HHS entries made it to the top three. Matthew Lehners, at his second meet ever, became tournament champion in impromptu.

Shiva Senthil became tournament champion in radio at two consecutive meets.

Rachel Betters (Special Occasion), Matt Gnanadass (Extemp), Abby Meihsner (Moments), Elise Rades (Farrago), and Madison Ruplinger (Informative) were awarded second place and Amy Yadev (Informative) garnered third place.

This was the most runner-up champions in forensics team history.  Hamilton's jump of only having two entries in the top-3 to eight entries this weekend was the largest improvement from one week to another in team history.

In addition to outstanding victory, team members “ how everyone is so warm and happy,” said Head of Marketing Maanya Kashyap.  “We’re all a family, forensics is not just an activity-- it’s a lifestyle.”

Lisa Nelk feels similarly, stating, “They are all super nice and accepting and everyone is so friendly... It’s a community and just one big family and I love that.”

Gnanadass recommends that students who are having trouble powering should “Keep coming in, keep working with coaches and just keep grinding it out. You’ll get their eventually.”

Above all, all forensics members should progressively be working, “To make forensics great again,” said Head of Development Jordan Keller. #MFGA

Tournament Champion

Matthew Lehner (Impromptu)

Shiva Senthil (Radio)

2nd Place

Rachel Betters (S

pecial Occasion)

Matt Gnanadass (Extemp)

Abby Meihsner (Moments)

Elise Rades (Farrago)

Madison Ruplinger (Informative)

3rd Place

Amy Yadev (Informative)

--The team has now tied their record of most large team championships in a season (2).

--Eight entries finishing in the top-3 is the most for Hamilton at tournament outside of Port Washington.

--Shiva Senthil has been named tournament champion in both of the tournaments he's attended. He still has a ways to go to beat Dani Kallis' five championships in a season.

--This season's Chargers are about three power round entries shy of the pace to have the most power round entries in a season.

--Ashley Bissen and Rashmi Majjigapu were one place short of powering.

The Chargers take a Step Back at Marquette

posted Feb 10, 2018, 7:17 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Feb 10, 2018, 7:18 AM ]

Nicole Hentzell

Milwaukee, WI--Hamilton High School forensics team received 4th place at the Marquette Invite on January 27th. The team scored a total of 258 points--just 11 points short of the top spot.

Shiva Senthil became tournament champion in Radio and Amy Yadav was awarded third place in informative--obtaining first place in all of her preliminary rounds.

Forensics Head Coach Barry Holloway received an award for his five years of service in the WFCA.

Hamilton had several novice students make their debut on the team: Jack Costa, Nkem Ebije, Eric Doese, Matthew Lehner, Rashmi Majjigapu, Caleb Nichols, Cynthia Yan. One new member, Eric Doese, even managed to advance to finals at his first meet.

Doese credits his successes from the  experience with the Hamilton debate team, as he explained, “In extemp you give a 7-minute speech, and that is very similar to a speech you would give in a debate round.”

Matthew Lehner also had previous public speaking experience at his church and giving the commencement speech at his 8th grade orientation for the high school school graduating class of 2020.

“I love public speaking and debating political issues,” said Lehner,  “so extemp was a fun category to be in...and it was interesting to see the different diversities, different talents, different strengths in every one of the categories.”

Live entertainment was provided during lunch, encouraging students to dance among the camaraderie.

“It was nice to hear this music and see people dance to it and just put the competition aside,” said Molly Coady.

A total of Nine Hamilton students advanced to finals: Sophia Detweiler (prose),  Rashelle Pershamn (prose), Manola Inthavong (poetry), Chloe Miller (prose), Matt Gnanadass (exemp), Amy Yadev (Informative), Krystal Fedie (informative), as well as Mehak Oberoi and Swathi Prasad (play acting),


This tournament was Krystal Fedie’s second time powering over her last three years on the team. “It feels good to power,” said Fedie, “because it shows I wasn’t really meant for those categories. I didn’t like my speech, so I wasn’t doing well.”

Mindy Yadev believes that forensics is just about having fun: “No matter how you do it is always important to have fun. No matter how you do what you do--just hope for the best.”

Tournament Champion

Shiva Senthil (Radio)

3rd Place

Amy Yadev (Informative)

--This is the first time since March 2016 that Hamilton has not placed in the top-3 at an invite.

--This is only the third time in three years that team had less than three entries place at a tournament. It is the first time since the March of 2016.

--Nine Hamilton students started the season by advancing to finals in their first two tournaments: Sophia Detweiler, Matt Gnanadass, Chloe Miller, Mehak Oberoi, Swathi Prasad, Amy Yadev, Rashelle Pershamn, Manola Inthavong, and Krystal Fedie.

--Amy Yadev went 1,1, 1 in the preliminary rounds of informative.

--Rachel Betters came one place shy of advancing to finals in special occasion.

--Eric Doese advanced to finals in his first forensics meet.

--Hamilton’s conference rivals Wauwatosa East (5) and Brookfield Central (3) had more entries place in finals than Hamilton for the first time in recent memory.

--There were 28 teams at the tournament.

Hamilton Wins Back-to-Back Title at Port Washington

posted Jan 16, 2018, 5:03 AM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Jan 16, 2018, 5:06 AM ]

By Nicole Hentzell

Port Washington, WI--Hamilton forensics students won a back-to-back tournament championship in Port Washington on January 13th- which has never happened before in team history. A total of five Chargers became tournament champions: Rashelle Pershman (Varsity Prose); Chloe Miller (Novice Prose); Amy Yadev (Informative); and Krystal Fedie, Nicole Hentzell, and Manola Inthavong (Group Interpretive).

20 of the team’s 38 entries advanced to finals, one shy of the school record, and 11 entries finished in the top-3, two shy of the school record.

Chloe Miller ‘18 stated, “It was my first forensics tournament and just seeing everyone working together to see people succeed is the best part.” Miller ended up taking first in novice poetry at her very first tournament.

“It was a wonderful experience, especially because public speaking is the number one fear in the entire world, and I feel like it shouldn’t be. Forensics is really cool in that way,” Sophie Detwiler ’18 stated.

Even older members were reminiscing over the beginning of the season, “I like how safe it is,” said Elise Rades ’19. “If you see someone just sitting there, you don’t leave them alone…you talk to them.”

 Other notable finishes at the invite: Matt Matt Gnanadass 2nd place (extemp), Abhi Puri 2nd place (Radio), Madison Ruplinger 2nd place (informative), Mehak Oberoi & Swathi Prasad 3rd place (Play Acting), Molly Coady 3rd place (Informative).

Click here to hear an interview with [coming soon]

Click here to hear an interview with [coming soon]

--Rashelle Pershman is now the back-to-back champion in prose at the Pirate Invite

--Chloe Miller became the first known Charger to win 1st place in her first tournament.

--Sophie Detweiler became the first rookie to double-power in her first tournament.

--Manola Inthavong was one place shy of powering in poetry at this invite last year; she finished 3rd this year.

--Six students made their forensics debut.

--Six rookie entries advanced to powers.

--The Chargers scored 274 points.

--Hamilton’s conference rival Marquette won 1st place in the small team category.

--No students finished with the dreaded score of 5, 5, 5

--There were 18 teams at the tournament.

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