News‎ > ‎


posted Aug 18, 2016, 1:04 PM by Barry Holloway   [ updated Aug 18, 2016, 1:39 PM ]
Article by Barry Holloway
Photo by Denise Lindberg

Whitewater, WI--The WFCA state tournament brought many end-of-the-season successes for the Hamilton forensics team, as the team watched their hard work pay off on a snowy Saturday in April. Hamilton finished their forensics season with a 9th place finish, the second-highest finish by the team in Division 1, as the team scored the most points at state in team history (195). They also had the most entries advance to semi-finals (8) and had the most entries advance to finals (3) in modern team history. The team also had two state champions. Only one other team in the state had more. 

Captain Dani Kallis (pictured, right), senior, was ecstatic with the final results. “I have never been more proud of this forensics team than I was today. We placed 9th, which is the best we’ve ever placed in my history at state. When I started out on freshman year and we took, God bless us, eight people on a giant bus to state, and we did poorly, and today, my final state meet, and we’re ninth in state. I am so proud of this group. They worked their butts off to get where they are, and I can only see bright things in the future for this team.”

Kallis also had a personal reason to be happy. She successfully defended her state title by winning back-to-back state championships in special occasion speaking. Although, the win was bittersweet as the tournament marked the end of her forensics career.

“Knowing I am not going to see [my friends] next year, knowing I’m done with my forensics career was really, really rough…but the future holds a lot of opportunity, and I am very excited to face it, terrified, but excited.”

Matt Gnanadass (pictured, left), sophomore, added to the day’s success by winning a state championship in impromptu speaking and the partnership of Sam Moore, senior, and Erin Magoon, junior, took 4th place in duo interpretation speaking. 

“We’re really happy. It was an awesome day,” said Moore of the team’s success.

Moore, like Kallis, will graduate in the spring, and she took some time after the tournament to reflect on her career and the season. “This has been my favorite season. I just love everyone on the team this year. It makes me really happy to see all the new people and how big it’s gotten to see how much our team has grown. I just think this is a really big year for Hamilton forensics, and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

Senior Andy O’Neill was also a bit reflective about the season’s end and the end of his forensics career, as he and his sister, sophomore, Emma O’Neill finished 7th in play acting. “I am so glad that I took Mr. Holloway’s Honors European Literature class and that he got on his knees and begged me, practically, to join this club. This has been just a great experience, and I am so happy that I did.”

Coach Holloway had no comment when asked about the veracity of O’Neill’s claim that he “got on his knees to beg” O’Neill to join the team. This reporter finds the claim to be unsubstantiated and unlikely.

After struggling through her first two seasons, senior, Tessa Jaskolski powered for her first time at state and only the second time of her career. “It was a lot better than my first state experience,” she explained. “This is my best season, by far, because I never powered in the other seasons.” 

The team earned other honors as, juniors, Kavya Ayalasomayajula and Emily Keith were semi-finalists in play acting; Amy Yadev, sophomore, was a semi-finalist in four minute speaking, and Jack Larson, junior, was a semi-finalist in impromptu speaking.

Click here for Dani Kallis’ post-meet interview

Click here for Andy O’Neill’s post-meet interview

Click here for Sam Moore’s post-meet interview

 --Dani Kallis is now a back-to-back state champion in special occasion speaking and has advanced to finals in her last three trips to state (2014-6th, 2015-1st, 2016-1st).

--Samantha Moore has now advanced to semi-finals in three different categories.

--Matt Gnanadass, Emily Keith, Tessa Jaskolski, Andy O'Neill, and Emma O'Neill advanced out of preliminaries for their first time at state.

--Amy Yadev and Jack Larsen advanced to powers in their first trip to state.

--Hamilton was the only team from the GMC with multiple state champions.

--Madison Memorial has now won the last nine state championships and 13 of the last 15.