The award-winning Montville Township High School Forensics Team successfully competed virtually at the 2021 New Jersey Speech and Debate League (NJSDL) State Championship during the weekend of March 19 through the 20. Thirty-four schools, comprised of 476 students, competed in the tournament. MTHS claimed multiple state championships for the first time since 2015.Based on the strength of a well-rounded performance, the Mustangs took home third place.
The team has been working diligently all season to perfect their pieces and skills for this prestigious tournament. Montville advanced 21 students to elimination rounds. Earning the coveted title of State Champion from MTHS are Maria Papera (Senior) in Improvisational Acting, Victoria Wei (Senior) in Original Oratory, Ashley Xiang (Sophomore) in Informative Speaking, and Ram Pantula (Sophomore) in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate.
In addition to our State Champions, Thomas Chen (Junior) was a finalist in Congressional Debate, Ashley Xiang also was a semi-finalist in Declamation, Hannah Musilli (Freshman) was a semi-finalist in Declamation, Samantha Ko (Sophomore) placed 4th in Humorous Interpretation and was a semi-finalist in Improvisational Acting, Sophia Kuznetsova (Junior) placed 6th in Original Oratory and was a semi-finalist in Impromptu Speaking, Victoria Wei also placed 6th in Impromptu Speaking, Amelia Moon (Junior) placed 5th in Impromptu Speaking, Maria Papera also placed 4th in Program Oral Interpretation, Grace Lo and Haley Tam (Seniors) were semi-finalists in Parliamentary Debate, Tanay Vysysaraju (Sophomore) was a quarter-finalist in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate, Khush Parikh (Sophomore) was a semi-finalist in Junior Varsity Lincoln Douglas Debate, Angeline Agnel (Freshman) was a quarter-finalist in Novice Lincoln Douglas Debate, and the team of Apurva Parasher (Freshman) and Kevin Chen (Freshman) were quarter-finalists in Novice Public Forum Debate.
Maria Papera, the current president of Montville Forensics, stated “It has been a hectic year for everybody, but it is so rewarding to see the team succeed despite these circumstances. After the state tournament was canceled in 2020, we are so grateful to have the chance to compete, even virtually!”
Michael Miller, the head coach of the Forensics team, said “Becoming a Forensics State Champion is an amazing accomplishment for these students, and I couldn’t be prouder of them and the entire team for all of their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm. It was an incredible weekend for Montville Forensics.”
The State Championship Tournament represents the culmination of the regular season for Montville; the team will move onto the District Tournament next week to determine which students get to represent New Jersey (virtually!) at the National Speech & Debate Tournament.
About the Montville Township Forensics Team
The Montville Township High School Forensics Team has been an award-winning powerhouse for over three decades. The team is coached by Michael Miller (teacher at Lazar), Alexandra Iemmello (teacher at MTHS), and Andrew Prescott.
The team competes from October to March in the New Jersey Speech & Debate League, as well as the Newark Catholic Forensics League. Montville Township is a member school of the National Speech & Debate Association.
More information about the New Jersey Speech & Debate League can be found at https://njsdl.org/about/about-the-league/
More information about the National Speech & Debate Association can be found at https://www.speechanddebate.org/mission/
Live Stream of the State Championship Awards Ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhYnuUzM94Y&ab_channel=DavidYastremski