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Freeman Speech Students Compete, Earn Trophies at National Meet

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5550dacd36b04 Junior Emily Klein and senior Hannah Neil with their trophies.
Senior Hannah Neil and junior Emily Klein take a moment to reflect on qualifying for a national speech tournament.
Junior Emily Klein and senior Hannah Neil with their trophies.

Two Freeman speech team students competed at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) held May 8-9 at Lincoln Southwest High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Senior Hannah Neil competed against 171 other competitors in Dramatic Interpretation (DI), while both Hannah and junior Emily Klein competed against 121 other competitors in Humorous Interpretation (HI).  The girls began competition with three rounds on Friday.  On Saturday, they competed in a fourth round before quarterfinal breaks were posted.  Both Emily and Hannah advanced into the quarterfinal round in HI. The quarterfinal round was composed of the top 30 competitors at the tournament. Hannah continued to advance into the semi-final round on Saturday and ended her high school speech career amongst the top 12 in the nation in Humorous Interpretation. Both Emily and Hannah were recognized on stage at the awards ceremony on Sunday, May 10, and were given genuine crystal trophies for their accomplishments.   

In order to attend NIETOC, a competitor must qualify in one of three ways: at large, by bids, or by automatic qualifying.  Although Hannah had earned one of her two needed bids to qualify in one event early in the speech season, both girls secured their admittance to the tournament by placing in the top three in their respective events at the Nebraska State Speech Championships in March.  Emily has secured one bid for next year's NIETOC by advancing to the quarterfinals in this year's tournament.  Next year's NIETOC will be held in Denver, CO, on May 13-15, 2016.  

NIETOC is the largest tournament of champions of its kind in the nation.  The mission of NIETOC is to bring the nation's best and brightest students and teachers together and to provide exposure to a diverse group of performers and literature in Oral Interpretation. In addition to competing at the NIETOC, Emily and Hannah had the opportunity to experience opening and closing ceremonies, win scholarships and door prizes, attend workshops, and network with some of the top competitors and coaches from around the United States.  Over 500 competitors from 28 states were in attendance. Hannah commented that the diversity was one of the highlights of the tournament.  "In just one of my rounds, I had someone from California, Florida, New York, and Colorado.  Everyone was extremely talented too.  I knew they were going to be, because it was a national tournament, but it was just crazy!" said Hannah.   

The future looks bright for both Emily and Hannah.  Emily will return next year to lead the Freeman Speech Team while Hannah will be heading to New York City this fall to attend the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts to study film and television performance.  

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