The Mason County Central forensics team is the Class C/D state runner-up for the 2021 season, marking a continuation of the school’s success in the competitive acting and public speaking activity, even in the midst of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association (MIFA) state tournament was held Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1. It’s the school’s fourth time as state runner-up, according to Jeff Tuka, MCC High School principal.
As a team, MCC came in second in its class behind Greenhills School of Ann Arbor. Among all the schools competing in the state tournament — including Class A and B schools, some with twice as many competitors — MCC ranked 12th overall in terms of points, according to data posted on Facebook by coach Tom Richert.
Richert stated he “could not be more proud” of the team.
He noted that among MCC’s 14 competitors at the state tournament, seven of those placed in their respective categories.
Among the finalists were two state champions — Ryland Gigante, who placed first in dramatic interpretation, and Nicole Bowen, who placed first in prose interpretation.
Other finalists were September Foisy, second place in prose interpretation; Roxy Jeffries, third place in dramatic interpretation; Blake Tucker, fourth place in sales; Olivia Donahue, fifth place in oratory speaking; and Katelynn Ross, seventh place in sales;
Richert also said 12 of the 14 competitors made it to the semifinal round during the tournament.
The 2021 season was a challenge for MIFA member schools, and MCC was no exception. All competitions were held via Zoom due to COVID-19.
“It’s been a weird year,” coach Tom Richert told the Daily News earlier in the season.
He said he was glad the kids had an opportunity to compete again after 2020, when the pandemic all but wiped out the season, leading to cancellations throughout the year, and only an online exhibition tournament in May to make up for the loss of invitationals.
This year, at least students were able to hone their skills and earn their accolades, even if it was under decidedly different circumstances.
Richert said he and the team tried to make the best of it.
“What they do in this situation, they’re all one-to-one with their computers, so I assign them to their classrooms so they can go and perform without a mask on,” Richert said, adding that judges would observe remotely, and score accordingly.
“Some schools do it all at home (but I wanted to) make it kind of special,” Richert said.
During the last regular season in 2019, MCC placed third in the state after winning the top spot the year before. Richert said earlier in the season that he’s eager to get back to in-person competition, so MCC can have an even better chance of reclaiming that first place trophy.