This year’s Illinois High School Association State Speech Final was primed as a showdown between Parth Patel of Huntley High School and Vinesh Kannan of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Last year both extempers, along with Saumya Jain of Neuqua Valley High School, shared the state championship after an unbreakable three-way tie. However, the anticipated story did not go as planned as Kannan finished one rank out of the final round and Moyo Abiona of Carl Sandburg High School defeated Patel by one rank to win Sandburg’s first-ever extemporaneous speaking state championship.
Abiona had an interesting road to the final, being one of the last extempers to make the break into the round with a cumulative score of twelve. Once there, though, Abiona took control of the tournament, winning three of the five available first place ranks. Although Patel had a better cumulative score across all five judges, Illinois drops the lowest rank from a competitor’s final round total. This enabled Abiona to shed a fifth place rank and win with a 1-1-1-2 composite versus Patel’s 1-1-2-2.
Aside from Patel, the final round also featured another return finalist, Bethany Dain of Belleville West High School. Dain took fifth place at the tournament, which was an improvement over her sixth place finish last year.
Steven Chun of Hinsdale Central High School, who finished third, was the only extemper in the final round to have pre-qualified for this year’s Extemp TOC at Northwestern University. By virtue of TOC rules, which allow for the automatic qualification of 2015 state finalists (as long as their tournaments are held prior to April 2), Illinois qualified five new extempers to this year’s TOC. Those acquiring a qualifying leg are indicated in italics below.
Here are the results of the 2015 Illinois High School Association State Speech Final (Click here for tab sheet):
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