Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPHS junior claims second UIL state championship
Mount Pleasant High School junior Connelly Cowan won her second UIL state championship in Informative Extemporaneous Speaking on Wednesday, May 26, in the lobby of the Residence Inn in Frisco.
It was a back-to-back win, technically speaking, as Cowan was the reigning state champion from 2019, and they canceled the event in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With COVID restrictions relaxing, the team of Cowan, Isabella Greco, and Ryan Sharp traveled to Frisco for a more authentic experience and competed virtually from their hotel.
Cowan, Greco, and Sharp had to advance out of both District and Regionals to earn their spots at the state meet. Cowan was named the District Champion in Informative Extemp and then went on to claim the Regional Championship. Sharp placed 3rd at both the District and Regional meets. In Persuasive Extemp, Greco placed third and improved to second at the Regional meet. Only twelve competitors, all of 5A from across the state, make it to the state meet in both events. It is a fantastic accomplishment all by itself.
In both Informative and Persuasive Extemporaneous Speaking, contestants draw five topics, select one, and have thirty minutes to prepare a speech on the chosen topic. Topics are based on current events and include state, national and international levels selected from the general areas of political, social, economic, educational, and cultural interests. The time limit for the oral speech is seven minutes maximum.
On day one, they split the competitors into two virtual “rooms” of six. The top three from each room would advance to finals and compete for state medal placement. Cowan placed 1st in her room and was first overall among all 12 competitors. Sharp placed 4th, narrowly missing advancing by just one point.
Greco earned a fifth-place ranking. Cowan spoke on the topic “What are the causes of recent violent protests in Colombia?” in round one. In finals, she answered, “How will Pakistan be affected by America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan?” to claim the 5A state championship.
“Competing at the state meet this year was a much different experience than 2019 for several reasons,” said Cowan. “For starters, it was held virtually, which introduced new delivery challenges as well as concerns about the wifi connection and video quality. Furthermore, I felt like I had more to lose this time around. Defending a state title comes with immense pressure, but in the end, I know that pressure is what pushed me to work hard. I’m so grateful for the dedication of my coaches, who have given up countless hours to help me succeed. I’m also grateful for the support and encouragement of my teammates and family for always believing in me, even when I doubted myself.”
The win marked Cowan’s sixth UIL State medal overall in Speech and Debate events, with three of those coming from the 2020-2021 school year alone. She now has two gold, two bronze, a 4th, and a 5th place medal, with her senior year still to go.
MP Speech and Debate will wrap up the year at the NSDA National Tournament in Dallas starting on June 14. Enrique Martinez is their coach.
Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPJH Cheerleaders attend camp at The University of Texas
The Mount Pleasant Junior High School Cheerleaders attended the UCA camp at The University of Texas at Austin from May 31-June 3. While at camp, the team received the Spirit Stick and the Junior High Band Chant Champion, Junior High Sideline Champion, Junior High Cheer Champion, and Overall Junior High Squad Champion awards.
Four cheerleaders earned individual accolades. Ava True Fite and Jamie Garrett were named All American Cheerleaders. Given the prestigious “Pin it Forward Award,” a staff member gave a camper for a quality that made them stand out among the rest, went to Aaliyah Delarosa and Chole Wood.
The 2021-2022 MPJH Cheerleaders are under the direction of Christi Lowry.
The squad includes Sanniyah Crabtree, Aaliyah Delarosa, Ashley Espinoza, Ava True Fite (Captain), Jalynn Forsyth, Audrey Garrett, Jamie Garrett, Irlanda Gazca, Analiece Guerrero, Aylin Hernandez, Natalie Hines, Shannon Hines, Jasani Inostros, Kenlee Jaggers (Co-Captain), Mollie Luck, Ailin Quinonez, Anna Beth Sellers, A’London Thomas, Brooklyn White, and Chloe Wood.