MPHS State Champion Speech team members (L to R) Connelly Cowan, Coach Enrique Martinez, Taylor Hubbs, and Anthony Orellana
UIL State Champion Connelly Cowan (left) and UIL State Silver medalist Taylor Hubbs (right)
Contact: Kelly Cowan
MPHS seniors claim UIL state gold and silver medals
Mount Pleasant High School’s recent graduates, Connelly Cowan and Taylor Hubbs claimed gold and silver medals in Informative Extemporaneous Speaking at Austin’s UIL State Speech championships on May 24-25. MPHS was also named the 5A State Champion speech team for the 2021-2022 school year, a first in school history.
In Informative 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. Competitors must cite sources in the speech, and while notecards are permitted, most contestants at the 5A state level deliver their speech entirely from memory. The time limit for the oral address is seven minutes maximum.
Cowan and Hubbs 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 claimed the Regional Championship. Hubbs placed second at both the District and Regional meets. As a result, only twelve competitors in all of 5A from across Texas make it to the State Meet, a fantastic accomplishment.
On day one, they split competitors into two rooms of six. The top three from each chamber would advance to finals and compete for state medal placement. Cowan and Hubbs each placed first in their respective rooms, setting them up to compete in the finals the next day. Cowan spoke on the topic, “What are the causes of political polarization in the United States?” while Hubbs answered, “What progress is the United States making in space?” in round one. Day two would see the top six speakers in the State compete for state medal placement.
Cowan answered, “What are the primary causes of violent crime in the United States today?” while Hubbs explored, “How is the conflict in Ukraine affecting Europe’s economy?”
Cowan claimed the 5A State Championship for the third year in a row. The win marked Cowan’s eighth and final UIL State medal overall in Speech and Debate events, and she closed out her UIL career with three gold, a silver, two bronze, a fourth, and a fifth-place medal. Hubbs ended her UIL career on a high note with her first UIL state medal.
In addition, Mount Pleasant High School claimed the team State Championship in Speech and Debate events for the 2021-2022 schoolyear. Each time a student places at State, the team earns state points. Therefore, the higher a student places at State, the more points they make for their team. The Speech State Championships are the final competitions of the year, and when they added them all up, MPHS earned the Gold plaque for having the most points for the year. Those points were made by team members Cowan, Hubbs, and Anthony Orellana.
MP Speech and Debate will wrap up the year at the NSDA National Tournament in Dallas starting June 12 in Louisville, KY. Enrique Martinez coaches them.