Marlon Poroj was the top finisher in the Tri-County Forensic League State Qualifier Student Congress competition in March, and Shawn Haq came in right behind him in the second slot position. Although Shawn put in some long hours of preparation, he was not at his best at the state competition. However, Marlon came quite close to making it to the Semi-Finals round. How close?
Well, each competition pits around 16-17 legislators against each other and at the end of each round, a collection of 3-5 judges submit their ballots. Marlon had a 2nd place finish in one round, and a 7th place finish in another. However, a rough start to his second day in the competition left him with a low-ranked round that acted like an albatross around his neck. Here’s the interesting point: Although judges are asked to rank the competitors on a 1-17 basis, the administrators of the competition reduce all assigned scores in the 11-17 range down to a 10. Well, Marlon did pick up three “natural” 10′s in the competition (out of nine judges), but meanwhile he had competitors (who would be awarded semi-finalist positions in his stead) receiving rankings deep into the teens. However, because those higher scores were reduced down to 10, where Marlon’s “natural” 10′s were, those competitors got away with having rounds that were not on par with Marlon. Marlon ended up finishing 35th out the 90 seats statewide that were in contention at the tournament.
Emily Mercer was also awarded a position at the CHSSA State Tournament through the Thematic Interpretation piece she created entitled “Gone Too Soon”. Each year, a mere 56 positions are available state-wide in each Individual Event. Emily was up against some tough competition, but was able to secure a tie with four other competitors for 26th Place, leaving her as the top finisher at the state competition amongst the six entrants representing the Tri-County Forensic League in Thematic Interpretation.