SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- In its second year competing in the Patriot Games Classic at George Mason University this past weekend, the Vikings had several impressive results in a forensics tournament that featured schools from all over the country. A total of 90 schools competed in the tournament, and Union Catholic finished in 21st place overall.  

Sophomore Yvonne Agyapoe advanced to Finals in Declamation and finished in 2nd place, Juniors Benjamin Abood and Kaitlyn Monahan advanced to Quarterfinals in Original Oratory, and Senior Gabriela Hernandez advanced to Quarterfinals in Humor Interpretation.

UC's Public Forum Debate performances were also impressive. The team of Senior Nicholas Jacus and Sophomore Anthony Madsen advanced as the 32nd seed to Double Octafinals (Top 32), the team of Seniors Gabriel Abood and Caitlin Roder advanced as the 33rd seed to Triple Octafinals (Top 64), the team of Senior Madelyn Kemler and Junior Nadia Blouin advanced as the 50th seed to Double Octafinals (Top 32), and the team of Juniors Meghan Mahaffey and Melina Piatti-Chayan advanced as the 16th overall seed to Triple Octafinals.

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Yvonne Agyapong was in shock to learn she scored so well and attributed her success to practice and being coachable.

"I'm both shocked and honored," said Agyapong. "I think the shock comes from this being my first year in a high school forensics program, as well as this being my second competition of the school year. I told myself that I would really use the advice and correction of my coaches to improve, so I practiced with Mr. Rotondo and Mr. Sagendorf, as well as with my fellow forensics participants, to gather a range of opinions and perceptions."

Agyapong thanked her teammates and coaches for their input.

"I would like to thank my friends for listening to my speech over and over again and ceaselessly encouraging me. I would also like to thank Mr. Rotondo and Mr. Sagendorf for all of their help and for pushing me to go to GMU to compete."

Union Catholic Head Coach Mr. Edward Sagendorf was thrilled with how his team performed and said the trip to George Mason is another example of the great opportunities Union Catholic gives its students. 

"At UC, there are lots of opportunities, not just within the school, but there are lots of opportunities for you to expand outside school and still have great educational experiences,'' said Coach Sagendorf. "That's something that distinguishes Union Catholic from other schools. You have all these different trips and real life experiences and hands on opportunities here for learning, which allows our students to grow essential skills.''

The team looks to keep the momentum going this weekend when they compete at Ridge High School for their second league meet of the year.