SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Union Catholic Forensics Team completed its best season in several years when the Vikings secured a second-place finish in the Newark Catholic Forensic League with a strong runner-up showing at Saturday's home meet.
In addition to its great team finish, eight members of the squad qualified to compete at the Grand National Tournament, which will be held Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. The national qualifiers are Gabe Abood and Caitlin Roder (Public Forum), Nadia Blouin and Madelyn Kemler (Public Forum), Gaby Henandez (Dramatics), Yvonne Agyapong and Casey Arias (Declamation), and Sabrina Mayor (Original Oratory).
The Vikings turned in several great performances this past Saturday.
In the Varsity Division, Yvonne Agyapong finished first in Declamation, Caitlin Roder and Gabe Abood finished second in Public Forum, Casey Arias placed second in Declamation, Keivn Caffrey was second in Declamation. In Original Oratory, Sabrina Mayor placed second, Kaitlin Monahan finished fourth, Ben Abood was fifth, and Nola Gialanella placed sixth. Gaby Hernandez had a strong showing in Dramatics with a second-place finish.
In JV Public Forum, Rajit Sharma and Anthony Madsen finished first, Reema Sharma and Ava Perona placed second, Jacqueline Carey and Alana Beardsley were third, Courtney Lucius and Taylor Benjamin finished fourth, and Ana Kwiatkowski and Allison Julve placed fifth.
Senior Caitlin Roder, who is making her fourth trip to nationals, said it's a thrill to be part of the Forensics team.
"It's so great to be part of the Forensics team here,'' said Roder. "To see the team continue to grow in numbers and in talent over the last few years and the strong foundation that has been formed by the younger members of the team is so exciting. It's just so rewarding to see all the hard work pay off. Everyone on the team works so hard, and the coaches have prepared all of us so well. And having eight of us going to nationals really speaks volumes about how strong our team is.''
Head Coach Edward Sagendorf is ecstatic with how his team performed on Saturday and throughout the season.
"Union Catholic's performance this last tournament was a testament to the strength and resilience of the team,'' said Coach Sagendorf. "Not only did numerous students qualify for nationals, but the school placed second for the year. This is a historic win for both the team and the greater UC community. The entire coaching staff is incredibly proud of the hard work and determination of all students. We are hoping for an equally strong showing at this year's grand national tournament in Chicago."
Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students' achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit www.unioncatholic.org.