Katie Walerius


It seemed only fitting that Katie Walerius would qualify for her first-ever state speech competition in her senior year.
"When I saw that I advanced, I was very excited," she said. "I was happy to see that my speech experience is not over yet. It is very rewarding to go to state this year. I have been working towards this goal for years, and it feels great to finally reach it."
Walerius, the lone senior and captain on this year's team, quickly turned her thoughts to her teammates.
"I am so proud of my team and the work they put in this year," she said. "It has been such a different year, and they all adapted and gave it their all. I know they did not advance, but they should all be so proud of what they have accomplished this season. I wish them the best of luck next season."
Walerius placed third in the Original Oratory category in the Section 3A virtual "live" meet on Saturday. The top three finishers in each category advanced to next weekend's virtual "live" state meet.
"We are all extremely proud of Katie," said Minneota coach Kim Gades. "She has worked so hard the last two years when she made the transition to a PA category, and it has shown.
"Katie had a great season last year, but we missed out on subsections and sections, so she didn’t get to see where she could take that piece, unfortunately. This year, however, she was undeterred. She took her topic and ran with it. She’s been polishing up her performance over the last several weeks, and we’re excited to see her compete at the state meet."
The Vikings placed ninth out the 16 competing teams in Section 3A. Seven of the eight Minneota competitors advanced to the final round.
The others placing and earning team points for the Vikings were:
Joe Voit, fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking, Joey Clark, fourth in Storytelling, Cora Fischer, fifth in Great Speeches, Wyatt Pohlen, sixth in Storytelling, Emma Lipinski, sixth in Great Speeches, and Thomas Belaen, sixth in Storytelling.
Walerius speech for Original Oratory is about cancelling the negative aspects of diet culture.
"I chose this topic with the help of my coach (Gades)," said Walerius. "I was struggling to find a topic and she had mentioned diet culture. I immediately loved the idea.
"I think there are so many people who are focused on what the world thinks of them. The goal of my speech is to help people realize that they don’t have to look like the world is telling them to. Everyone is different for a reason and we should not go through extreme measures to please others. I hope the message of my speech has reached people."
Walerius has placed high in most of her speeches during the regular season. Still, she was nervous whjile awaiting the final results.
"While we were waiting for placings to be announced, a few of us on the team were coloring," said Walerius. "Coloring kept my mind busy instead of worrying about results."
While waiting for the final scores, Walerius also passed the time by FaceTiming her mother who was unable to make it to the meet.
Walerius said there were many times during the season when she wasn't confidence or pleased with her performance. However, she admitted that she felt her performance on Saturday "was strong".
"I remembered everything I was supposed to say, and I believe I had the right energy level for each part of my speech," she explained. "I was pleased with my performance."

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