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Morris Area sophomore Thomas McPhee placed third at the Poetry Out Loud state competition Monday at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul. At right is MAHS Poetry Out Loud advisor Dave Johnson. McPhee is the fifth MAHS student to place in the top six at the state competition in the four years MAHS has competed in Poetry Out Loud. Photo courtesy Nic McPhee.

McPhee third in state Poetry Out Loud competition

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McPhee third in state Poetry Out Loud competition
Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

For the third time in four years, a Morris Area student has placed among the top three in the state's Poetry Out Loud competition.

MAHS sophomore Thomas McPhee placed third in the Poetry Out Loud state finals on Monday at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul.

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McPhee became the school's fourth regional champion last month.

He was among 18 competitors in this year's state finals. The top two regional placers in the state's nine Poetry Out Loud regions advance to the state contest.

"He had an excellent day," said MAHS' Poetry Out Loud advisor Dave Johnson. "He was right in the running for a state championship and he ended up third, which is great."

Johnson said the judges' tabulations weren't available, but "I'm guessing the distance between first and third was not big."

MAHS has competed in Poetry Out Loud the last four years. In its first year, Annika Kildegaard placed second in the state, and a year later Mary Hu won the state competition and advanced to the national Poetry Out Loud contest in Washington D.C.

Last year, Alex McIntosh won the regional competition and he and McPhee both qualified for the state competition. McIntosh placed fourth and McPhee placed sixth.

This year, McPhee and Tim Ostby moved on to the regional competition by finishing in a virtual tie during the local POL competition in early February. Matt Cotter placed third but only the top two finishers advance.

"Thomas really put in the work needed to achieve success in this competition," Johnson said. "He's very deserving."

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