Borchers-Williams caps Pioneer speech career with top-5 finish at nationals

Borchers-Williams caps Pioneer speech career with top-5 finish at nationals
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NEBRASKA CITY – Speech runs in the blood of the Borchers-Williams family.

Tim and Susanne participated in speech throughout their high school and college careers. They also coached while attending graduate school. Susanne is the head coach of the Nebraska City High School speech team.

Their son, Oliver, just finished his Pioneer speech career with a Nebraska state championship in extemporaneous (extemp) speaking in March, a third place finish in expository speaking at the National Individual Event Tournament of Champions in Denver in May, and he placed fifth in international extemporaneous speaking at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. in June.

After advancing through the first 12 rounds in three days at the national tournament, getting past the quarterfinals and accomplishing cross-examination in the semi-finals and finals, Oliver learned of his biggest speech accomplishment in a Walgreens parking lot.

“It was probably the most surprising moment of my speech career, but at the same time it’s not something that was unexpected, at least for me as a competitor. Giving the speech was incredibly exciting. Just talking with other competitors in the round. Really amazing people that advance that far.”

He says the awards ceremony was a “nice blend of nerves, anticipation, excitement and a little bit of pride.”

There were 7,105 total entries from 49 states representing 1,298 schools at the national tournament. Another Nebraska City High School graduate, Chloe Higgins, competed in informative speaking as her main event and poetry interpretation as her supplementa event.

Oliver says extemp was his main event through his four-year high school career. He competed in 16 regular and postseason speech tournaments his senior year at NCHS.

In the extemporaneous speaking event, Oliver explains you select three questions, select one and begin your research.

“You have half an hour to research and write a speech about it using information you previously gathered. You write the speech, you answer the question and then you present it from memory, usually five to seven minutes.”

His appearance at the national tournament this summer was his second-straight. In 2017, he was a quarter-finalist in Birmingham, Ala.

Oliver plans to attend Miami (OH) University in the fall to study political science and international studies.

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Oliver Borchers-Williams Speech Profile


2018 state champion in extemporaneous speaking
2017 state runner-up in both extemp and original oratory
2016 state runner-up in extemp

National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (This tournament is not “nationals,” but is considered to be one of the most prestigious national-level tournaments):

He competed in the National Individual Event Tournament of Champions in Denver, May 11-13, 2018, making octafinals (final 60) in oratory, and winning third place in expository speaking.  In overall sweepstakes awards, Oliver won 4th place (by himself) in the category for schools with one-two entries.


2018: He won 5th place in International extemporaneous speaking at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fl (this is THE national tournament). More than 250 competitors representing more than 200 high schools across the country. Oliver was the only Nebraska competitor to advance to the final round (top six) in a main speech category at the tournament.

2017: Oliver was a quarter-finalist in International Extemporaneous Speaking, The tournament was held in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Full interview with Oliver Borchers-Williams (will air Sunday, July 1 at 9 a.m. on B103 and KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM)

Follow Hunter on Twitter: @TheBurnRadio