Yerington High School senior Grey Hunt has become accustomed to hearing her name called at the Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals, but the two-time defending state winner admitted to being a little nervous after three rounds Saturday.
“The competition this year was really good,” said Hunt, who finished second as a freshman in 2015, before winning as a sophomore in 2016 and a junior in 2017. “Everyone brought their best and honestly, I wasn’t sure where I was going to place.”
She placed first on Saturday in Reno and will once again represent Nevada at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals next month in Washington, D.C.
The poem Hunt recited in the final round was “Weighing In,” by Rhina P. Espaillat, an appropriate title as she described her reaction to hearing her named called as the winner.
“So much relief was felt,” she said. “It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”
Elko High school junior Mikayla De Guzman finished in second place and Sandra Luevano, a junior at East Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, finished third. Bishop Manogue High junior Michael Kerr finished in fourth place.
Hunt, who is the daughter of Todd and Kaylene Hunt of Yerington, won a $500 award and $500 for her high school to promote literacy programs.
Champions representing nine regions were represented at the competition, held at KNPB Channel 5 in Reno. A recap of the competition will be shown on the PBS station at a later date.
Structured similarly to the National Spelling Bee, Poetry Out Loud is focused on literary heritage through memorization and performance of classic and contemporary works. Nearly 3,600 students statewide took part in the competition beginning in the fall, school and regional competitions winnowed the field down to the final nine competitors in the state finals.
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.