NORFOLK - Hartington-Newcastle junior Sam Harms won the Overall Outstanding Male Performer award for the second year in a row at the Class C2 State Play Production Competition in Norfolk on Thursday.
Harms becomes the fifth student from Cedar County to be recognized in consecutive years and is the 16th person in state history.
“He is an exceptional talent and he works hard,” said HNS director AJ Johnson. “That is why he has been successful and our team has been successful because he doesn’t goof off in practice just because he is talented.”
Johnson said others follow the example set by Harms at practice, and that it really shows during the performances on stage.
Harms is the second Wildcat to win the award in back-to-back years. Alec Fuelberth won Overall Outstanding Male Performer in 2011 and 2012 along with two Hartington High state championships.
Other Cedar County residents to win in consecutive years are Coleridge’s Laure Nieman in 2004-05, Wynot’s Spencer Lee in 2001-02, and Randolph’s Nick Bradley from 96-98.
Bradley is the only person in Nebraska One Act history to win the honor three consecutive years.
It is something Harms will have the opportunity to do again his senior year next fall.
“I definitely believed in myself,” said Harms. “Of course there were doubts, but I think sticking with it and working hard throughout the entire season really got us there.”
Harms was one of three HNS performers to receive an Outstanding Performance award, but Harms was the only Overall Outstanding Performer from HNS this year. Harms was recognized alongside his sister, senior Belle Harms, and good friend and fellow junior Shaye Morten.
Johnson said he believes that the bond the three have off stage really contributed to their quality performance on stage.
“I think it helps with chemistry, I really do,” said Johnson. “There are scenes where it is Sam and Belle, Belle and Shaye, Shaye and Sam, and they don’t have to fake chemistry because it is already there. They already spend a lot of time together so there is a connection there already.”
Hartington-Newcastle has performed comedies in both years that Harms has been recognized with this award. As a sophomore, Harms played a high school student band director, and this year he played ‘The Black Stache’ in a prequel to the well known Peter Pan story.
If counting the merger, Hartington-Newcastle is now the second school to have multiple students win the award in back-to-back years. Cedar Bluffs was the first to do so when Jesse Desler and Sarah Buchanan won Overall Outstanding Male and Female Performers in 2001 and 2002.
As for next year, Harms sets his expectations high for his senior year.
“I still expect to keep on winning, and I feel as if we are basically a dynasty now.”