NCRA celebrates the Best. Friday. Ever.

NCRA members can kick off their holiday shopping season on Nov. 24 by taking advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways being offered with the purchase of membership renewals, store items, educational sessions, and more.

NCRA members who renew their membership or join on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Registered members who renew on Black Friday will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Speed or Realtime Contests held at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Members who renew their membership on Nov. 24 will also be eligible to win one of two Kindle Fires. That means the members who qualify may have three opportunities to win!

Other Best Friday Ever specials include a 20 percent discount on all NCRA Store items purchased using the promotional code FRIDAY at checkout. In addition, members who register for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference and book their stay at The Don CeSar will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event.

Members who purchase an NCRA e-seminar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-seminar while members who purchase a Skills Test on Black Friday will be entered into a drawing to win one of two free Skills Test registrations.

Members are urged to mark their calendars to be sure they don’t miss the discounts and giveaways being offered only on Nov. 24.

Jeff Weigl new speed champ; Dee Boenau wins realtime

Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, won the 2016 Speed Contest, held on Aug. 3, during the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo in Chicago. Weigl turned in a 220 Literary with six errors, a 230 Legal Opinion with 26 errors, and a 280 Q&A with 20 errors to earn the crown. In second place overall was Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CRC, of St. Charles, Ill., and in third was Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Shreveport, La.

Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Sarasota, Fla., took top honors in the Realtime Contest, the second time she has earned the title. Boenau’s 200 Literary leg had only four errors and the 225 testimony had seven. Ron Cook, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Seattle, Wash., took second place overall in the competition. Amanda Maze, RMR, CRR, CRC, of Brighton, Colo., placed in third for the Realtime Contest.

The Speed Contest consists of three legs: literary at 220 wpm, legal opinion at 230 wpm, and testimony at 280 wpm. Contestants have a total of 90 minutes per leg for transcription. The Realtime Contest consists of two legs: literary at 200 wpm and testimony at 225 wpm. Contestants must turn in an ASCII file immediately following the end of dictation. In both contests, contestants must receive 95 percent accuracy to qualify; accuracy also determines the winners.

Just do it

Thinking of competing in speed or realtime contests? Just do it, say the pros.

By Annemarie Roketenetz

Many of the 2015 Speed and Realtime contestantsA major highlight at the NCRA Convention & Expo is always the Speed and Realtime Contests, and this year in Chicago will be no exception. As past and new contenders begin to gear up for the competitions, the JCR recently put out a call to previous champions in both divisions to find out what motivates them to compete as well as to share tips and strategies they rely on when prepping for the challenge.

What about the Speed and Realtime Contests attracted you to participate?

Knowing I am a competent reporter is one thing, but wondering if I could hang in there with those who have participated in the contests is what motivated me to enter. It’s something I had always wanted to do and I found myself at a time and place in life where I could go for it.

Juli LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CRC

2015 Speed Contest Winner

Wilmington, Del.

The contests are fun, and the people you meet are usually great.

Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CRC

2010 Realtime Contest Winner

Sarasota, Fla.

I wanted to experience that upper level of competition in my own head and push myself. I had realized how far I’d come in practicing so seriously for all my certifications and what a better reporter I was every day because of it and realized that the practice, if nothing else, would make me a much better reporter!

Michelle Kirkpatrick, RDR, CRR, CRC

National Realtime Contest qualifier

Broomfi eld, Colo.

I wanted to be able to test my skills and read about the speed and realtime contests and was always curious.

Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR

NCRA Speed and Realtime Contest qualifier

North Brunswick, N.J.

Never had any interest in speed contests, but I wanted the bragging rights of doing well in the realtime contest.

Mirabai Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC

Realtime Contest qualifier

New York, N.Y.

Once you participate one time, you’re hooked. It’s like an addiction. I missed an annual convention a few years ago, and the worst part was not getting to compete!

Donna J. Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC

Realtime Contest qualifier

Pickerington, Ohio

Just the personal challenge of keeping up with such an elite group of colleagues. Knowing I qualify actually gives me confidence that I can handle just about any assignment in my everyday job.

Patricia Orsini Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Speed and Realtime Contest qualifier

New York, N.Y.

Because machine shorthand is a skill, I have looked at speedbuilding as a sport or game since I first started learning theory. The NCRA Speed and Realtime Contests are the Olympics, and having the opportunity to participate is an absolute thrill.

Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC

Speed and Realtime Contest medal-winner

Edmonton, AB, Canada

When I sat down to practice for the contest, I gave myself permission to write for speed. It was as if I had thrown off the shackles, a very freeing experience. This put me on a quest to write short and conflict-free.

Donna M. Urlaub, RMR, CRR

Speed Contest medal-winner

Chicago, Ill.

How far in advance do you begin to prepare to compete?

When I first started competing, six months in advance. As my baseline speed over time got better as a result of competing over the course of years, I started about three months in advance.

Alan H. Brock, RDR, CRR

2003 and 2011 Speed Contest Winner

Boston, Mass.

This year, I started in March but only because I was on vacation in February. Last year I did not start nearly soon enough! And my results showed it.

Michelle Kirkpatrick

I’m always preparing. I maintain practice for the simple reason that if I don’t, my accuracy starts failing. And my consumers deserve better than that.

Kathryn A. Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC

Speed and Realtime Contest qualifier

Caseyville, Ill.

About a month before the contest.

Patricia Orsini Nilsen

About a month and a half out, I will begin to get back into speedbuilding one or two times a week, which really amounts to just trying to recover the speed that I have inevitably lost over the course of the year being away from timed dictation. The month leading up to the contest is when I really begin a concerted, consistent practice regimen. I do my best to practice every single day during this time, for as little as ten minutes to as long as an hour.

Jeffrey Weigl

What does your prepping entail to compete?

I try to practice Q&A material as much as possible with ev360 Ultimate.

Dee Boenau

“Practicing with a purpose” is key. For the realtime contest, working out the kinks in my dictionary and in my writing, just like with the realtime certifications practice but to a greater degree. For the speed contest, learning to write shorter and learning to scramble faster and faster, just like with the speed certifications practice but to a greater degree!

Michelle Kirkpatrick

I practiced with past Speed Contests, mainly. I also used Realtime Coach for the realtime contest prep. I realtime every day at work, so I just made sure to add new entries to my dictionary and learned new briefs and phrases.

Anthony D. Frisolone, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI

Speed Contest participant

Staten Island, N.Y.

I always hear people say that fast depositions are practice. Not for me. I like to put in speed tapes (yes, tapes!) and speed them up even faster. Then I turn on the television and find the most obscure show to practice getting new words into my dictionary.

Donna J. Karoscik

My speed practice entails warm-up with finger drills followed by speedbuilding at levels at least 20 wpm above the actual contest speeds. I have not yet done any specific training for the realtime contest. My game plan when participating has been to pretend it is a speed contest and just try to stay on top of the dictation as best I can without actually worrying about the realtime translation.

Jeffrey Weigl

What do you take away from the experience of competing?

It helped me become a far better reporter. Almost as important is the pleasure of making new friends, of the warm support the contestants give newcomers.

Alan H. Brock

It’s great rubbing elbows and just being in the same room with some of the best writers in the country. Everyone is very supportive of each other and is genuinely happy for other reporters that do well.

Rich Germosen

Friendships with my fellow competitors. There’s a saying that if you want to become a better musician, play with musicians who are better than you. This also applies to our profession. That and the deadline of a contest keep me accountable to practice.

Kathryn A. Thomas

It was a great experience, and I am excited to try again now that I am familiar with the format and procedure. It’s an honor to be able to sit next to the best writers in the country (and Canada).

Myrina A. Kleinschmidt, RMR, CRR

National Speed Contest qualifier

Wayzata, Minn.

It’s nothing more than self-satisfaction! There’s also a nice camaraderie built among the contestants.

Patricia Orsini Nilsen

Do you get nervous before the contests and, if so, what do you do to help calm your nerves?

I was nervous right before each take started, which surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect, certainly didn’t think I would be nervous after 28 years as a reporter. But I guess it becomes real when you’re actually there at the start of the competition. To calm myself down, I just had to remind myself that I was only there to prove to myself what I was capable of, no one else’s expectations mattered, and if I didn’t get a grip and go for it, I wouldn’t know.

Juli LaBadia

It can be a mind game. I wasn’t nervous at all in Philadelphia in 2012. Next year in Nashville my hands were sweaty, and I was nervous compared to the previous year. When I hear the words “Ready, begin,” I take a really deep breath, let it out, and then close my eyes and write.

Rich Germosen

I had nothing to lose by entering the contest so I didn’t really get nervous. On the day of the contest, I drove in from my house in Staten Island, got stuck in New York tra­ffic, and made it in the nick of time, so I had just enough time to set up, warm up, and get ready to write. I had no time to get nervous. I don’t recommend that strategy either. I should have gotten a room for the night before the contest.

Anthony D. Frisolone

Not really. I’m usually too busy visiting with colleagues I haven’t seen since the last convention!

Kathryn A. Thomas

Absolutely! I tend to shut myself off from the outside world and try to stay in my own head. I find that once warmed up properly for a contest, listening to music and avoiding any conversation or interaction to be very effective in staying in the zone and keeping myself calm and concentrated. A deep breath and concerted effort to relax my shoulders at the start of each test goes a long way.

Jeffrey Weigl

The adrenaline rush I experience before and during the dictation is almost disabling, most notably quaking hands. My only words of advice: Keep doing it. Practice to new material, pretend you’re at the contest, and write it like it counts.

Donna M. Urlaub

Do you have any special good luck rituals you rely on before you compete?

Good preparation trumps ritual!

Alan H. Brock

I like to wear these lucky red socks on contest day. Kidding! I don’t like to do a ton of warm up in the room pre-dictation. I close my eyes, zone out, and try to forget that this is the contest. Usually in the first sentence of dictation I find myself thinking: Okay, this counts … let’s go. Then I try to close my eyes and zone out. That works best for me.

Rich Germosen

I went to the gym that morning as I usually do, and the workout helped me stay calm and allowed me to be focused on something other than being nervous. I also thought about my dad a lot that morning. He was very supporting of my reporting career and always told me to be the best at what I do. Even though I didn’t come anywhere close to even qualifying, he would have been proud of me for even trying.

Anthony D. Frisolone

I throw on some sort of T-shirt that makes me happy, maybe a sentimental piece of jewelry.

Patricia Orsini Nilsen

Just get a good night’s sleep. If you can, arrive more than a day before so that you can acclimate yourself to the environs, just kind of hang out, and have private time to practice in your room.

Donna M. Urlaub

What advice do you have for first­-time contestants for preparing themselves?

The results never, ever turn out the way you think. Go in with the mindset that you are there for the experience. Be relaxed, and don’t take the competitions so seriously.

Dee Boenau

It’s fun to prepare, and most especially it’s a pleasure to see how the preparation makes you a better reporter.

Alan H. Brock

The tests are slower than you think!

Mirabai Knight

Focus on doing your best, not where you’ll end up on the scoreboard. There is a great deal of pride in knowing you’ve done your best.

Donna J. Karoscik

Definitely attend the practice session the afternoon before! This allows you to become accustomed to the dictators’ voices, write the previous years’ contest material, catch up with and meet fellow sufferers, and just all around settle down and settle in.

Donna M. Urlaub

What is the one tip you would give to some­ one who is considering competing?

You have absolutely nothing to lose by putting yourself out there, especially if you go into it with no expectations except to do your personal best. What’s the worst that could happen that you disappoint yourself? But what if you pass every take instead?

Juli LaBadia

You will enjoy the experience alone even if you do not qualify, and you will meet some great new friends. You have nothing to lose by competing. And you never know; even if it’s your first year competing, that doesn’t mean you won’t win. Last year’s competition is proof of that!

Michelle Kirkpatrick

If you’re an RMR or a CRR and you’ll be at the convention, sign up for the contest. You never know unless you try. Just do it and see how you do.

Rich Germosen

Don’t worry about it. The stakes are not that high.

Mirabai Knight

Just do it.

Dee Boenau

Do you have any advice for people even if they don’t think they want to compete?

Practice does make you better, and you should keep working on refining your dictionary, even 30 years into a career. You owe it to yourself to not become complacent and to be the best reporter that you can be.

Juli LaBadia

We have every reason to be our very best if we want to see our professions grow and thrive. You might just be the next dark horse!

Dee Boenau

Find some way to push yourself. Somewhere. Comfort is fatal.

Kathryn A. Thomas

I would recommend that anyone who is qualified to participate does compete at some point. It has energized me to be better and I am now practicing for Chicago.

Myrina A. Kleinschmidt


Why enter the speed contest?

By Alan H. Brock

Why enter the speed contest? The answer really can be reframed as: Why do we want more speed?

In our everyday work as court reporters, we are constantly thinking, evaluating what we hear and how to render it on our realtime screens. Was that word in or and, imminent or eminent, cost or costs? We want our realtime to be as close to perfect as possible, even if no one else is seeing it, because every mistranslate or untranslate represents time that we have to spend making corrections after our session is over. Time is money; the more time I have to spend working on a transcript after the session is over, the less money I am making per hour worked and the less time I have for other activities in my life.

Of course, if we are taking speakers whose velocity of speech is at the outer limits of our capabilities, then we can’t a­fford to be thinking about those niceties of writing of homonyms and word boundaries, of punctuation, or even of understanding what we are hearing. All we can do is hold onto our hats and try to keep from being bucked o­ the speedy horse. Our guiding principle becomes just getting something down and figuring it out later!

So back to that first question: Why more speed? The more speed we have, the less often we have to spend e­ ort just to keep up and the more we can focus on excellent realtime — and the more money per total hours worked we can make. Speed matters because it makes our realtime better, makes our work easier and less stressful, and earns us more money.

It was great to win the speed contest twice (in 2003 and 2011), but its greatest benefits came just because I was practicing for it, especially in those first years of entering, when I was thrilled just to qualify. My everyday writing became cleaner. I could focus on detailed realtime punctuation. I had time to make notes to myself. My work became far more enjoyable. In short, the most important rewards of gaining more speed have been the results that show up every day in my writing. Preparing for the contest, no matter how well or not I did in any year, has been a game-changer for my everyday work!

Alan H. Brock, RDR, CRR, is a freelance reporter from Boston, Mass.



Annemarie Roketenetz is NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications. She is the sta­ff liaison to the Contests Committee. She can be reached at

Read more about the history of the speed and realtime contests, as well as the rules, at This year, the Speed Contest will be held Wednesday, Aug. 3, starting at 9 a.m. CT, and the Realtime Contest will be held Thursday, Aug. 4, starting at 1 p.m. There is an optional practice session held for competitors on Tuesday, Aug. 2, starting at 3 p.m., and the competitors often meet up for a dinner at a local restaurant on Tuesday evening.

People interested in registering for these events should do so early, as spaces are limited. Spectators are permitted for the Speed and Realtime Contests.

Save the date for great NCRA learning opportunities


Photo by: Dafne Cholet

NCRA staff members are planning great ways for members to earn CEUs this year. NCRA members can also earn CEUs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS exams. Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change).

Jan. 31             Cycle extension deadline

March 11-13   CLVS Seminar and CLVS production skills test, Reston, Va.

March 19-20   NCRA Board of Directors Meeting, Reston, Va.

March 20-22   2016 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp, Reston, Va.

April 4-20        RPR, RDR, CRC, and CLVS written knowledge test dates

April 17-19      2016 Firm Owners Executive Conference, San Juan, P.R.

July 9-21          RPR and CLVS written knowledge test dates

Aug. 4-7           2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, Chicago, Ill. (includes the Legal Video Conference, the CRC Workshop, and the National Speed and Realtime Contests)

Sept. 30           Submission deadline for CEUs and PDCs for members with a 9/30/16 cycle ending

Oct. 7-19         RPR, RDR, CRC, and CLVS written knowledge tests

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 14-20), Memorial  Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on NCRA social media as they are available. Watch for more information in the JCR, the JCR Weekly, and on for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

Julianne LaBadia wins speed contest, Douglas Zweizig new realtime champ

Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, from Dover, Del., is the winner of the 2015 Speed Contest, held on July 29 during the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo in New York. LaBadia had an accuracy score of 99.912 percent with only three errors among the three legs. Her testimony transcript had no errors, an accomplishment she shared with second-place winner Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CCP, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Weigl’s overall accuracy was 99.825 percent with a total of six errors. The third place winner was Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR, from Chicago, Ill.

This year’s overall winner for the 2015 Realtime Contest was Douglas Zweizig, RDR, CRR, from Towson, Md. Zweizig had an accuracy of 99.411 percent with 13 errors. Second place went to Deanna Boenau, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, from Sarasota, Fla., with an accuracy of 98.556 percent with 32 errors. Along with second place in speed, Jeffrey Weigl took third in realtime overall, with an accuracy of 97.617 percent and a total of 52 errors. The Realtime Contest was held on July 30.

The Speed Contest consists of three legs: literary at 220 wpm, legal opinion at 230 wpm, and testimony at 280 wpm. Contestants have a total of 90 minutes per leg for transcription. The Realtime Contest consists of two legs: literary at 200 wpm and testimony at 225 wpm. Contestants must turn in an ASCII file immediately following the end of dictation. In both contests, contestants must receive 95 percent accuracy to qualify; accuracy also determines the winners.

See Speed Contest results here.

See Realtime Contest results here.

2015 Speed Contest results

Speed Contest

2015 Speed Contest results


Place Error Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 3 99.912%
2 Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CCP 6 99.825%
3 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 10 99.713%
4 Douglas Zweizig, RDR, CRR 12 99.677%
5 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CCP, CRI 21 99.447%
6 Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR 28 99.224%
7 Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR 34 99.075%
8 Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR 38 98.988%
9 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CCP 39 98.941%
10 Deanna Boenau, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 41 98.934%
11 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 39 98.917%
12 Alan Brock, RDR, CRR 43 98.789%
13 Ronald Cook, RDR, CRR 64 98.313%
14 Tami Frazier, RMR, CRR 74 98.074%
15 Bernice Radavich, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CPE 68 97.993%
16 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 78 97.763%
17 Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CCP, CRI 95 97.383%
18 Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 93 97.367%
19 Michelle Keegan, RMR, CRR 115 96.852%
20 Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 120 96.844%
21 Kimberly Xavier, RMR, CRR, CMRS, CRI 114 96.797%


Place Error Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia 1 99.909%
1 Jeffrey Weigl 1 99.909%
1 Douglas Zweizig 1 99.909%
2 Donna Urlaub 2 99.818%
3 Karen Menck 3 99.727%
3 John Wissenbach 3 99.727%
4 Patricia Nilsen 5 99.545%
4 Karen Tyler 5 99.545%
5 Ronald Cook 6 99.455%
6 Sherry Bryant 7 99.364%
7 Clay Frazier 8 99.273%
8 Deanna Boenau 9 99.182%
8 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 9 99.182%
9 Tami Frazier 15 98.636%
10 Alan Brock 16 98.545%
11 Janice Plomp 18 98.364%
12 Rich Germosen 21 98.091%
13 Lawrence Peacock, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP 27 97.545%
14 Michelle Keegan 28 97.455%
15 Kimberly Xavier 29 97.364%
16 D. Keith Johnson, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 34 96.909%
17 Jeffrey Benz, RMR, CRR 39 96.455%
17 Debbie Dibble 39 96.455%
18 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CCP 42 96.182%
19 Bernice Radavich, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CPE 43 96.091%


Place Error Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia 2 99.826%
2 Patricia Nilsen 4 99.652%
3 Jeffrey Weigl 5 99.565%
4 Deanna Boenau 6 99.478%
4 Douglas Zweizig 6 99.478%
5 Donna Urlaub 7 99.391%
6 Clay Frazier 11 99.043%
7 Sherry Bryant 12 98.957%
8 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 14 98.783%
9 Alan Brock 16 98.609%
9 Karen Tyler 16 98.609%
10 Bernice Radavich 21 98.174%
11 Tami Frazier 22 98.087%
12 Ronald Cook 24 97.913%
13 John Wissenbach 26 97.739%
14 Debbie Dibble 32 97.217%
15 Michelle Keegan 44 96.174%
16 Janice Plomp 46 96.000%
17 Rich Germosen 47 95.913%
18 Myrina Kleinschmidt, RMR, CRR 52 95.478%
19 Karyn Menck 54 95.304%
19 Kathryn Thomas 54 95.304%
20 Amie First, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CPE 58 95.000%
20 Kimberly Xavier 58 95.000%


Place Error Percentage
1 Julianne LaBadia 0 100%
1 Jeffrey Weigl 0 100%
2 Donna Urlaub 1 99.929%
3 Bernice Radavich 4 99.714%
4 Douglas Zweizig 5 99.643%
5 Clay Frazier 9 99.357%
6 Rich Germosen 10 99.286%
6 John Wissenbach 10 99.286%
7 Alan Brock 11 99.214%
8 Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CCP, CRI 12 99.143%
9 Karen Tyler 13 99.071%
10 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 16 98.857%
11 Sherry Bryant 19 98.643%
12 Debbie Dibble 22 98.429%
13 Deanna Boenau 26 98.143%
14 Kimberly Xavier 27 98.071%
15 Janice Plomp 31 97.786%
16 Ronald Cook 34 97.571%
17 Tami Frazier 35 97.500%
18 Michelle Keegan 43 96.929%
19 D. Keith Johnson 53 96.214%
20 Joyce Casey, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 60 95.714%
21 Karyn Menck 63 95.500%
22 Maureen McCarthy, RMR, CRR 64 95.429%

Jo Ann Bryce wins Speed and Realtime contests

In a first for NCRA contests, Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, of Castro Valley, Calif.,  won the Realtime Contests five times. She also won the Speed Contest with a total of seven errors and two perfect papers in the Literary and Q&A legs. Bryce was not the only person to turn in a perfect paper in the Literary leg of the Speed Contest: Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, of Los Altos, Calif., and Dana Hayden, RMR, CRR, of Huntsville, Ark., also turned in perfect papers.

Bryce’s percentage score for the Speed Contest was 99.797 percent. Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR, of Chicago, Ill., earned an overall second place win for the Speed Contest with 18 errors at 99.504 percent. Hayden’s perfect Literary paper gave her the advantage of a third place finish with 18 errors total for a 99.494 percent score.

Bryce’s writing form was only topped by her performance in the Realtime Contest, where she won the contest with a mere five errors and an overall score of 99.756 percent. Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, of Sarasota, Fla., with 13 errors and a 99.394 percent score, took second place. Hayden, with 14 errors and 99.328 percent, took third in the Realtime Contest. While there were no perfect papers, Bryce’s Q&A Realtime paper had only one error.

See speed contest results.

See realtime contest results.


2014 Speed Contest results


Place Total Errors Avg %
1 Jo Ann Bryce, RPR, CRR 7 99.797%
2 Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR 18 99.504%
3 Dana Hayden, RMR, CRR 18 99.494%
4 Karen Tyler, RDR, CRR 24 99.338%
5 John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 27 99.277%
6 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CCP 26 99.271%
7 James Pence, RMR, CRR 31 99.175%
8 Rita Gee, RMR, CRR 30 99.139%
9 Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR 36 99.017%
10 Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 37 98.990%
11 Deanna Boenau, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 37 98.987%
12 Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CCP, CRI 61 98.400%
13 Ronald Cook, RDR, CRR 69 98.172%
14 Tami Frazier, RMR, CRR 69 98.130%
15 Amanda LeGore, RDR, CRR 75 98.037%
16 Diane Sonntag, RDR, CRR, CCP, CPE 75 97.962%
17 Amanda Maze, RMR, CRR, CCP 85 97.823%
18 Rich Germosen, RMR, CRR 84 97.714%
19 Douglas Zweizig, RDR, CRR 90 97.710%
20 Laura Axelsen, RMR 119 96.747%



Place Literary Errors Percentage
1 Laura Brewer 0 100.000%
1 Jo Ann Bryce 0 100.000%
1 Dana Hayden 0 100.000%
2 Deanna Boenau 2 99.818%
2 Amanda Maze 2 99.818%
2 Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP 2 99.818%
2 Janice Plomp 2 99.818%
2 John Wissenbach 2 99.818%
2 Douglas Zweizig 2 99.818%
3 Ronald Cook 3 99.727%
3 James Pence 3 99.727%
4 Donna Urlaub 4 99.636%
5 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 5 99.545%
5 Amanda LeGore 5 99.545%
6 Karen Tyler 6 99.455%
7 Diane Sonntag 7 99.364%
8 Clay Frazier 9 99.182%
8 Rita Gee 9 99.182%
8 Rich Germosen 9 99.182%
9 Linda Burke, RMR, CRR, CCP 13 98.818%
9 Francina Davis, RMR, CRR 13 98.818%
10 Kathryn Thomas, RDR, CRR, CCP 14 98.727%
11 Tami Frazier 15 98.636%
12 Patrick Mahon, RMR, CRR 16 98.545%
13 Karen Peckham, RMR, CRR 17 98.455%
14 Candice Andino, RMR 18 98.364%
14 Bernice Radavich, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CPE 18 98.364%
15 Laura Axelsen 20 98.182%
15 Michelle Keegan, RMR, CRR 20 98.182%
16 G. A. Sonntag, RDR, CRR 21 98.091%
17 Maureen McCarthy, RMR, CRR 24 97.818%
18 William Zaremba, RMR, CRR 27 97.545%
19 Deanna Dean, RDR, CRR 49 95.545%
20 Maellen Pittman, RDR, CLVS 49 95.545%



Place Errors Percentage
1 Jo Ann Bryce 7 99.391%
2 Donna Urlaub 8 99.304%
3 Karen Tyler 10 99.130%
4 Clay Frazier 13 98.870%
4 James Pence 13 98.870%
4 John Wissenbach 13 98.870%
5 Dana Hayden 15 98.696%
5 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 15 98.696%
6 Rita Gee 17 98.522%
7 Deanna Boenau 23 98.000%
8 Laura Brewer 25 97.826%
8 Tami Frazier 25 97.826%
9 Janice Plomp 26 97.739%
9 Douglas Zweizig 26 97.739%
10 Amanda Maze 27 97.652%
11 Amanda LeGore 28 97.565%
12 Ronald Cook 32 97.217%
13 Diane Sonntag 40 96.522%
14 Rich Germosen 44 96.174%
15 Laura Axelsen 56 95.130%


Q&A Results:

Place Error Percentage
1 Jo Ann Bryce 0 100.000%
2 Dana Hayden 3 99.786%
3 Rita Gee 4 99.714%
3 Bernice Radavich 4 99.714%
4 Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag 6 99.571%
5 Donna Urlaub 6 99.571%
6 Karen Tyler 8 99.429%
7 Deanna Boenau 12 99.143%
7 Laura Brewer 12 99.143%
7 John Wissenbach 12 99.143%
8 Clay Frazier 14 99.000%
9 James Pence 15 98.929%
10 G. A. Sonntag 17 98.786%
11 Diane Sonntag 28 98.000%
12 Tami Frazier 29 97.929%
13 Rich Germosen 31 97.786%
14 Janice Plomp 33 97.643%
15 Ronald Cook 34 97.571%
16 Maureen McCarthy 41 97.071%
17 Amanda LeGore 42 97.000%
17 Kathryn Thomas 42 97.000%
18 Laura Axelsen 43 96.929%
19 Michelle Keegan 45 96.786%
20 Karyn Menck 51 96.357%
21 Amanda Maze 56 96.000%
22 Karen Peckham 58 95.857%
23 Douglas Zweizig 62 95.571%
24 Francina Davis 70 95.000%


Speed contest notes: 280 wpm testimony

The following is the text of the testimony portion of the NCRA Speed Contest held in Nashville, Tenn.

Q. Good afternoon, sir. Would you please state your name for the record.

A. My name is Kevin Sullivan.

Q. What is your profession, sir?

A. I am a firefighter.

Q. Are you also certified as an EMT?

A. Yes, I’m certified.

Q. How long have you been working as a firefighter and EMT?

A. It’s been approximately 10 years.

Q. For whom are you now working?

A. For County Services.

Q. Have you always worked for / the County?

A. Yes, I have, since graduating college.

Q. What fields of study did you take in college?

A. I studied to be a firefighter.

Q. Do you have a degree in that field?

A. Yes, I do, a bachelor’s degree.

Q. Have you had any further training since leaving college?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. Can you describe that training?

A. There have been various courses in firefighting and related subjects.

Q. Did you have to complete a / certain course of training to be licensed as an EMT?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. How long was that course and who provided it?

A. The course was six months long, and it was provided by the university.

Q. How many hours of study was that certification?

A. Ten hours per week for six months.

Q. Did you receive a certificate of completion?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you receive that?

A. It was in 200/3.

Q. Was that your first year as a firefighter, sir?

A. Yes, it was.

Q. As a firefighter and EMT, are your primary duties responding to emergency calls?

A. That is always our main job, yes.

Q. About how many emergency calls do you respond to in an average week?

A. About 10 or 12 calls.

Q. Now, do most of these calls involve fires or medical aid?

A. Most of them involve medical aid. //

Q. What percentage would you say?

A. I would estimate some 60 to 75 percent.

Q. So, if I heard you correctly, you respond to about 500 to 600 calls per year; right?

A. Yes, ma’am.

Q. And about 300 to 450 of those require you to provide medical services; is that correct?

A. Yes, I think that’s about right.

Q. Now, did you respond to an emergency call on the / evening of March 27, 2012?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Do you remember the time you received the call?

A. It was 7:12 in the evening.

Q. Was that your regular shift?

A. No.

Q. Were you filling the position of another firefighter who was ill?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Had you worked a double shift that day?

A. No, I had not.

Q. So were you scheduled to work the following shift as well?

A. No. / I would have gone home upon completion of the shift and returned the following morning.

Q. Okay. Now, what was your understanding of the emergency you were responding to at 7:12 on that evening?

A. There had been shots fired and a man lying on the sidewalk.

Q. How long after you received the dispatch was it before you arrived upon the scene?

A. It was six minutes.

Q. Were you advised who made / the emergency call?

A. It was my understanding it was a neighbor.

Q. Upon your arrival at the scene, what happened next?

A. We found one man lying on the sidewalk and another a few feet away.

Q. Which of these individuals had gunshot wounds?

A. They had both been shot.

Q. Did you treat both of these individuals?

A. No. I concentrated on the person with the most serious wounds.

Q. You are referring to William Jefferson; // (1) is that correct?

A. Yes, that’s correct.

Q. How many times had Mr. Jefferson been shot?

A. Twice in the chest and once in the abdomen.

Q. Was he responsive when you began to work on him?

A. Yes, he was, ma’am.

Q. According to your EMT report, his pulse was light and irregular; is that correct?

A. Yes, it was.

Q. Did you make any attempt to stabilize him?

A. Yes.

Q. Again according to the record, / that was when you started a saline drip and applied pressure to stop further blood loss; is that correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Was Mr. Jefferson conscious at that time?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. Did he attempt any communication with you?

A. Yes.

Q. What, if anything, was he able to communicate?

A. He stated that he had been shot by a man who attacked him.

Q. Did he tell you anything else?

A. No, ma’am.

Q. Did you / ask him any other questions?

A. We asked him his age.

Q. What was his response?

A. He said he was 27 years old.

Q. Did you ask about his general health?

A. Yes.

Q. Was he able to give you any other information?

A. He didn’t seem to understand the question.

Q. Did he respond in some way?

A. I recall he only shook his head.

Q. Did you ask him any other questions?

A. No.

Q. How long was / it before you were able to stabilize Mr. Jefferson and begin transport?

A. It was about 10 minutes.

Q. Did you believe his condition to be stable at the time you put him in the ambulance?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Upon what basis did you make that decision?

A. His blood pressure was stable at 90 over 60 and he was breathing normally.

Q. Was his heart rate still irregular at that time?

A. It was // (2) somewhat, yes.

Q. Did you try to stabilize his heart rate?

A. No, we did not.

Q. Why not?

A. He was conscious and responding to fluids.

Q. So, if I understand correctly, when he was placed in the van for transport, you judged his condition to be stable; is that correct?

A. I thought it had stabilized and he was responding.

Q. After you placed him in the van, did his condition change?

A. Not substantially during / the time it took to transport him to the hospital.

Q. That was County North Hospital; is that right?

A. Yes, ma’am.

Q. How long did the trip take?

A. Around seven minutes.

Q. When you got to County North Hospital; did you speak to anyone?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the names of the doctors or other staff members you spoke with?

A. At the time, I wasn’t given their names, but I obtained them later / for my report.

Q. Do you remember speaking to a Dr. Maxwell?

A. Yes. He was the ER physician on call.

Q. Do you remember how you described your patient’s status to this doctor?

A. I gave his vitals and said that he had sustained multiple gunshots to the chest and abdomen.

Q. Did the doctor ask you if the patient was stable?

A. I don’t recall him asking that question, no.

Q. Were you in / contact with anyone from County North Hospital during the time the patient was being transported?

A. Yes, we were.

Q. Do you know who you were in contact with?

A. That information is not always provided.

Q. Is that a yes or no answer?

A. It’s a no.

Q. Were you instructed by the person you were in contact with to give any drugs to Mr. Jefferson while he was in transport?

A. We were instructed to // (3) start him on dopamine.

Q. What is that for?

A. To raise blood pressure and heart rate.

Q. So would it be correct to say that the hospital wanted those drugs administered to help stabilize him further?

A. I am not a doctor, so I cannot answer that question.

Q. But you believed the patient’s condition was stable when you made the decision to transport him; is that right?

A. It was as stable as we / could reasonably expect on the scene, yes.

Q. Did you in fact give dopamine to Mr. Jefferson during transport?

A. Yes, we did.

Q. What effect, if any, did it have on his status?

A. There was no apparent effect for the length of time we had him in the ambulance.

Q. Was that an indication of a downturn in his status?

A. No.

Q. On what basis do you make that statement?

A. It usually takes longer // (4)  than a few minutes to see a response.

Q. About how long after you began transport did you start the drug the hospital instructed you to give him?

A. It was about three minutes after we left the scene for the hospital.

Q. So you were able to check his status for about four minutes after you began the drug; right?

A. Yes.

Q. So, to review, during that time you saw no real change / to your patient’s vital signs or status; right?

A. Right.

Q. On arrival at the hospital, did you report all the treatment you provided to Dr. Maxwell when you turned the patient over to him?

A. As far as I can remember, we did.

Q. Did Dr. Maxwell ask you any questions about your patient’s condition or the treatment you provided?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your response?

A. We gave him his age, height, and weight. // (5)

Notes for the contestants who placed first, second, and third are available in pdf format.



High school realtime writer competes against traditional keyboarding students

Who doesn’t love a good race? Remember your childhood, when you heard those exhilarating words, “On your mark. Get set. Go!”? You could almost feel the blood rushing from your head into your legs as you took off at what seemed like lightning speed without even a glance back. Those were the days!

Jessica Kuhlmann, a high school court reporting student, relived those feelings when she recently raced and won against traditional keyboarding students in a realtime writing contest. Wait a minute – did you just say a “high school court reporting student”? Where do they offer a court reporting program to high school students?

Kuhlmann is a senior in the Broadcast Captioning and Court Reporting major at South Technical High School in St. Louis County, Mo. This program offers the only high school curriculum of its kind in the United States and has been in place since 2004.

The program was conceived and initiated by Judy Larson, an NCRA certified reporting instructor and former winner of NCRA’s CASE Award of Excellence. Larson was the tech prep coordinator at St. Louis Community College when she came up with the concept of developing a high school court reporting program in the St. Louis area. Since then, many students have enrolled at the secondary level, and many have articulated their credits to the court reporting major at STLCC.

Kuhlmann and her classmates began the program their junior year when they learned machine writing theory and the basics of CAT software. They were also introduced to medical, legal, and technical terminology during their first year in the program. During their senior year, they are using what they’ve already learned to prepare for their state’s Certified Court Reporter exam. Each week, they learn the meanings of more complex medical and legal terms using the Missouri Court Reporters’ CCR study guide.

I asked Kuhlmann, “What do you like best about being a high school court reporting major?”

“Initially, I loved the fact that I could get a head start with my career and being able to, if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, without spending thousands of dollars in college trying to figure it out,” she said. Now that she is in her second year, she says, “I basically love everything about the class, but my favorite part is writing on the machine in realtime. Realtime writing becomes addicting. I also like writing my favorite movies, TV shows, and music.”

The recent speedwriting contests in which Jessica competed and won against traditional keyboarding students show that her practice is paying off. Students competed during middle and high school assemblies using the hit song from the recently released movie, The Great Gatsby. Their realtime writing of “Young and Beautiful” performed by Lana Del Rey was projected on side-by-side screens. Audience members could compare their speed and accuracy as they wrote while the song played. Of course, traditional keyboarding students could not come close to Jessica’s realtime output.

I asked Jessica if she aspires to be an NCRA speedwriting competitor after she graduates from St. Louis Community College. She replied, “I don’t know. That sounds like a lot of pressure, but I think it would be fun to try!”

I can just envision it now: On your mark. Get set. Go! Mark Kislingbury, you’d better stay sharp! The next generation is racing your way!

Kathleen M. Saunders, CRI, M.Ed., is an associate instructor at St. Louis Community College. She can be reached at . Contact Dr. Patti Ziegler at  for information about the court reporting program.