Speech sends three to state

Tiffany Kajiwara, Online Editor

Speech team came out successful after their conference meet, and their preparation for regionals, sectionals, and state has proved fruitful.

Harper College hosted their annual Mid-Suburban League conference on Saturday, January 29. Finishing in third place, Elk Grove had seventeen student competitors place within the top six of their respective categories, proceeding to participate in finals.

Students found it quite encouraging to have done so well this past season. Freshman participant Eden Gorevoy said, “If our performance at MSL is an indication of anything, we’re prepared to go hard at state.”

There was a nervous yet excited tension in the air while preparing for the next competitions which hold greater amounts of pressure. Chuck Cavazos, speech coach, compared it to “the opening night of a show.”

Considering speech is a more individualized activity, state competitions work differently than other extracurriculars such as baseball or basketball. The entire team does not compete; instead, the coaches select one outstanding student to participate in each of the 14 different categories.

In addition to the 14 selected candidates, additional students participate in PIR, Performance in the Round. They performed a skit in front of an audience sitting in a circle around them.

“My goal is that we have as many people that are on the team that we can find a spot for them,” Cavazos said. “Unfortunately, not everyone gets to compete.”

Regionals, the first step towards sectionals and state, took place on Saturday, February 6. Elk Grove as a whole placed in first out of the thirteen schools participating.

The regional champions included Emily Franke in Prose Reading, Ed Vere in Poetry, and Kathryn Riopel in Special Occasion Speaking. Junior Megan Manoj finished first in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Oratorical Declamation.

Many of the schools in the regional sector are consistent state qualifiers, providing tough competition towards the beginning of the process.

Fourteen students, along with the PIR group, continued at sectionals on February 13. Franke and Riopel won their respective events to advance to state in Peoria on February 19 and 20, along with Manoj, who took second in Oratorical Declamation.

The speech participants continue to work hard and prepare for the challenges in the near future.