Over the past two weekends the LaRue County High School Speech team has enjoyed success both nationally and in the state.
Several varsity speech students traveled to Atlanta, Ga. Jan. 29-31 to compete in the 2011 Barkley Forum at Emory University.
On Feb. 5, the team competed in the Kentucky High School Speech League Regional Tournament and brought home the school’s first regional championship in more than 20 years. The team qualified 30 entries to compete at state, which is 12 more than last year and 16 more than the year before. “Certainly this is the strongest overall team that LaRue County has probably ever fielded,” said Head Coach Katy Blair Cecil. “We are strong in several events, including the acting and the speaking categories. I am very excited about this win, and I am looking forward to seeing what this incredible group of students will accomplish at the state tournament as well as at the national level tournaments we have left this season.”
At the Barkley Forum, a by invitation-only tournament, three LCHS students distinguished themselves once again as some of the best in the nation.
“These are names you have seen in the newspaper over and over again over the past two years,” said Cecil, “and they are not done, yet. We still have plenty of opportunities for them to bring national attention to LCHS.”
Ian Mather placed fourth overall in Prose/Poetry at the tournament and also advanced to the quarterfinals in Dramatic Interpretation. Timmy Gibson advanced to the finals of Prose/Poetry along with Mather and placed fifth overall. Jeshua Logsdon advanced to semifinals, and according to Cecil, missed finals by only one point to end up in seventh place.
“We were so disappointed that Jeshua missed it by that small of a margin. It would have been pretty exciting to have three of the six in finals at a huge national tournament be from LaRue County, but all in all, I guess I can’t complain about fourth, fifth and seventh,” Cecil said.
Last weekend, LCHS won their first regional tournament in more than 20 years. Competing against several schools from Hardin, Jefferson, Nelson, Oldham, and other counties, LaRue County brought home six individual regional championships, and two runner-up titles. Regional champions include Logsdon and Angelia Whitlock in Duo Interp; James Reding in Extemp; Maegan Davis in Oratory; Mather in Poetry; Gibson in Prose; and Curtis Milby in Storytelling.
Runners-up include: Andrew Skaggs in Extemp; and Jake Lutze and Josh Jones in Duo Interp.
The team qualified 22 others to compete at the KHSSL State Championships on the campus of Western Kentucky University in March.
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with these results. These students continue to impress and amaze me on a weekly basis,” said Cecil, “My only regret is that I am losing 10 amazing senior competitors this year, but the results of the junior division tournament are encouraging for our future!”
Cecil is referring to the second place win at regionals that the middle school speech team brought home last weekend.
The LaRue County Middle School team, coached by Libby Sears Blair, qualified seven entries to state and also boasts two regional championships and a regional runner-up.
Maddie Lee was the regional champ in Poetry. The team of Caitlin Lewis and Allyson Hutchins won Improv Duo. Breea Kirkpatrick, who travels with LCMS and is coached by Blair, but competes for Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, was the runner-up in Prose.
Cecil looks to these students to continue the winning trend that the high school team started in the past few years.
“I am very excited about what the future holds for LCHS speech,” she said. “We have some amazing freshmen right now, Libby is sending me some incredible kids next year and our little league speech program keeps generating interest and excitement about competitive speech in LaRue County. I think you will be reading more and more about our program and our achievements in the months and years to come.”
The team is hosting its annual “Dinner and a Show” this Thursday, Feb. 10, at LCHS. A $10 donation to the Speech and Drama program will purchase a delicious dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, green beans, roll, and dessert and a chance to see several of these award winning presentations.
Attendees will see the award-winning performances of Mather, Gibson, Logsdon, Whitlock, Kirkpatrick, Lee, Milby, and several others.
“This is a great opportunity to help the team raise much needed funds and see just what everyone in the speech community is talking about,” said Cecil, “We have some of the best kids in the state and nation, some are being sought after by major universities and have been offered some fabulous scholarships, and some are the future of LCHS speech,”