Speech team qualifies six for national tournament

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The LaRue County High School Speech Team competed at the Kentucky Catholic Forensic League National Qualifier Saturday to earn spots on the Kentucky entry to the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament. 


The national tournament will be held on Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia, Pa. LaRue represents six of the 50 entries Kentucky will be taking.

Sophomore Brian Anderson was the champion in extemporaneous speaking for the second year in a row.

Other students who will represent LCHS and Kentucky at the national tournament are Curtis Milby, second in dramatic performance; Elijah Thomas, second in prose/poetry; Amarah Reed, fourth in prose/poetry; Alison Schurfeld, fourth in declamation; Dalton Puckett, fifth in congressional debate; and Zachary Thurman, seventh and alternate in dramatic performance.

At the National Tournament LaRue’s students will compete as a team with other students from all around the state against students from all over the country. 

“We have a solid team,” said head coach Katy Blair Cecil, “and I am extremely proud that 10 percent of the Kentucky team is coming from LCHS.  It just shows how strong our students are.” 

The team also took second overall in sweepstakes points for the third year in a row. Out of 16 schools competing with the best of the best from their teams, this was a major accomplishment. 

“The sweepstakes at this tournament is determined only by how many students you advance to finals, so it really levels the playing field among the teams, regardless of how many entries you bring,” said assistant coach Eric Cecil. “You have to advance kids to finals to even have a shot and LaRue has taken second the last three years, which means we have maintained our power and consistency with this young team.”

According to the team’s other assistant coach Bill Thompson, getting this many to nationals is, “no surprise.” 

“This team is young, but so full of talent,” Thompson said. “Just look at all they have accomplished throughout the year. And the best part is we get to keep all but two of them next year.” 

Reed and Thurman are seniors, and the rest of the entry is rounded out by juniors and sophomores. The entire speech team will travel to UK in two weeks to compete in the Kentucky State Speech Championships.