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Speech team shines at national tourny

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By Felicia Gray

Last weekend, five high school speech students represented LaRue County at the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) speech tournament in Chicago.

Students who competed were: Brian Anderson and Joey Gearon in Extemporaneous Speaking (Extemp.), Elijah Thomas and Curtis Milby in Duo Interpretation, and Steven George in Congressional debate.

Katy Cecil, high school English teacher and Head Speech Coach for LaRue County schools said they were pretty confident before leaving for the tournament.

“They have distinguished themselves all year at the national level, they are ranked nationally… You never know, speech is a very subjective activity, but they have pretty consistently outperformed their competitors all year long,” said Cecil.

The tournament went well, with most of the students advancing to the next level.

Anderson advanced to the octo-finals, which according to Cecil, means he was in the top 48 in the nation. He finished 27th overall and was only three spots out of advancing to the quarterfinals.

Anderson said he will “take something from this experience and learn for the next tournament.”

Milby and Thomas advanced to the quarterfinals of duo, and just missed making semifinals. They were ranked 13th in the nation overall.

Joey Gearon placed 49th overall in the category of Extemp.

“Extemp was the biggest event at the tournament with 246 competitors from all across the nation, so Gearon and Anderson definitely did very well to represent our county in such an exemplary fashion. And for Thomas and Milby to place 13th overall out of over 230 duos nationwide is pretty impressive as well,” said Cecil.

Each year, the national NCFL tournament is held in one of the nation’s large cities, and Cecil hoped to bring it to Kentucky in 2017. In order to do so, she had to give a presentation on why it should be brought to the Louisville area.

Cecil won the bid with the entire league of directors unanimously voting for Louisville to host the tournament in 2017.

“I am excited, of course, but a little daunted by the work that is ahead of me, but I am thrilled to get a chance to show off what our state has to offer. In May of 2017 6000 students and adults from all over the country will visit Kentucky and see what true southern hospitality is all about, and I am humbled and honored to be the one who has made that possible” she said.

The next speech tournament will be the National Speech Debate Association’s tournament June 15-20 in Overland Park, Kansas.

Anderson will again compete in Extemp and Impromptu Speaking; Milby and Thomas again in Duo Interpretation as well as Prose, and Poetry; and Gearon in Congressional Debate and Impromptu.

Gearon, George, Milby, and Thomas, will all be graduating this year.

Milby, Thomas, and Dalton Puckett will be going to WKU, which, according to Cecil, is: “Pretty phenomenal, and not common for them to take so many from one graduating class from one school, so it’s a pretty big deal. Two of them are scholarship recipients… they were recruited quite heavily to come there.”

“I think that they’ll have pretty impressive college careers too,” she added. “I definitely don’t think the town has heard the last from any of them.