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Three members of the LaRue County High School Speech team traveled to Chicago this past weekend to compete in the prestigious Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by several area high schools in North Chicago.
Seniors Elijah Thomas and Curtis Milby and junior Brian Anderson entered a combined total of five events, advancing three of them to finals and earning LCHS a 4th place overall ranking out of 181 schools from 33 states.
“I can’t tell you how impressive this is,” said head coach Katy Cecil. “To take such a small, but truly impactful, entry to a tournament of this size and caliber, and have those students advance three out of five entries to finals and then place that highly overall. Well, I am still in shock.
Cecil did not attend the tournament, but got constant updates from assistant coaches Bill Thompson and Darrell Stillwell as the students progressed through the elimination rounds.
“I was texting her all the time, and when the postings for finals came back, I just sent her the message – ‘This is what joy feels like,’ and she knew exactly what I meant,” said Thompson.
Thomas took second in prose/poetry, with Milby taking fourth in the same event. Milby and Thomas also took fourth in duo interp.
Anderson advanced to the semi-finals in extemp.
The tournament is one of four or five national level tournaments held throughout the year at which students from around the country compete. According to Cecil, “these particular tournaments are designed to expose students to national level competition, to compete against students from other states, in order to prepare for the national tournaments held in May and June of each year.”
As the students continue to outperform other nationally ranked competitors, they are earning bids to be invited to other nationally prestigious venues, they are being looked at by recruiters, and they are gaining invaluable experience and contacts on the national level that will help them in future competitions.
Thompson went on to reiterate just how impressive this performance is, “Most of the top schools in the nation compete at this tournament. Our students were up against the same kids that were in national final rounds last year and will be again this year, and our students held their own. They have worked so hard, and the best part of coaching is getting to witness those moments when their hard work really pays off.”
The team’s next national level outing will be to George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in December.