Gering, Bridgeport excel at Scottsbluff speech meet

January 24, 2019 GMT

SCOTTSBLUFF — Scottsbluff High School hosted a speech invitational at Bluffs Middle School on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Gering High School Barkers finished first in the A/B division.

Students competed in several rounds of competition, vying for a place in the final rounds. The tournament speech categories included: persuasive, serious, entertainment, and oral interpretation of drama, informative, humorous, poetry, and duet, and extemporaneous speaking.

The top seven speakers in each speaking category advanced to the final round.

After the Gering Barkers competed well at their meet on Jan. 12, speech coach Tyler Thompson said the students fine tuned their speeches.

“The main thing that I focus on each week is whether or not we are growing and improving and we are,” he said. “That’s a good sign, particularly as we begin to go to tournaments with more difficult competition in eastern Nebraska.”

Four Gering Barkers claimed individual championships, which improved on the team’s two earned at the Gering speech meet. First place finishers were Adam Flowers in Oral Interpretation of Poetry, Milo Newman in Extemporaneous speaking, Jaela Hardin in Persuasive speaking, and the team of Rachel Rawlings, Mark Karpf, Isaiah Henderson, Kennie McFarland and Quinton Janacek in OID.

“Those students worked especially hard this week and fine tuned their pieces,” said Thompson. “We had several other students post second and third place finishes and they worked incredibly hard, too.”

The Scottsbluff speech team also had a strong day of competition Saturday.

Talia Wagner finished second in Oral Interpretation of Serious Prose. Ty Corr and Jatin Cranmore placed first in Duet Acting.

“In addition to a strong number of returning letter winners, we are excited to have a lot of new students stepping up,” said Amy Pinney, Scottsbluff speech coach.

Other students who made the finals and finished in the top seven in oral interpretation of poetry: Emma Fogle of Gering and Billy Mosher of Scottsbluff; duet acting: Emily William and Jasmine Lopez of Scottsbluff; informative speaking: Halle Shaddick of Scottsbluff and Anna Ossian of Gering; extemporaneous speaking: Deshon Hernandez and Jaela Hardin of Gering, and Gavin Howell of Scottsbluff; persuasive speaking: Emme Parker, Adam Flowers, and Salma Silva, of Gering; humorous: Kennie McFarland and Cole Bevins of Gering; entertainment: Lydia Connot of Gering; OID: Tori Mannel, Olivia Longmore, Cole Bevins, McKenna Hackett, and Adam Flowers of Gering.

High schools that participated in the meet included: Scottsbluff, Gering, Bridgeport, Mitchell, Chadron, Hemingford, Kimball, Alliance, Gordon-Rushville, and Banner County.

Bridgeport High School was the Class C/D champions at the meet.

Cassidy Coalson was the champion in entertainment and finished third in poetry. Olivia Freeze took fourth in poetry. Jenna Eichthaler took second in entertainment. Tiana Rice and Jacie Lussetto finished in the top seven in extemporaneous. In OID, Lucas Smith, Zeth Patterson, Trevor Krason, Alex Barnette and Tiana Rice finished sixth.

“I was very pleased and surprised because we had so many kids out with influenza,” said Claudia Loomis, Bridgeport speech coach. “We didn’t practice as much as I would’ve liked going into a meet, so I was surprised how well we did. They are a great group of kids.”

The Gering and Scottsbluff speech teams are preparing for several competitions in the coming weeks. On Friday, they compete in the Millard West Winter Wonderland tournament in Omaha and then head to Lincoln Northeast for the Space Race meet on Saturday in Lincoln.

Thompson said if students perform well enough to make finals at both meets, they will speak seven times this weekend.

“That’s a ton of speaking and that’s only in one event,” he said. “Many of our students are entered in two or three speaking events. So, they’ll be pretty pooped by the end of the tournament swing.”

At the Lincoln meet, students will compete against over 100 contestants as the field is narrowed to the top 35 to 50 contestants for finals. Aside from speaking, schools will compete in the Arbitrary Coloring Contest. Teams will receive a giant coloring page at registration and will have until finals are announced to complete their design. The top three sheets will be announced during the award ceremony.